I was looking forward to this film for some time. It’s been promoted in trailers and ads for some many months now. And it didn’t disappoint. It certainly was better than Battlefield L.A, which was more or less a recruiting video for the army. Obviously, a cross-genre bending film like Cowboys and Aliens is always going to have believability issues. After all, six shooters and rifles, bows and arrows, Indian lances, and yes, a lariat, are going to seem a feeble offense against a race of evil aliens with interstellar technology. But it all comes together, sort of. And sort of is good enough. It never falls into campy, self-mockery. And that’s all you can ask for.
So, bulldogging a space fighter is very improbable, even impossible, and it’s doubtful there were outlaw gangs 50 member strong lurking in the Arizona Territory A few other improbabilities are lurking about in this film as well.
But there is some very good acting going on here. It’s always a pleasure to see Harrison Ford, and he makes the most of his role as the ex-army colonel turned Cattle Baron, Colonel Dolarhyde.
Daniel Craig made his big time actor bones reprising the screen action icon legend James Bond. He does a more than adequate job here. Harrison Ford brings some humanity to his role as the complex Colonel; at once caring and responsible, at other times ruthless and ice cold.
Olivia Wilde as the mysterious saloon girl plays an integral role here. She brings to all her work an air of inscrutability, leaving us wondering what lies behind that lovely visage. She conceals much, then when she reveals anything at all, its seems to be more of a revelation than it really is, in contrast to all her reticent air of mystery lead up.
Adam Beach as Nat Colorado, semi-adopted son of Colonel Dolarhyde, gives a subtle performance; He straddles the cultural divide, and plays second-fiddle to Dolarhydes pusillanimous heir, a sniveling coward and bully. The audience really enjoys his comeuppance at the hands of Jake Lonergen (Daniel Craig).
The Arizona Desert (really it was filmed in New Mexico) is one of the stars here. One of the most important features of any Western is the locale. Without it, the movie could be an Eastern!
The canyons, rock formations, long vistas stretching for miles; cowboys, Indians, vaqueros, Apaches, prospectors, saloon girls, outlaws, barkeeps, what have you. We need these western types. It’s been awhile since the last western; I can’t reckon just when the last one was..
But I had a hankering for a whole heaping bowl of the stuff; and in that case Podner, it;’s been too long! (I’m channeling a brand of chili meat for some reason).
“Cowboys and Alens” came at the right time. Let’s not quibble about believability and other such piddling stuff.
The direction’s more than up to snuff. Remember along with the special effects in the film , there are things blowing up left and right, there are real horses and of course humans. John Favreau directed Iron Man, and also there was executive producer input as well from Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard. And the aliens were quite decent.
All in all, give it 4 stars out of 5.