Sunday, July 31, 2011

Movie Review: Cowboys & Aliens

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When I first saw the trailer for Cowboys & Aliens, I was excited. Combining the old west with science fiction seemed pretty cool. Director Jon Favreau had hit a home run while directing Iron Man. While not getting a home run on this go around he at least gets on base.

Cowboy & Aliens Movie Poster
The movie starts out with some promise. A stranger (Daniel Craig) who is wearing a large metal shackle on his left wrist walks into a classic dry and dusty town. You meet the town preacher (Clancy Brown), bar keep (Sam Rockwell), cattle rancher (Harrison Ford), doe eyed town woman (Olivia Wilde), sheriff (David Caradine) and trouble maker (Paul Dano) which are all essential elements to your standard western. Shortly thereafter they are staring at lights in the sky and all heck breaks loose. Things blow up, people are killed and some are taken away. The townsfolk set off to try to rescue their loved ones.

This is where the story gets a bit contrived. It takes place in 1873 in the south west. For these people to see flying machines and electric lights and people being swept up into the sky, they really didn't freak out all that much. When they see the aliens, they pretty much seem cool, calm and collected. They did refer to them as demons which would make sense, but it didn't have the shock factor to the locals that you think would happen. Cliches and formulaic events continue leading up to the big climatic battle that takes on cowboys, aliens and indians as the players.

During the 118 minute running time there were moments of "Wow" and moments of "That's cool" for the most part of the movie. It's those moments of "Huh?' that held the movie to a base hit. Cowboys & Aliens was rated PG-13 for intense sequences of western and sci-fi action and violence, some partial nudity and a brief crude reference.

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