Daniel Craig in COWBOYS & ALIENS movie review

Who doesn't want to see James Bond and Indiana Jones in a western stand-off with aliens? Jon Favreau's COWBOYS & ALIENS has a little something for everyone and it's not a sequel or superhero adaptation, so it's already off to a good start.

COWBOYS & ALIENS, starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde, is like a cinematic K.I.S.S., as a western it Keeps It Simple allowing you to cheer for the good guys and hiss the bad guys. Not since the westerns of old where heroes wore white hats and the villains wore black has it been this cut and dry who to root for. But don’t get me wrong about this genre-blending epic, there is nothing Stupid about it. Like the revisionist westerns of late even the heroes have flaws. And as our cast of characters face an unimaginable foe they learn about themselves, others and who you can count on in a fight.

COWBOYS & ALIENS movie reviewThe story begins with Daniel Craig waking up in the desert. He is hurt, shoeless and can’t remember his name. On his wrist is a large metal bracelet that he can’t seem to remove even with a rock. As he struggles to find meaning and discover where he is and how he got there he is overcome by a group of Indian scalp hunters. Taking advantage of his vulnerable situation they try to capture him but the man with no name fights back. He now has a horse, a gun, better clothes, and best yet, some boots.

Daniel Craig must be really off his game because when he enters a town to clean up his wounds he get captured again, this time by a preacher (Clancy Brown). The preacher takes him to the sheriff (Keith Carradine) and it turns out that he is a wanted man. As the sheriff loads him and the errant son (Paul Dano) of the local cattle baron (Harrison Ford) into an armored wagon for transport, all hell breaks loose as aliens attack. The rest of the film has the town joining forces to battle these invaders and rescue the townspeople that have been abducted.

The western aspect of this film is straightforward. Filmed in New Mexico it has the look and feel of a classic western. The aliens are straightforward, too. They are as complex and creepy as any alien movie with their own agenda and mode of operation. Olivia Wilde plays a mysterious woman who knows more than she is letting on. She seems to be the bridge between these two worlds and helps us unravel the mystery.

One of the things I liked the most about this film is that the elements, usually at odds in a typical western, must unite together against a common enemy. Therefore you have Indians fighting with cowboys and cattle barons battling with bandits. All citizens, no matter what their ilk, must put their differences aside and work together. To the aliens they are just products to be harvested. Unity is their best weapon.

Artistically, COWBOYS & ALIENS is expertly made. From the costumes, to the score, to the special effects, everything is top-notch. And John Favreau has done an excellent job melding the two genres. The challenge will be winning over the public and getting them to see this strange film without giving too much away. So let me help out, if you ever thought it would be cool to battle aliens, you’ll like this film. If you ever fantasized about strapping on a six shooter and wearing a cowboy hat, then you’ll love this film. If you enjoy seeing well-worn genres being re-imagined and given a fresh look, then go.

And most of all, if the idea of seeing James Bond join forces with Indiana Jones doesn’t send you in to a rage, then buy your ticket now, COWBOYS & ALIENS is the film for you.  Just let me say, give it a try people. How many sequels can a person take? It’s time to give an original story a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Melanie Wilson   
Visit her blog at lamelbox.blogspot.com


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