Watching Cowboys & Aliens

Did you see the trailer?  It was accurate.  Very accurate.  On some level, I want to give this movie bonus points for having the most honest trailer I’ve seen in a long time.

I liked this movie as it was probably one of the most honest and straightforward movies I’ve seen in a long time.  There’s cowboys & there’s aliens.  Astute viewers will ask “wasn’t that Star Wars” and they’re right.  This movie has far more in common with the original Star Wars than even the 3 prequels (in fact, with Harrison Ford in it, you could imagine this movie as the official prequel to SW).  The action beats are spot on, the characters comfortable in their roles… It’s – well – perfect for those of us who just want to see a silly concept played well and enjoy a time at the movies.

I couldn’t help but think of this movie as Avatar – the way it should have been (even if we flipped the roles of humans/aliens).  Where James Cameron failed on every level of story and script, Jon Favreau succeeded.  Even hackneyed cliches are tuned just right to maximize their effects.  So far this summer, this is the best movie I’ve seen.

Five shells for giving me exactly what I wanted – no more, no less.  As for you?  Well whatever impression you got from the trailers is accurate.  If the premise is just to silly for your suspension of disbelief, don’t bother.  If you got a little giddy at seeing spaceships and horses, go savor every minute of this film.

UPDATE: The redlettermedia guys gave this movie a pretty good review.  Need more proof?

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15 thoughts on “Watching Cowboys & Aliens

  1. Oh good! I was really, really hoping this would just be some straightforward cowboys-meet-aliens film, rather than try to make something “dramatic” or whatever. Because sometimes, you just need a movie about cowboys meeting aliens. I’m excited to see it now.

    • A review I mostly agree with although I’m not sure I agree with his point about the story. Sometimes putting in too much can overwhelm a structure not designed to support it (my main complaint about the AvP films). No, I prefer this film keeping things basic.

      And you know – I think this movie may be the perfect test. I’ll know no woman is worth marrying unless she “gets” this film. 😉

  2. I walked into this movie with no expectations, and yet I still left disappointed. So much for that theory.

    I’m sorry, but this concept is just too silly to be treated as seriously as it was. It started out great, with Daniel Craig waking up in the middle of nowhere, no idea who he is, and does badass stuff without knowing it. It’s Jason Bourne, but a western. We also have a great potential antagonist with Harrison Ford, and great extras like Clancy Brown, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, and…the kid from Last Airbender? Well, he was the only decent part of that movie, so okay.

    And then…aliens. Grabbing people with hooks. And killing cows, for some reason.

    I’m sorry, but this whole thing is just stupid. It was stupid in the trailer, and it’s stupid here. And that’s fine. But the movie tries to treat it like it’s not stupid. And that’s not fine. I was just bored through the whole 2nd half, because aside from the initial realization of “ALIENS!! AHHHH!!”, nothing interesting happens. Oh, they do try to make some metaphor about the invasion and the native americans, but its really weak and its not like we havent had enough of that already.

    Look, I’ll grant that the movie is just entertaining enough to be worth seeing at matinee price if you need something to waste the afternoon on, but…5/5? Dude, get help. And best movie of the summer? I’d sit through Cars 2 3 times before I’d sit through this again. Just to look for the Brave reference if nothing else.

    • Bah! When did you lose all joy in your life?
      Sonic 2006
      Oh. Probably then.

      And to quote someone else:

      I have to say I don’t agree. I enjoyed the movie greatly, and thought it was pitch-perfect for what it wanted to do. The great temptation, in a film like this, would be to camp it up. So they played it perfectly straight, which (it seems to me) is the only way this sort of thing could be effective. Any irony or more than minimal humor would have come off like a wink at the audience, a breaking of the proscenium, and then your suspension of disbelief would be gone.

      Star Wars? Airplane? A lot of movies would not work half as well if they weren’t “straight” and serious in their approaches. Had this movie camped it up, we would have had another Batman & Robin on our hands.

      And I said it’s the best movie I’ve seen so far. Captain America is still on my “to view” list and it might yet be better.

  3. I don’t want it camp. Star Wars and Airplane and not good comparisons. Star Wars is overall a serious movie and tries for genuinely dramatic moments. But it has much more humor than this movie. Airplane is, in fact, a comedy. So I’m not sure what you’re getting at there.

    Something along the lines of Tremors or Independence Day is the tone this movie should have had.

  4. Just saw the trailer. Doesn’t the place where he wakes up strike you as amazingly similar to the shootout between Malcolm Reynolds and Patience in Firefly?

  5. And you know – I think this movie may be the perfect test. I’ll know no woman is worth marrying unless she “gets” this film.

    Heh funny enough I liked this movie better than my husband did but I also like the Star Wars prequels so yeah…maybe you need a better test :p

    I did liked the movie it was pretty much a western where the bad guys had been replaced by Aliens. Totally well mixed.
    My husband was annoyed by the “hot chick” till it was revealed she was an alien then it made sense and she was not longer creepy and there for no reason.

    He likes to joke that some movies have a designated hot chick they just have looking pretty standing around and having nonsensical lines… “Hey Frank we could have hot chick knocking down the lead to justify her present in this setting?”. Good movie overall.

    • Well I should say I could tolerate a woman enjoying the prequels more than hating this movie. 😉

      And yes, I was pleased the way the film played with cliches & tropes to its advantage. (like way too-beautiful hot chick for setting)

      • Hehe tolerate…sounds marriage alright :p

        I grew up watching westerns so I totally loved this, I haven’t watched Rango yet but I’m going to rent it with the hubby and the inlaws my father in love, love westerns. Hopefully is good for all of us 🙂

  6. This sums up my thoughts exactly. Im linking this to all my girlfriends who i dragged along with me who didn’t get why i found this movie awesome.

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