Cowboys and Aliens
I haven’t made it to the theater lately so hopefully I’ll be making up for lost time before classes resume soon.
I’ve been dying to see Cowboys and Aliens. Ever since I first heard of it I was intrigued and my curiosity continued to grow as things developed. I was sold when Harrison Ford was secured to act in the film. I love that man so I would have wanted to see the film regardless of what it was.
My biggest hesitation going into the film was how the would balance the two genres. Honestly I though that the western aspect would be pushed aside in favor for the sci-fi aliens. I was wrong. The western elements of the film were the best and they could have had a hell of a western if they took out the aliens and retooled the story a bit. It looked great (though the tailor-made clothing bugged me, mostly on Daniel Craig). I felt like they did a great job of catching the feel and look of a western and initially the whole alien thing was working out great. You don’t get any answers, just questions. Like the cowboys you are left in the dark, which I loved. Unfortunately the finale of the film is what kinda blew it. You get to see the aliens in all of their glory and it just felt a bit underwhelming. It didn’t seem like as much effort was put into that ending with the aliens. They were just there, substituted for Native Americans or a gang of outlaws.
Part of the issue with the aliens was that they were just there. You get some really great character development from the “cowboys,” but nothing from the aliens. Well, there is one that get’s slight development because of a previous encounter with Craig, but that really wasn’t development.
The acting was really good all around, which also helped the movie. There is humor in the film and I suppose it is sorta in the vein of Iron Man, but the movie is deadly serious. It isn’t a camp film with aliens attacking. Craig and Ford do a wonderful job of taking the whole scenario and making it seem real. That this isn’t just some hokey mashup.
Daniel Craig is great. He’s pretty quiet in the film and remains pretty much detached, but you do get some great emotional bits from him.
Harrison Ford was great as well, but I’m biased. He kinda does his grumpy old man bit here to an extent, which actually makes me think of him as taking over Sean Connery’s role as Indy’s dad in that film. As an older man he would have done a good job as his own father. That aside, he does a nice job and again you get some great development from the character and you see some emotional strings pulled very nicely.
Olivia Wilde felt out of place. Everyone else was male, but they were also pretty gruff and dirty and whatnot. She just didn’t fit in. In retrospect this makes sense as we learn something odd about her, but at the time it was just kinda meh. She did a good job though for what her role is.
Sam Rockwell was as good as ever. I don’t know if I’ve ever not liked him. Paul Dano is really good here as well, though he really only has a small part at the beginning of the film. He is a great source of humor though. Clancy Brown does a nice job as the Priest for a small role as does Keith Carradine (Lundy from Dexter) as the Sheriff. Adam Beach also deserves a nice nod for his role as the surrogate son to Ford and David O’Hara also has a very nice appearance where he beats up Craig (briefly). Basically a lot of great performances by actors playing very small parts that only appear for a few minutes.
I enjoyed the film. I’m not sure what turned everyone off. I mean the film is called Cowboys and Aliens, so I would feel expectations should be set accordingly. I thoroughly enjoyed it though and have no regrets.