Cowboys and Aliens

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cowboys and aliensI had the same feeling watching the first 15 minutes of this movie as I did with Inglourious Basterds. I wished Quentin Tarantino had just made a straight war picture. In this, I was thinking director Jon Favreau should’ve just done a straight western and left the aliens out.

That being said, I still have no clue how they’ll stock this at Blockbuster (or if Blockbuster will even be around in a few months).

Is it a western? A sci-fi picture? Do we put it in the action-adventure section?

It’s a mash-up of all those genres and instead of being a spoof, it plays it straight. And the wacky premise actually works.

How could it not when you have Daniel Craig? He shed his James Bond persona to channel Steve McQueen if McQueen would’ve done Spaghetti Westerns instead of race car movies in the early ‘70s.

Harrison Ford, never one of my favorite actors (but a guy that seems to pick roles that work with his limited range), is good as a former war hero who brings all the money into this town in 1875. He feels this gives him the right to bully everyone around.

His spoiled son likes to drink free whiskey and fire his gun. He’s played by the Paul Dano, who has now done his third western (after this years boring Meek’s Cutoff, and the great There Will Be Blood). I liked him in the underrated The Extra Man last year.

Olivia Wilde is the eye candy, character actor Clancy Brown is the religious figure that’s sort of a jack of trades, and Sam Rockwell plays a similar character to the one Jimmy Stewart played in one of the best westerns ever made – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

He’s just a hard working, but meek businessman slinging drinks, and wishing people respected him.

Some of this is derivative of other westerns and alien invasion pictures you’ve seen, but it doesn’t make it less enjoyable.

The aliens look suspiciously like the ones in Alien.

Oh, and Benjamin Buttons called. He wants his hummingbird back.

I can’t believe they didn’t keep Dano and Craig handcuffed through half the picture the way Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier were in The Defiant Ones.

Perhaps this movie could’ve been better, considering the talent involved in making it. There was enough interesting character development, great cinematography, and a few scares and suspenseful scenes that make this a fun summer popcorn flick.

And as horrible as Wild Wild West was when they added science fiction elements, just be glad this isn’t more 3-D garbage you have to spend an extra three bucks on.

It gets 3 ½ stars out of 5.

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