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Cowboys & Aliens (2011 film)

A Fantasy Western film directed by Jon Favreau.

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Incredible concept! Incredible movie?

  • Jul 28, 2011
Written by Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Mark Fergus and Hawk Otsby
Directed by Jon Favreau
Starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde
Jake Lonergan: I don’t want any trouble.
Aliens have tried to take over our planet dozens of times in the movies already. Every time they do, it seems like they always choose major metropolitan areas and the setting is always current day. While I’m sure there are exceptions to these rules, who is to say that aliens couldn’t plot their attack a couple of hundred years ago? They’re aliens; they’re advanced; they can do whatever they want, whenever they want. And if you think you’d be scared if aliens decided to attack us today, imagine what it would have been like for a cowboy in 1837 to come face to face with one of these massive monsters. Imagine that real good and you’ve got yourself a new breed of alien movie, you’ve got COWBOYS AND ALIENS.
Director Jon Favreau tows a very fine line between these two genres to ensure that he is somehow loyal to both without sacrificing much from either side. Like a good Western, it starts out quiet and lonesome. A man wakes up in the desert, bleeding from what he presumes is a gunshot in his side, with no recollection of who he is and with a bizarre metal bracelet around his left wrist unlike anything he has ever seen. As it turns out, this man is Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) and he is wanted for a bevy of assorted crimes, not the least of which is the murder of his former lover (Abigail Spencer). Jake moseys into a nearby town and right before he causes too much damage, a strange light appears in the sky. The whole town looks on as if a miracle is about to take place. Why wouldn’t they? They’ve never seen an alien disaster movie before so how could they possibly know what horror was in store for them?
The concept of COWBOYS AND ALIENS is so strong and while Favreau has crafted a sturdy blend of the two film worlds, there is something inherently amiss about the combination. One genre is often subdued and subtle while the other is loud and raucous. At times, the differences are too far apart to fully come together, like it wants to take flight but its too heavy to get off the ground. The pace picks up once the story crosses from cowboy loner to invasion survivors banding together. Craig is joined by typical tough guy, Harrison Ford, who is obviously enjoying himself a great deal in the part and Olivia Wilde, who just seems like she enjoys being window dressing way too much. Regardless, along with a few other determined town folk, they set off to take on the invading army with everything they’ve got, which admittedly is not much. This is where Favreau finds the commonality that ties the genres together – the endurance of the human spirit and the need to persevere.

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LUNCH rating is out of 10.

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Incredible concept! Incredible movie? Incredible concept! Incredible movie? Incredible concept! Incredible movie?

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August 03, 2011
I want to see this one, great review.
August 14, 2011
Thanks, hope you enjoy the film.
July 29, 2011
very nice review!! I read the graphic novel from which this was based on, and I am hoping that this will be a much stronger execution than the graphic novel (it was alright but not impressive). I loved your closing paragraph! Sounds like it really feels like a western film...'quiet and lonesome" Nice!

 I am off to see it in a few... thanks for the review in Movie Hype, Joseph!
July 29, 2011
I just saw it, a decent western fantasy with several opportunities missed.
August 14, 2011
Yup .. solid but something is missing.
July 29, 2011
Loved your review...and we all know I loved the film.
August 14, 2011
Thanks! I appreciate that. There is much to love about the film.
July 29, 2011
Nice review, J! I think I'm actually seeing this tomorrow, so we'll see how our thoughts compare :)
August 14, 2011
So .. what did you think?
More Cowboys & Aliens (2011 film) reviews
review by . July 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
An Uneven
An alien invasion happening during the late 1800’s when mankind had barely gotten in touch with their potentials for technology is an interesting premise. I mean it represented a classic “David vs. Goliath” theme as well as having a huge amount of potential to work on. Granted I wasn’t that impressed with Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s “Cowboys and Aliens” (see review of the graphic novel here) but I thought it may make a good translation into film; seeing as …
review by . July 31, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Screenwriters and Editing
Heres the two things I thought of as I watched this movie:      1.  The idea of gold hungry aliens has come a long way since Battlefield Earth and      2.  I can only imagine that when Harrison Ford signed on, the script was re-written to have him rescue his family.         oh, I guess a third would be that this is filling the void for Favereau instead of getting an Iron Man 3 from him.  I guess it could have been …
review by . August 02, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I walked out of C&A today shrugging my shoulders.  It was a pleasant enough way to spend two hours on a hot summer night.  Daniel Craig (who looks like Harrison Ford used to look 30 years ago) and Harrison Ford (who looks remarkably like Neil Young today) play to type and off of each other well, and the setup is classic cowboy movie--so classic that when Craig, Ford, and the townspeople, native Americans, and Craig's old outlaw gang encounter the aliens (who lasso human subjects …
review by . July 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
'Cowboys & Aliens' 'Two Jews On Film' Fly In Different Directions With This SciFi Western (Video)
      The year is 1873. The place...New Mexico...A man (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the middle of nowhere.  He has no idea who he is or where he is.  All he knows is...there's a thick metal bracelet on his wrist and he can't remove it.       After fighting off some would-be robbers with a few swift kicks and punches, the Man wanders into the town of Absolution where he finds...   …
review by . August 03, 2011
Walking into this movie you know what you are going to be getting, and if you don't it may be time to stop reading this blog. Jon Favreau promised his audience both cowboys and aliens and by god that is what you get, just not much else.      Favreau could have taken this movie in a couple different directions, he chose to take the mixing of two genres that have been lampooned in more recent history and decided to make it a serious action movie. Then there was the decision …
review by . August 02, 2011
Picture this… James Bonds wakes up in the Wild West unable to recall how he got there and then ends up in a town were Indiana Jones and his son have been terrorizing its citizens into doing anything they want…  Wait, that’s not right.  Granted Cowboys & Aliens does star Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, as well as share executive producer Steven Spielberg (Indy franchise), there is little else these heavy hitters bring to this futuristic/sci-fi western.  If only …
Quick Tip by . December 22, 2011
A genre blend that starts off strong despite the adherence to a multitude of western cliches, it all falls flat in the second act with the introduction of a lazy plot twist created for no other reason than to save the screenwriters the trouble of advancing the story through dialogue and character development, and give them an easy out for a typically lame Hollywood Happy Ending.
review by . August 08, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I’m generally a big fan of westerns, and I’ve been known to dabble in the science fiction genre from time to time. So on paper, Jon Favreau’s latest Cowboys and Aliens is a perfect fit. While I can definitely come to appreciate the general ridiculousness of it all and end up having a blast with it as the fun late summer film it is, the abundance of hands tweaking the script turns out being one of the movie’s biggest struggles. It’s not the best execution of a solid …
review by . August 08, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
No matter how you slice it, 2011 has not been a very fun-filled summer.  Most of the movies have either been very forgettable or they haven't really had much of an impact.  Cowboys and Aliens doesn't do much to change most of this.  It's certainly a lot more fun than most of the movies around this summer, but it doesn't quite leave the lasting impression you'd hope for it to.      We all understand that not every movie has to be this artistic …
review by . July 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         My concern was that the science fiction and western elements of Cowboys & Aliens would not be able to meet halfway. Can you blame me? On paper, I cannot think of a more awkward pairing of genres. I envisioned a disaster along the lines of The Warrior’s Way (which fused the western with martial arts), or going back much further, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (the western and horror, which I happened to catch one Saturday …
About the reviewer
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #8
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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About this movie


Cowboys & Aliens is an American fantasy- Western film starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde. The film, directed by Jon Favreau, is based on the 2006 graphic novel of the same name created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. Cowboys & Aliens was released in the United States and Canada on July 29, 2011 and in other countries on ensuing weekends.

1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger (Craig) with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don’t welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). It’s a town that lives in fear.

But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known.

Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he’s been, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a fighting chance against the alien force. With the help of the elusive traveler Ella, he pulls together a posse comprised of former opponents—townsfolk, Dolarhyde and his boys, outlaws and ...
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Director: Jon Favreau
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller, Western
Release Date: July 29, 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Runtime: 118 minutes
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