Saturday, August 13, 2011

Movie Review: Cowboys and Aliens

The film Cowboys and Aliens is an adaptation of a comic book novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, Fred Valente and Adrew Foley. It’s a story about a small western town in the 1800s that was invaded by aliens. There, a small group of local vigilantes took arms such as bows and arrows along with Remington 22 caliber pistols so they can beat the crap out of the aliens even with their super high-tech and advanced technology. It is an out-of-this-world Dr. Seuss-type of fantasy where anything is possible. The story is that simple, front and back, and you don’t get any deeper than that. 

With 10 years in his directing career, I’m not quite sure what got into Jon Favreau’s mind in making this film adaptation. If it worked with Iron Man and other Marvel comic book stories that gave them box office hit records, it will not always work with others and certainly not for Cowboys and Aliens which, to begin with, has a low comic book fan-base. Still, for the general movie-goers, this film is entertaining enough what with all that gun-slinging action. But for the overly critical sci-fi geeks, this film will certainly disappoint their anticipations because the plot itself is so improbable and off from a realistic tangent. 

What I mean is, how would it be possible for a bunch of 1800s cowboys and Indians to destroy highly advanced alien monsters by just using guns, bows, and arrows? Stories like these are just simply unconventional. In any case, critics must just simply have an open mind and accept the story’s face value. For the Cowboy and Aliens comic book fans, this will certainly give them the thrill although some details in the graphic novel were changed in the movie. 

It’s a good thing that they brought in two of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood to play the lead roles. Veteran actor, Harrison Ford, played the role of Col. Dolarhyde whose character, other than the Stetson hat, is quite far from the usual “Indiana Jones” type we’re used to seeing. And of course, James Bond himself, Daniel Craig as Jake Lonergan, is there and whom I commend for doing a great job in adapting a western American accent. Not bad for a Brit. These two surely provided redemption for the movie thanks to their acting prowess. The beautiful Olivia Wilde played the role of Ella, a different kind of alien changeling who helped Lonergan and their Indian allies beat the extra terrestrial goons with their own laser weapons. 

The special effects were not that spectacular except for the part where extra limbs came out from the alien’s belly which was a unique feature from other aliens I saw before. However, I find it kind of weird to see smoke belching from an advanced alien spaceship’s exhaust, giving it an impression that they still use fossil fuel. How human :)

However, in the midst of all the contrast and intangibilities of the film, lessons of bravery, courage and acceptance were presented that subsequently resulted to the transformation of the characters in the movie. And as my overall impression of the movie, let’s just say that Director Jon Favreau may have not succeeded making this film into a blockbuster item but it was not as mediocre as some critics say either. 

For the overly-critical audience, Cowboys and Aliens may not be a good tandem for movie-making but for the fans of the comic books, I’d guess for them, the two elements still blend perfectly well.
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