Cowboys & Aliens: First Contact / Last Stand

When my youngest daughter called me up and asked if I wanted to go see Cowboys & Aliens, my reaction was somewhat skeptical.  I had seen the trailer.  I wasn’t too sure about spending money to see it.

Well, just back from watching the film.  To be honest it turned out better than I anticipated.

Is it a great film which will go down in cinema history?  Will it be listed in the top films of all times?  Answer to both questions is no.

However, it was a lot of fun.  Great cast.  Special effects were well done.  The bad aliens were the type that you wanted to see dead.  Yes, there is a very good alien from another planet who helps save earth. I don’t want to ruin the surprise if you plan to go see it.  It was perfect casting for the good alien, especially when the true identity is revealed at the Apache camp to all present.

Daniel Craig plays the man with no name to perfection as he wakes up in the Arizona territory desert with a side wound and no memory.  He has on a strange bracelet. In the town of Absolution he discovers who he is—Jake Longeran, a wanted man.

Harrison Ford’s character, Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde, is a Civil War veteran who operates a large cattle ranch which keeps Absolution alive. I would say that Harrison Ford had a great of fun with the role.  Most of the humor came from his mouth and facial expressions.  His character evolved the most over the course of the film.  The old man became the hero once again against a foe which seemed unbeatable.

Olivia Wilde of the Fox’s HOUSE television series plays the mysterious Ella Swenson.  She seems to know a lot about what is happening.

Rounding out the cast, you have Keith Carradine, Adam Beach, Sam Rockwell, Noah Ringer who as the young Emmett has to grow up fast, Buck Taylor of Gunsmoke fame, Clancy Brown as Preacher Meacham who was tough as nails with a great amount of compassion and wise counsel, and many other talented actors. Don’t want to forget the dog: the Australian Shepherd is a great dog in this film.  Intelligent and brave as well as tireless as it keeps up with the horses.

Jon Favreau’s direction is right on. The Harry Gregson-Williams’ music was great! Matthew Libatique’s cinematography of New Mexico was breath-taking.

The fight scene in Absolution between the humans and aliens was well done except I felt the night scenes were too dark.  When the humans take the fight to the alien spaceship, it was tremendous since it was in daylight.

Black Knife’s Apaches joined forces with Dolarhyde as he leads the attack on the aliens.  Hand-to-hand combat takes on a new meaning in this film.  Without the brave Apaches the whites did not have much of a chance against the fierce aliens who viewed humans as annoying “insects”. It would have been the last stand.

Is it worth your time and money?  If you like Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, westerns, science-fiction, damsels in distress, gold, desperados, great music, desert scenery, some plot twists and character development, then by all means go see it.  It is two hours of fun.

I would give it 4 stars.  Opening weekend domestic gross (estimated) is $36 million based on 3,750 theatres.  Production budget was $163 million.

G. D. Williams       © 2011

Cowboys & Aliens Official Site

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