Movie Review: Cowboys and Aliens (2011)

| 17 August , 2011 | Reply

Directed by: Jon Favreau
Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell
Sassi’s Star Rating: 3/5 Stars

In Arizona, 1873, the mysterious cowboy Jake Lonergan (Craig), finds himself ‘returned\’ to the old west where he is a wanted man, absent of his memory and with a strange futuristic device attached to his wrist. He soon finds himself in the line of fire when an altercation with the son of Woodrow Dolarhyde (Ford), the town\’s richest man, ends badly.

Woodrow Dolarhyde tries to exact his revenge on Lonergan through a Wild West style stand-off, but Dolarhyde soon finds that Lonergan becomes sidelined as merely a minor concern when a team of aliens arrive, blow up the town and steal his son, amongst other town folk.

Meanwhile, the device attached to Lonergan\’s wrist springs to life and proves the only defense against this futuristic bunch of baddies. Lonergan realises that there is a connection between the aliens and his memory loss, and he and Dolarhyde are forced to band together as a cowboy posse, ready to battle the intergalactic threat.

The very essence of the plot seems conjured directly from a young boy\’s greatest fantasy (and toy box)—taking the maddest gunslingers of the Wild West and having them test their wiles against supernatural super villains from a techno-advanced alien race. There\’s the tough-as-nuts old cowboy (Ford), the damsel in distress (Wilde), the misunderstood hero (Craig), and then there\’s the aliens—lots of aliens. But, putting the juvenile fantasy aside, the film is in fact a lot of fun. And while clichéd at times, it will serve fans of classic adventure well.

What elevates the film (apart from its no-cost-spared cast) is a return to ‘old west\’ cinematography, that uses sweeping shots and saturation of colours to really carry the dust covered lustre of the scenes themselves. What is absent is the clear delineation between the good, the bad, and, dare I say ugly (although the aliens do kind of fit that brief), that traditional westerns have typically portrayed. The film\’s deliberate attempt to err on the side of political correctness, especially regarding the cowboys and Indians dichotomy and treatment of women, makes for some rather awkward scripting moments and ultimately comes across as unnatural. The aliens on the other hand are spared no such courtesy.

Cowboys and Aliens is essentially a bit of fun. Don\’t take it too seriously and you will enjoy it for the out-of-this-world adventure that it provides.

Cowboys and Aliens is in cinemas from August 18th.


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Category: Film & TV

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