Anyone remember Battle: Los Angeles? If you do, can you remember how awful that movie was?! I can. And I also remember that I was much more interested in seeing "Cowboys and Aliens."
From Director John Favreau(Iron Man, Swingers, Elf) comes this highly entertaining nostalgic genre mash-up of Western and Science Fiction.
In 1873 Arizona, a loner named Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) awakens with no memory of his past and a mysterious shackle around his wrist. He enters the town of Absolution where he learns that he is a notorious criminal wanted by many people, including Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison_Ford), who rules the town with an iron fist. Absolution soon faces an even greater threat when alien spaceships attack the town. While his shackle holds the key to defeating the aliens, Lonergan must ally with Dolarhyde and other former enemies to make a stand against them.
If I was to ever choose my favorite genre, it would be sci-fi; that being said, I wish there could be more Westerns. It has been said to be a dead genre, but I would like to think that the genre itself is having a comeback.
I realize how ridiculous the title of the film is. I mean really? "Cowboys & Aliens?" Wouldn't it have been more appealing to call the film "Cowboys Vs. Aliens?" I would think Hollywood would decide on that title, but then I realized that this film is actually based on the Graphic Novel "Cowboys & Aliens" by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. So really, there was no hope in changing the name of a Graphic Novel.
I believe this film to have the best ensemble cast of 2011. Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Clancy Brown, Keith Carradine, Adam Beach, Ana De La Reguera, Walton Goggins, David O'Hara, Raoul Trujillo; all give a great performance with characters that give purpose to each character other than letting them stand in front of the screen doing nothing(which is what I feel from Sucker Punch) . I only have to say this, Noah Ringer is a really bad young actor; if you remember him, he is the little bastard that helped ruin the movie The Last Airbender. Ringer is just as bad since he adds no emotion within his character, I think it would have been better if he wasn't in the film. There's a clip below to show you a fraction of the performers doing their best.
When I go out to see a movie like C&A, I am there for the action and the visuals(seriously? What moron goes to see a movie like this for an Oscar caliber story?) Giving the fact that this film depended on the visuals to sustain the part of the Aliens, I had to consider what the Aliens would be like, and how they would react to their surrounding environments. Needless to say, however the geniuses behind ILM decided to come up with the visuals were spot on. Since most people identify Aliens to be somewhat Bug-like, it would have been a fact that they would look disgusting.
Side Note: I must say this, but ever since "Aliens," every space creature must have some sort of extra body part incased within the body itself.
At first, I wasn't too impressed with the design of the Alien space crafts. They looked like crap when I first saw them. But after seeing their full spec's and how they reacted to the environment(I had to give them the same rules as the creatures) I really enjoyed them. Hey at least they don't look like the really awful pizza figured drones from Battle: Los Angeles.
I really liked the music for the film, gave it an authentic feel of an actual western, and helped set in the mood for the film. As for the cinematography, I really think that Matthew Libatique(Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan) set in the mood perfectly for the film. I normally have a rule of thumb for films, an actor does not settle the mood for a movie, the cinematography does.
When a film requires more than 2 writers for a film, that worries me, it might be because either the movie itself is very problematic, or it was just too complex and needed to be toned down. I didn't really feel it with this film, but I did have some issues with the story that could have been fixed, like Ella for example. I wish they could have delved deeper within the mythos of Ella's character instead of just telling us who she really was. I really do understand that this film was not supposed to be serious at all, but at least fix up a lot of the details.
Favreau must have a lot of respect for westerns. He really does his best to try to make this film work. I really enjoyed Iron Man, and even though I was disappointed with the sequel, I was glad to see that this was his comeback from the many issues of Iron Man 2. He really dons the film style of a western for the film, evidence is shown in the opening scene with a very smooth pan shot to close up of Daniel Craig when he wakes up. Trying to mix genres is hard enough when he has two with nothing in common, so give credit to the man for being a great filmmaker who knows what he is doing(which is more than I can say for Zach Snyder).
I really enjoyed this film, very fun, great performances, great nostalgia piece, fun action film, and Olivia Wilde partially naked(which is worth the movie ticket if I may say so myself).
I give it 4/5 Stars.
p.s. Glory be that this film is not in 3D!!!!!!!!!