Cowboys & Aliens

A visually realistic, traditional Western with a twist, this movie is a serious integration of alien abduction sci-fi film with the classic Old West.  It’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) meets True Grit (2010) but it’s so much more. The story is a unique concept based on a comic book that has people from a small gold mining town being abducted by aliens and then going out on a rescue mission to save them from the 'demons'. On their side they have a posse that includes an abductee who has recently escaped without any memory of it, a brave ex-Civil War colonel, a kid and his dog, Apache indians, a group of outlaws and a woman with a secret.

The critics were not kind to this film but after the hype died down I finally went to see it in an almost empty theatre and was pleasantly surprised to find that it didn’t suck. Half way or more through the film I thought, this is actually a damn good story and a well done film.  I was impressed by the gripping storyline, the characters were realistic and well played by an excellent cast, the aliens and alien ships are very realistically rendered into the action and there are plenty of surprises. 

Both Westerns and Sci-fi films are what Hollywood does well and here they have nicely blended the two using Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones) and Daniel Craig (James Bond) as the two main characters in a large ensemble cast of lesser known but excellent talent including the wonderful Sam Rockwell, recently from Moon (2009) and Conviction (2010), who provides some comic relief.

Director Jon Favreau, who is no stranger to Sci-fi films as he is a big Star Wars fan and directed the two Iron Man movies, depicts both genres with a realism that is respectful of both. With Steven Spielberg producing and ILM doing the majority of the Special Effects the movie spares no expense to make it look great.

What’s funny is that the aliens, when they abduct people, they do it like cowboys on horses when they rope in their cattle with lassos. The aliens also use a sort of lasso while flying, that ropes in the people and snatches them up. The shoe is now on the other foot; the cowboys are now cattle being roped in by aliens in spaceships.

If it sounds fantastic, it is, but don’t be put off by the high concept and mediocre reviews; most people will thoroughly enjoy this film.



Shiran said...

and no mention of Ana de la Reguera and Olivia Wilde! They were easy on the eye
A decent enough movie though despite Harrison Ford doing a grumpy Han Solo in cowboy outfit:) Could have been a great stand alone cowboy movie with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford.

Sandra McLeod Humphrey said...

This is not a film I would have added to my "To See" list, but I might just change my mind and check it out. I've got to say, you're expanding my film horizons!

Myrna Greenhut said...

You can return my money since you enjoyed it for both of us.

Love the cast,--and think Wilde is a great looker, but the characters are all over the place, change personalities like their underwear and the whole plot gets a lot confusing.

Definite disappointment but Sci-fi is not my thing to begin with, and this film made me feel more strongly than ever that I prefer a good down-to-earth story.

JP said...

Thanks Myrna. You're right this film is not for everyone, and yes, the plot was more complex than I expected which was a pleasant surprise for me as these types of films usually keep the plot pretty simple.

Lanre said...

I love and watch a lot of Scifi films, especially those that have to do with ETs. I do love the concept of the aliens becoming the cowboys. I've seen the films already and it's not just once.