Movie Review: “Cowboys and Aliens” is spacey escapeism.

First, I have to issue a disclaimer. I was one of the lucky 2,000 who won tickets to the premier of Cowboys and Aliens at Comic-Con in San Diego, Ca. where director Jon Favreau brought out his latest film along with the big guns to this small city.


Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, executive producers Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard, Olivia Wilde, and many others were in my hometown walking on my regular stomping grounds. FYI, my husband's office is only a block away from the Civic Center where the premier took place. I parked there, and casually walked over to the area which had been transformed into an authentic street scene out of Hollywood and Highland.

So be warned, my take on this film might be biased. Now, for the movie review.

If you're yearning  for one last blockbuster to end the summer with a bang (yup, pun), then you're in for a treat with Cowboys and Aliens. It will satisfy every expectation if you're the movie-going type who likes big-time special effects, Bond-style virile but suave men, and some good old fashion escapism.

Favreau's latest venture into the cosmic imagination of possible extraterrestrial life takes us on one of the wildest rides in the wilderness since the last time you rode on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain. Gunslingers, bows and arrows and lasers shoot across the screen from beginning to end in a time-warped combo of Battle LA and Han Solo meets True Grit.

The film starts off a long time ago, in a desert far away, when a handsome, rugged, cowboy named Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) wakes up with a hole on his side and a hefty metal cuff around his arm. He looks dazed and confused for a while … for a long time, actually. In fact, he doesn't know his name until half way into the film.  

Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford,  who plays Woodrow Dolarhyde, a gruff cattle owner,  make a great pair of growling, bitter, western tough guys who join forces in their mission to recover the dusty town's people who have been mysteriously disappearing — we see some unsuspecting folks getting picked up by flying saucers swopping down main street and nabbing them in violent attacks for no apparent reason.  But, hey, it's a summer action movie. Who needs a reason?

Ella (Olivia Wilde) walks among the real people stearing the good guys towards the bad guys,  but it's only later in the film we find out she has other-wordly ties without so much as an explanation about how she got there.

Watching the film,  I got the impression there was supposed to be a connection between those who didn't' appreciate their loved ones until they'd lost them to the creatures; Ford's son is taken by the aliens after they fight; the bar owner argues with his wife and she gets lifted, too. But, this is the extent of this pattern.

There are several other loose ends I didn't manage to tie up by the end of the movie: Where does Olivia Wilde's character come from and why were the aliens collecting gold? Hopefully, one of you can clarify this for me after you watch the movie.

Other than these unresolved issues, the bang-bang-shoot 'em up film delivers a few clever lines, laughs and tears.

Did I like this movie? Well, it's no Iron Man, but the special effects are very entertaining.  The aliens in this film are menacing and fast-moving — a little reminiscent of that other alien film with Sigourney Weaver.  And seeing Ford and Craig duke it out several times is hilarious.

The almost all-male cast with the exception of two women, Olivia Wilde (Ella Swensen – Twilight anyone?) and Ana de la Reguera as Maria the bar-owner's wife, make this 1 hour and 59 minute film one for the boys with bop 'em, sock 'em, punch and kick 'em every two minutes.

I wasn't really drawn into this film, though there were mitigating circumstances.  Just glancing over and seeing  iconic stars and directors all in one place, and sitting among the audience, would have distracted any commoner from allowing the imagination to engage completely in this long-awaited fantasy film.

Thankfully, the special screen, speakers and equipment brought into the opera house so we could all watch a movie where we usually see The Barber of Seville, didn't require those cumbersome 3D glasses. I would have been even more distracted doing triple takes up and down the aisles trying to catch Jon Favreau,  Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford's own facial reactions to their latest silver-screen journey, which is indeed spacey.  

Finally, I may have been a victim of the pre-movie hype here, but I went into Cowboys and Aliens with an open mind and came out of it dazed and confused myself …  and utterly star struck!


  1. Anonymous says:

    Well the movie is not worthy to go I am really regretful that Daniel Craig has done this movie, I would movie review of this Cowboys and Aliens is awesome.

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