Thursday, August 4, 2011

Movie Review: Cowboys and Aliens

A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys are all that stand in their way. (IMDb)

First of all, has anyone ever seen Daniel Craig smile in a movie? In this movie, Jaker Lonergan doesn't. And that name, "Loner Gun"?

Too much of this movie smacked of perfunctory execution.

Here's an example (mild spoiler):
Rustlers are about to get zapped by aliens. Scene setup: about 20 cattle standing around ten yards from the rustlers' camp, one rustler drinking his whiskey. Seen it before . . . How about trying for something other than stereotype?
 Another example (very mild spoiler):
Wouldn't aliens who had space travel technology and "plasma energy" guns also have some passive security technology active around their basecamp?
 And this next is not an example, rather a complaint.
The violence and gore did not add to the movie. It was mostly an example of gratuitous violence--just there for its shock value. A lesser degree would have been more effective and provided a more seamless flow to the movie.
What I did like about the movie:
  • Harrison Ford's character Woodrow Dolarhyde (Did the scriptwriters really think these names added to the movie?) does change and grow. The father/son relationship of Dolarhyde with three young men is one of the major dynamics of the movie.
  • Adam Beach, playing Nat Colorado, brings real depth to the movie--a character who sees below the gruff exterior of Dolarhyde to the secret depths and pains of the man.
  • This sensitivity was also displayed by Paul Dano and Noah Ringer--the other two young men playing the "son" roles in the movie. The writers and director were at their best developing the young man coming of age motif--mostly. Explaining the "mostly" would involve spoilers and a knife.
It was a very hot day and the theater was cool. But I probably should have skipped the movie and ridden west, towards the sunset. As it was, I did that anyway--and like Daniel Craig, I wasn't smiling.

Copyright 2011, by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved


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