Iron Man director Jon Favreau returns with a magnificent mash-up of two distinguished genres – Western and Sci-Fi, to bring you one of 2011’s most anticipated blockbusters, Cowboys and Aliens.
In 1873, an unknown gentleman (Daniel Craig) wakes up on a desert, with an incision through his gut and a strange metal band shackled to his left wrist. His amnesia state prevents him from uttering much as he wanders into a small town called Absolution. He gets acquainted with a preacher named Meacham (Clancy Brown) who helps nurse his wound.
This mysterious lad soon finds out that he is a wanted man named Jake Lonergan. He is then being transported by Sheriff Taggart (Keith Carradine) to another state when Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford), pounces on Lonergan regarding some stolen gold in the past. Lonergan, having no memory whatsoever before his arrival on the desert, is bemused at the amount of chaos he is causing.
Bright lights start appearing in the sky and the “demons” come blasting their way in. Spaceships resembling dragonflies lasso a bunch of town people while Lonergan’s metal band starts to beep and flicker. He soon discovers that it is a heavy-duty weapon and tries to shoot down a couple of spaceships.
Colonel Dolarhyde then forms a posse of cowboys to go after these so-called “demons” after his son Percy, gets abducted together with many other locals. Lonergan flees, in hopes of finding his true identity and the lady whom he begins to see in numerous flashbacks. A mysterious and beautiful traveler named Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde) follows him discreetly, with unknown intentions.
Eventually, all of them reunite to combat these aliens and bring back their loved ones.
There is something very, very likable about Jake Lonergan and well, just Daniel Craig in general. Craig is actually quite amazing to watch and is probably one of the major highlights in this film. The character Lonergan manages to break away from the typical “Criminal” or “Hero” type, creating a personality of his own. He sure as hell is one badass motherf**ker who deals with aggression, subtlety and loyalty all at the same time.
Although he does not converse much throughout the film, his presence and charm manage to captivate us. His reactions and gestures are comical when the time calls for it, making him a very unique character in the movie. Kudos to 007 Craig for portraying the idea of a perfect cowboy.
Hans Solo / Indiana Jones star Harrison Ford is fierce and slightly comical as the big boss Colonel Dolarhyde. He provides a little depth to the film as he struggles to accept people and his own mistakes. His humour isn’t as wry as Tommy Lee’s in Captain America but his badass-ness is sufficiently entertaining.
Highlights & Setbacks
We won’t be putting up photos of the actual aliens (or what the locals called “Demons” back then) because we hate spoiling things for ya. But we gotta say that the aliens are pretty terrific. They aren’t exactly Sigourney Weaver Aliens kinda scary but they do enough to leave you wanting more, which is what the movie eventually provides. Scenes of humans being trapped in the alien vessel are also pretty eerie, with eyes cold-white and bodies tangled in a bunch of suction alien ropes.
Also, the concept of this entire film is gorgeous. With the idea of an amnesiac lone ranger having an extraordinary weapon attached to his wrist and aliens coming down to East Jesus Nowhere to battle a posse of cowboys, the movie has marvelous potential in every single sense.
However, even with the excellent cast and film setting, the movie fails to live up to its expectations. To add onto the agony, the whole secrecy of the film and production process just heightened our expectations for something really HUGE. It fell short of that due to its unnecessarily long running time and beat about the bush storytelling. It was just too draggy for its own good, which was an utter waste considering that the film could have ousted other blockbusters like Captain America.
That being said, I was thoroughly impressed with the amount of action in this film. Daniel Craig’s fight scenes, alien lasers perishing human beings and the intense horseback-riding are damn well satisfying!
A refreshing treat amongst all the heavy blockbusters this season. Unfortunately, the movie’s plot stretches a tad too thin. Would have liked to see more cowboys too.