“Cowboys and Aliens”: The film based off of the graphic novel of the same name combines classic western with modern Sci-fi. But does this interesting hybrid hold up to the epic merging of two genres into one? Starring Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde as your lead characters; Directed by Jon Favreau and produced by Brain Grazer, Ron Howard, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci, and Scott Mitchell Rosenberg.
The film takes place in 1873 when wanted outlaw Jake Longergan (Craig) awakes in an Arizona desert with an old wound, a mysterious bracelet attached to his arm, a small picture of a beautiful woman, and no memory to any events leading to him being stranded in the desert. After reaching to the town of Absolution, he learns from the run in with the local sheriff John Taggart (Keith Carradine) that he is wanted for arm robbery and is thrown in jail with the plans to be extradited to Santa Fe to face a judge.
Just before extradition, Colonel Dolarhyde, the town’s ruler (Ford) comes to retrieve his son Percy (Paul Dano) who is also being sent to a judge in an unrelated shooting and to issue his own revenge on Jake for stealing from him in the past. This is when the aliens strike on the unsuspecting town and kidnaps numerous residents including Percy. Realizing that his memory is somehow connected to the aliens attack, Jake teams up with Dolarhyde and Ella (Wilde) as well as with a small band of towns people in finding the aliens and rescuing their people before it’s too late.
What made this film strong was Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig performances. Ford character was played well as the war veteran colonel who rules Absolution with an iron fist, but at the same time was a calculated man with a sense of honor, making a great anti hero in a way. Daniel Craig performance as the desperado gunman who only watches for himself was also well done. However as his full memory slowly returns in the film, the audience may see the full portrayal of his character in the sense of his actions he does in his film and his true reasoning on why he is performing his actions.
The cinematography was excellent, however some will notice that this film had a solid HD look and may nitpick the fact that if it was a true Western, it should be in a more classic film like style, but for the most part, people will probably overlook this. The lighting and filming style was well done and portrayed it as a western ranging from being in a dark saloon to the bright arid deserts galloping on horses.
One thing I did notice as a con to the film was the motivation of the villains in the story. Perhaps the graphic novel explains it better, but the purpose was the aliens actions of the film was to exploit the gold on the planet and perhaps plan for a later invasion (reason for the abundant kidnapping of people).
“Cowboys and Aliens” does pack plenty of action and memorable moments on screen and is good for a starting film to wrap up the 2011 summer run.
Final Verdict 4 out of 5 stars!