Carl the Critic: Reviews "Cowboys and Aliens" [Caution: Contains Plot Spoilers]
"Cowboys & Aliens" Poster
Cowboys and Aliens
First let me just say that long ago, I reviewed a movie called "Paul" and I made a big mistake that was kindly pointed out by one of my fellow readers:
"It's 'Cowboys AND Allens' not 'Cowboys Vs Allens' dumasss!"
Of course me being the bigger man I did what any decent person would do and flagged the comment as spam. But in all seriousness the title of the movie is "Cowboys and Aliens" not "Cowboys Vs. Allens". Sorry if that offends anyone else but now let's proceed.
Expectations/Experience: Another week, and another alien movie in theaters. And like "Super 8" this one is produced by Steven Spielberg. But this is an alien movie with a difference because it is also a western. The western genre is becoming more and more like the whore of the genres because it is the only one that has been combined into every genre known to man (except for pure fantasy of course, but what would that be like? All I can think of is if you take the characters from "Lord of the Rings" and change the setting to the wild west, gave Sauron an evil handle bar mustache, and made Gollum a crazy prospector.)
When I saw the trailer for "Cowboys & Aliens", I thought that this was going to be terrible, not because it is a mix between the two genres western and science fiction, but because of the title. To me a title like "Cowboys and Aliens" just doesn't really sound like a film that wants to be taken seriously. But after doing my research I discovered that this is indeed based on a comic book series by the same name. Since then I had become more and more fascinated with the story and began to wonder if the film will be good.
Story: Daniel Craig plays a stranger who wakes up with a bad case of plot convenient amnesia and a fashionable bracelet on his wrists. He has no idea who he is, and unfortunately for him, no one in town of Absolution, Arizona is willing to help him because he is a stranger and therefore must be a bad person. Not only that, but he closely resembles an outlaw, Jake Lonergan, who is wanted for "arson, assault, mayhem, and hijacking", all things that suck to be accused of when you can't remember who you are. And then gigantic spaceships come and start attacking the Absolution. It's up to our hero, the local cowboy Woodrow Dolarhyde, a woman named Alice, an Indian servant named Nat Colorado, a nerdy doctor named Doc who is a bit of a wimp, a preacher named Meacham (who is my favorite character), a young boy named Emmett Taggart who is the sheriff's grandson, and a dog to save the town using his bracelet, and gun slingin' skills.
Critique: First of all, let me begin by saying that this is a film that is very character based. The selling point of the film is that every character is very likable, and you can really relate to them. The film does a great job establishing relationships between characters before the aliens kidnap loved ones.
The acting is overall very good, especially from Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Abigail Spencer, Clancy Brown, and Noah Ringer (who was in that one movie you might have heard about called "The Last Airbender"). The music works very well with the film's progression, the special effects were quite good, and the cinematography was down right amazing.
There are a few problems I can point out such as the fact that some scenes were very slow moving, some of the dialogue was campy a few times, and the major twists at the end were not really that amazing (in fact I still have questions). There was one scene I can think of I didn't like in particular, where Harrison Ford and Noah Ringer are talking, and Noah is concerned about his Grandfather who was kidnapped by the aliens. Harrison Ford then tells him a story about how he killed a man for the first time by slitting his throat. I guess he was telling him to don't worry be happy, but forgive me if I felt that that story was a little to harsh to tell a kid who has no Mom, or Dad, and whose Grandfather might be in the stomach of some over weight alien.
If you can over look some of the minor issues I said in my critique, then I highly recommend "Cowboys and Aliens". It is a good movie, full of heart, and great characters.
Overall: Taking all factors into account I gave "Cowboys and Aliens" a 8.9 out of 10.
Spoilers: If you don't want to see the movie because you feel that it is going to be too stupid or you don't like either genre of western or science fiction here are some spoilers:
- People who die: Meacham (The Preacher), Alice (she actually dies twice in the movie), Nat Colorado (The Indian Servant), and the Dog
- Major twist:
Alice is an alien who is seeking revenge of the evil aliens that are attacking the people on earth. She tells everyone that the reason why the aliens have come to earth is because they want (and let's be reasonable about this) gold. Why do they want gold? Because it looks pretty (actually this is not explained well in the film).
- Every one is saved and all the aliens die, and Daniel Craig (who really is Jake Lonergan, a bandit who left his gang of criminals to marry a prostitute) rides off into the sunset.