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Cowboys & Aliens (2011 film)

A Fantasy Western film directed by Jon Favreau.

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Cowboys & Aliens... not quite the gunslinger we were hoping for

  • Aug 2, 2011
  • by
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 the film lived up to the overall awesomeness that the trailers teased.
Let’s look at the possibilities from a realistic point of view.  1) Daniel Craig is a total bad ass and could totally whip any aliens ass.  2) Indiana Jones was amazing when we were able to understand him (if you see Cowboys & Aliens you will understand the issue). 3) Cowboys verses Aliens is an amazing concept that has not really been done before. 4) Spielberg rarely has a bad film (this does not include the 4th Indy, which I’ll never speak of again).  5) The aliens’ aircrafts looked amazing and gave hope to some crazy looking villains.  Now that that’s out of the way let’s get back to the review….
Cowboys & Aliens takes the concept of a western to heart as it moves as a leisurely pace that could only be compared to a John Wayne film that takes almost 3 hours to get through.  Although there is more than enough time to deliver a story, there are so many missing pieces that you’re lucky if you can walk out of the theater with the slightest clue as to what just happened.  Not only is the story missing a few crucial parts and lacking major character development, but by the end you’ll just wish that Doc Brown would suddenly fly in and urge Marty to travel back to the future just as the end credits roll.  As cheesy as that sounds, it is probably the only thing that could have possibly redeemed the film from its current state.
Thankfully director Jon Favreau found a balance between story and action that kept the audience in their seats, it’s just too bad the combination was not better delivered.  With top-notch actors, a hot actress with a tight toosh (who oddly enough we find out is not quite what we thought she was), and half-assed aliens who pack no punch (who strangely resembled the alien in Spielberg’s Super 8) it’s hard to believe more time had not been spent on fully developing this project.  Having come from a graphic novel it should have been a piece of cake since the story was practically already fully laid out and storyboarded for them, but sadly the adaptation strays far enough away from the original concept that if you miss a few crucial lines explaining who/what the aliens are you might as well forget the story completely.
The only thing that makes up for the complete confusion of the story and whether or not this film was official left with an open ending to set up for a sequel, is the recent realization that a 90s TeenNICK show actually predicted the coming of Cowboys & Aliens.   If you ever watched 'Clarissa Explains It All' you would have had your first introduction to something almost 20 years in the making.  Now I think the only question left is… Would Cowboys & Aliens have made a better 90s film than the film we have today?   
That being said Cowboys & Aliens is a decent film that will at least kill 2 hours if you have nothing better to do.  I personally would have preferred seeing The Smurfs, which actually gave the gunslingers a run for their money this weekend and almost beat them out (if only).  But if you are looking for a little more action and have already seen Captain America, I guess this might hold you over, but you just might be better off waiting for it to come out on DVD.

**this review was originally written for PacManandTheHotOne.com.  check out the site for more reviews and follow the link to the original posting (http://pacmanandthehotone.blogspot.com/2011/...owboys-aliens-2011.html)

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December 23, 2011
Great review, I'm going to have to check it out!
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 . 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 …
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 …
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Hannah aka Angry Penguin ()
Ranked #109
I am a film fanatic, constantly watching films new and old. When not watching movies I'm reading YA lit or sci-fi/fantasy novels, or working on completing my own book.      If … 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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