Monday, 15 August 2011

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

As I saw the film two days ago it's going to be hard to remember all but I'm going to try as I really want to write up a review of it. This time round this review is very disappointing as I think I'm out of words! Two reviews in one day and another blog post too!

Running Time: 118 mins
Directed By: Jon Favreau
Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Noah Ringer
Screenplay: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby
UK Release Date: UK -17th August

Quick Plot: In a small town in Arizona, a man awakens to find a weird shackle on his wrist with not memory of what has happened to him. Later he finds his identity as Jake Lonergan and soon after witnesses most of the towns people being taken by a mysterious alien ship and starts to remember the same happened to him but was lucky to escape. With the help from a slapdash group of survivors from the town including a dog, a young boy and a woman, they set out to find the people of the town while Jake tries to recover the memory of his past.

Review: Cowboys & Aliens ticks all of the boxes for a Summer Blockbuster. It has explosions, destruction, cool technology and as a bonus there are cowboys! The genre works fantastically well too, a western and sci-fi?! It's only been mastered a few times, Serenity and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Cyrstal Skull are two to name a few and even then Indy 4 wasn't much of a accomplishment.
The film starts off nicely with a bit of mystery to it and sets the scene perfectly with some beautiful shots of the landscape which I really was taken by. The story goes on to focus on only a small number of main characters which is a nice thing to see for a not so hot, Summer of blockbusters. The cast are ideal and fabulous but what did you expect in a film with both James Bond AND Indiana Jones as lead roles? You can't fault their performance in Cowboys & Aliens like most of their films and I'd like to say both characters were a contrast of how people handle emotion differently. Ford's character of Woodrow Dolarhyde for example is a Dad who's lost his son in the mist of the alien kidnapping whilst Craig's Jake Lonergan is a man who needs to find out his past of which has has forgotten. The beautifully talented Olivia Wilde holds a key part in the film for her character Ella and as much as she is a beauty for the eye she still knows how to justify her roles and in this instance her one was very interesting. But it's Sam Rockwell who stood out for me. Being the able actor that he is, he took the smaller role but with a very sophisticated storyline very skillfully and also had a few of the jokes for the film. Additionally young Noah Ringer also sparkled in the film for me as a sweet gem of an actor who I hope goes a long way.
As for the Sci-fi part of the film it's very much clever although has it's negligible flaws. As much as the whole idea of the story is good the whole narrative of Cowboys & Aliens is a little disappointing, with no real depth to it. Just a basic story with a few little twists but nothing mind blowing or epic and you'd expect it from Jon Favreau. Like I said I enjoyed the first part of the film but the last quarter or so was a lot more appealing to me because you saw a lot more of the aliens and their 'space ship'. Unlike Super 8 where you felt no sort of feelings towards neither against the 'thing', the aliens in Cowboys & Aliens were quite freaky and scary! Well as frightening as you can get for a 12. As much as they were not developed enough for you to understand their full story for why they were on earth they were cruel to the humans and had showed no emotion instead pretty cool technology and a weird looking face which as much as I thought they could have looked a bit better for the film, are sufficient enough. They're cool enough and had their jumpy moments- for me anyway!
As the film progresses each character starts to share a new bond like Ella and Jake, the young lad and the older man, yet no sense of emotion between the two leads up until the very end which was a small disappointment. But going away from the small things that disappointed me here's to the stuff that I did like. The balance between the action and adventure worked extremely well as we got chances to see horse back riding, fights with aliens, explosions, gun shots and shots from alien technology too. It's not funny but it's not meant to be, there are a few one liners or even just actions performed by Jake Lonergan that are enough to make the audience smile a bit. At a few points during the film I thought the mix of characters, the storyline and explosions was causing a mess but if you don't take it too seriously you're in for a delightful treat.

It's fun. Nothing of a great film but among a Summer full of let down blockbusters with too many ridiculously looking females still looking immaculate in the middle of fights, too many aliens or robots or a massive cast Cowboys & Aliens is ok. I enjoyed watching it so for that I praise the film for holding my attention after a very long day at the Empire Big Screen.


First official trailer for Cowboys & Aliens

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