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007 meets Indiana in the Wild West
Cowboys and Aliens (DVD)
Member Name: Praskipark
Cowboys and Aliens (DVD)
Advantages: Good cast, like the fusion of western and science fiction, delivers what it promises
Disadvantages: Set action piece at the end too drawn out, violence a little intense
The title Cowboys and Aliens sounds like fun or at least that's what I thought when reading about Jon (not John like DY have spelt it) Favreau's new film. You may remember his name from the Iron Man series. I can't say the director's name had any influence on my decision to go along and see the film - it was more the fact that Daniel Craig was one of the main stars. Those blue eyes just made me don my thick coat, hat and gloves and off to the pictures I went. Now, I know he's no Bruce Springsteen and he can't really act that well but there is something about those magical eyes but this wasn't the only thing that attracted me to this film - I liked the idea of the fusion between cowboy and science fiction. I have seen this done before - way back in 1973. Do you remember Westworld and a bald Yul Brynner? In fact, he was pretty cool as the gunman who was really a robot prancing around a theme park that had a somewhat futuristic feel about it. He went a bit mental if I recall and decided to kill everybody.
So how is Favreau's movie similar? It's about a group of aliens who have chosen to colonise the Earth and their chosen spot to start this mad caper is in the Wild West. They are looking for gold, a valuable commodity in their world. The human beings suddenly realise that to survive against these aliens they have to be united and put all their disagreements behind them. Can they do it - let's have a look....
The year is 1873 and the man with the blue eyes and a worried look on his face wakes up in a desert. The man - you guessed right - is Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig). What's that on his arm? A strange looking bracelet. Does he know where he is and how he got there? No is the answer. He doesn't even know who he is and what's more he's wounded. People approach him - they are aggressive. Not very welcoming at all. Ah, there is one nice guy and he's a preacher man called Meacham (Clancy Brown). He takes Lonergan under his wing, tends to his wounds in a town called Absolution. Is the town's name a sign of symbolism do you think?
Well, it's not exactly a tranquil town. It's run by that old charmer Colonel Woodrow. I think you will all recognise this local land owner who just happens to be corrupt and bribes everyone in sight. Woodrow is Harrison Ford - our favourite Raider of the Lost Ark. Isn't he a bit old to be playing this intimidating role? Maybe not. He's pretty good at the bribery thing and manages to win Sherriff Taggart over (Keith Carradine). Taggart has something on Lonergan - he knows he is wanted for crimes of rape and murder.
This is the point where Lonergan thinks he has no future; he is doomed but before this motley crew are able to square up and sort their battles out, the town of Absolution is attacked by spacecrafts who make their position and reasons for their visit very clear. They either obliterate the townspeople or lasso them and drag them into their space ships. No point in resisting as the technology the aliens use is far superior than any old Winchester or Colt 45.
Then something spectacular happens;Lonergan realises that the bracelet on his arm is pretty damn powerful and a match for any of these extraterrestrial critters. With the help of a mysterious human known as Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde) who not only is possessed with a beautiful exterior she also has a talent for fighting her way out of a tight spot. You could say the heat is on, the action begins and Lonergan no longer has one toe in the gallows.
Cowboys and aliens isn't the greatest film I've seen but it's not bad. It's two hours long and a very easy film to watch. It certainly isn't pretentious. I think it would have been very easy to produce a film that was an imitation of Michael Crichton's 1973 film but the director here chose to deliver this subject matter in a straight - faced way. Also good to see that the big stars of the film trusted their ability in their performances to not ham up their characters.
The cast is a good one and I should think the main draw of the film. I mean we get to see not just James Bond but Indiana Jones as well, possibly wearing the same hat and scarf he wore in Raiders. I thought Ford looked well and a lot better than he has over the last couple of years. He seemed like he had found a new burst of energy from somewhere. Keith Carradine makes a nice comeback; is his usual self and plays along nicely with Sam Rockwell and Olivia Wilde who proves to everyone that she is no damsel in distress. As for Daniel Craig - well let's say he is adorable and that's enough to be going on with for now.
Do I have any qualms about the film? A couple. The violent sequences are a bit intense and seemed to stay on screen too long for my liking. I also thought that the final action set piece was too bloated and far too drawn out. The premise of the film is meant to be fun but I guess some older viewers (older than me) might see it as being stupid and probably wouldn't find it enjoyable. I could see the funny side and I would say don't enter the cinema thinking that this film is far more meaningful than it actually is. The film delivers everything it promises to.
This is a PG 13 - I think that is a fair enough rating. There is some partial nudity and a lot of crude references but nothing I think this age group will be offended by unless they are very sensitive.
Summary: Not a bad action/sci-fi/western