"Cowboys & Aliens"
Released July 2011
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Often times when I venture out to the movies, whether or not I enjoy the movie depends on what my expectations were prior to seeing it. If I am super excited, I might be disappointed with a movie I would have liked otherwise. If my expectations are low, I might end up being pleasantly surprised.
My expectations for Cowboys & Aliens could be described as skeptical. I was not necessarily expecting a terrible movie (I mean cmon, Spielberg and Howard are in on this), but I was skeptical about the concept itself being successful. Mixing the western genre with the sci-fi genre seems incredibly tricky.
I remember when I saw the preview for the very first time (with no prior knowledge of the movie). It went something like this...
What? Daniel Craig is in a western? Thats inter...WHAT? Harrison FORD is in a western?! This is cra...UM WHAT JUST HAPPENED??!?! WHY ARE THERE ALIENS?????
From the get go I was wary of this whole alien/cowboy mixture. It just had the potential to be either really cheesy or really obnoxious. What convinced me that I wanted to see the movie was an interview I saw with Ron Howard at Comicon. He seemed practically giddy about the partnership and how much fun they had...so I thought, okay Ron...I'll check it out.
So I saw Cowboys & Aliens this past week with my husband and his best friend and have to admit that I enjoyed it. It wasn't a perfect movie (some elements were great, others lacked), but overall I was entertained. I was worried there'd be too much action and no story, but surprisingly enough they did a lot of character development and spaced out the action appropriately so that is didn't get to be overwhelming or boring. The story itself wasn't great, but the characters were likable if only a little predictable. It felt like a western. It was a western with a unique other worldly problem, but it always felt like a western. It was filmed incredibly well and of course the effects were also done very well.
The acting was great on some levels and mediocre on others. Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano & Daniel Craig are all fabulous actors in my book and I think they did a great job. I don't think the characters were all that challenging or unique (perhaps I little bit on the stock character side), but these men captured the spirit of the characters as they were intended. The more I watch Daniel Craig, the more I like him. And I must say that Paul Dano has a nack for getting me to hate his character while still maintaining their humanity.
The rest of the acting was average. Olivia Wilde and Harrison Ford are not the most versatile actors in my opinion. Olivia may go on to prove me wrong, but I think Harrison has had his chance. That being said, I have an unbreakable nostalgia for Harrison Ford. I loved him as a child, deemed him my favorite actor in third grade and declared that I would see every single Harrison Ford movie ever made before I died. (I think I'm pretty close too, by the way). Some of his characters have become my favorites. I think he did well with his character in Cowboys & Aliens all things considered. His character was probably the most complicated and maybe my favorite.
Will I go out and buy this movie for my collection? Probably not. Is it a new favorite? No, not really. But I enjoyed it, and were it given to me as a gift I wouldn't immediately put it on Ebay.
I'm sure I will watch it again at some point in the future and if you're looking for an entertaining summer film, it's not your worst option.