Review: Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

The Old West.. where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a terror from beyond our world. 1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don’t welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). It’s a town that lives in fear. But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he’s been.

Cowboys & Aliens, a genre mash that sounds absolutely amazing on paper but what about in reality? Well I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t live up to it’s name and the trailer. Directed by Jon Favreau who to be fair hasn’t really made a bad film, that is until now. The film lacks an exciting story and generally felt really flat.

Daniel Craig plays Jake Lonergan, a wanted criminal outlaw who has suffered amnesia. He has a pretty cool introduction at the beginning of the film. Craig plays this role very well as the mysterious loner cowboy and it suits him. He also looks pretty damn cool in the western setup.

Harrison Ford, who plays Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde is a very suited hole for him. And always looks great in a cowboy hat. Ford plays the powerful and rich cattleman with such ease. It’s a good role for him as Ford is just acting for fun now. He’s of that age where he can pick and choose what he wants to do.

Olivia Wilde is the mysterious traveller called Ella Swenson. In my opinion not a very good role for Wilde who’s acting wasn’t particularly great. It was very wooden, think January Jones in X-Men: First Class. I felt she was a lot better in Tron Legacy. What was a major disappoint is the lack of Sam Rockwell, he always lifts a film but was very much in the background. The film would of been a lot better if he had a bigger role to play.

The film did however look good at least, the effects were great from the Aliens side and the Western front seemed authentic. I just get the feeling Jon Favreau is going down a bad spell like a lot of directors have. Time will tell. Cowboys & Aliens is not the summer blockbuster that you’d thought it would be, I was very disappointed and somewhat bored whilst watching it.

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