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"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cowboys and Aliens Review

Wow, it's been awhile since this film came out. Cowboys and Aliens is rather unique film. Rather than have the usual alien invaders come to New York or Los Angeles, they come to the Wild West. That's right cowboy, you'll be seeing guys on horses with guns and Indians with spears against these invaders. This type of concept is risky, apparently too risky, since it didn't do too hot at the box office. I think a problem keeping people from watching it was the title. Early last year I was having a conversation with some people about upcoming films. I brought up this film, and the response was "That film looks cheesy. What kind of a title is Cowboys and Aliens?" So some people thought this was going to be like a SyFy original movie. It's sad, cause the film delivers some good stuff. It's by no means a great film, but a good watch.

The film begins with a man waking up in Arizona. He has no clue how he got there, who he is, or this strange metal band on his wrist. When some men on horses come in attempting to rob him, he beats all of them and steals one of their horses. He rides into town, which soon becomes a victim of alien assault....

You know me, I love alien invasion films, so I was here for the creatures. What surprised me, however, was that the film was better BEFORE the aliens came along. The first twenty minutes was very intriguing. Here we have a guy who we know nothing about, and neither does he. What we do learn is that he's one guy you do not want to mess with. The alien attack on the town was very good, must have been crazy in the IMAX. After that is when the film starts to falter. Now, it's still solid, but lost the intriguing aspect. It became more of the usual alien invasion, just with cowboys and Indians. What does make the film enjoyable throughout is the lead character.

Daniel Craig as Jake Lonergan was some great casting. He brings, what I call, the definition of 'cool.' By far the most enjoyable aspect of the film. (And this is coming from someone who ALWAYS prefers the creatures over the human characters.) Harrison Ford has a pretty solid role as a colonel. It was cool to see the two together, I'd like to them together in more films. Surprisingly, Olivia Wilde (who I thought would do an awful job in this film) was pretty good with her role as Ella Swenson. Granted, she could have done better in some scenes, but she was okay. The concept of her plot twist was unexpected and good, but should have been fleshed out more. The other characters are alright, some good, some alright. The preacher being the best of the side characters. Now, for the aliens.

The aliens in this film had a pretty cool design. The CGI was fantastic. The aliens themselves could have used a bit more depth. They're here for gold, but that's only touched upon once in the film, that part needed to be fleshed out. Also, more actual character would have been nice. It's there, one of my favorite scenes was when an alien (Speaking of which, why weren't they given a title? Come on.) captured the main character then grabbed a weapon that Jake used to injure it way earlier in a flashback. I like how it wanted to get revenge. Besides that, they don't show much depth. The scenes with them attacking the cowboys and Indians were great, some intense stuff there. Soundtrack wise, some good tunes that fit the atmosphere. Could have better, but not a bad soundtrack. The Alien ships were pretty cool, and I really liked the scene where an alien slapped aside Ella.

Overall, Cowboys and Aliens was a fun film. A bit disappointing however, the first twenty minutes was very intriguing and a great start, but the film becomes slightly generic as it goes on. After the initial attack, the second act becomes a bit boring. It picks up and becomes and entertaining ride, but nothing more. Daniel Craig does a  superb job and the aliens were cool. Some call it a 'popcorn film' and that's true, but it's much better than all three Transformers films combined. It meshed the concepts of western and science fiction well.


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