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Cowboys & Aliens (2011 film)

A Fantasy Western film directed by Jon Favreau.

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Lost opportunity for that "OH SH*T" moment

  • Aug 2, 2011
Rating:
+1
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 from flying metal contraptions that look like dragonflies) they just resort deeper into their stereotypical behavior and band together to treat the aliens like bigger bad guys--and nothing else!

I realize this movie is based on a graphics novel, so perhaps the director and screenwriters were trying to stay faithful to the source, but if so, without having read it, I would say that the source also missed a great opportunity.  In that Wild West period in the last quarter of the 19th century (Harrison Ford talks of leading men to death in the Bloody Cornfield battle at Antietam in the US Civil War), no one had seen an airplane, or experienced or seen bombs dropped from airplanes, and the concept of alien creatures who live in outer space having an interest and the ability to land on earth, and who desire to make contact with humans (usually for evil intent, to eat, enslave, or inseminate humans to propogate their own race), who might be far advance of and opposed to our technology.  Yet when all these things happened in C&A, no one freaks out!  Even Daniel Craig, who we find waking up in the desert with an alien gadgety-looking bracelet on his wrist that is clearly not germane to the time and environment of the old west, he is only interested enough in it to take a couple of prefunctory whacks at it with a rock, and when one character (the attractive female lead to boot who was obviously onscreen to attract our hero, no less) tells him she can help him remember his forgotten past, he shoves her away with a mumbled and laconic  "leave me alone" sentence.

OK, I get it--Craig is the close-mouthed cowboy character of cliche.  But seriously, wouldn't anyone in that circumstance try to understand these totally alien (pun intended) events happening in his life.  When the mechanical dragonflies lasso their friends and families, and Craig even shoots one down, wouldn't you expect them to have that "OH SH*T, what are those things, where did they come from" freak-out moment?  Nope, not here. 

So, enjoy it for what it is, and if any of you have read the graphic novel tell me if it takes the same matter-of-fact approach, but I was hoping for a bit more than this.

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August 17, 2011
Decent review of a crappy movie. I would put in on the level of Earth versus the Flying Saucers. The comparison is funny since it is made 55 years later but the setting is 70 years earlier. Fortunately I didn't go to the theater to see it. I found it in a torrent on the net. You have to waste time watching a bad movie to learn it was a waste of time. I should have watched Forbidden Planet AGAIN.
 
August 03, 2011
Very good review!! I too thought that the source material missed opportunities and I hoped that the movie would expand on the premise, but I guess in this case, while I like the more serious mood of the movie, I did miss the creativity of the graphic novel when I saw the movie. It realize that the source material was a little pulpy and campy, I liked Favreau's sense of restraint and how he did the direction, but the aliens lost a lot of personality in turn. I guess this concept needs further interpretation, it is a great concept, but it this is not the definitive movie on this premise. Thanks for posting the review in Movie Hype!
 
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More Cowboys & Aliens (2011 film) reviews
review by . July 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
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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
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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 . 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 . July 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Incredible concept! Incredible movie?
COWBOYS AND ALIENS   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 …
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
posted in Forbidden Planet
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
posted in MovieSucktastic
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 …
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Todd Stockslager ()
I love reading and writing about what I have read, making the connections and marking the comparisons and contrasts. God has given man the amazing power to invent language and the means to record it which … more
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Wiki

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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Details

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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