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Cowboys & Aliens

Cowboys & Aliens: Western & Sci-Fi Collide

  • Abigail SpencerDaniel Craig...
  • Action & AdventureScience Fiction...
  • Jon Favreau
reviewed by
Yasmin Shehab
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Cowboys & Aliens: Western & Sci-Fi Collide

The title is a huge spoiler, which shows just how much of a plot this
film has. Set in 1873, aliens want to take over Earth for its supply of gold.
They swoop around in fancy alien planes blowing stuff up and abducting
people to figure out the weaknesses of the human race. However, when they zoom
in on Arizona and abduct half of the townsfolk, including a rich rancher’s
(Ford) kid, they’ve finally messed with the wrong guy.

He gathers the town’s cowboys
and they set off to destroy the aliens and bring back the kidnapped people.
Joining them on their mission is Jake (Craig), a gang leader who wakes up in
the middle of the desert with absolutely no idea of who he is or how he got
there. Further mystifying his situation is the presence of a huge iron wrist
cuff clamped around his arm that can shoot out destructive laser beams and it’s the only effective weapon against the
aliens. They are also joined by Ella (Wilde), a beautiful woman who seems
mightily interested in helping Jake regain his memory. 

Jake is a shoot first, think later cowboy who doesn’t take orders from
anyone and honestly, Daniel Craig could play this character in his sleep. He’s
the definition of badass! That being said, the romance subplot between Jake and
Ella seems really forced. One minute he can’t stand her hounding, and the next
he’s going wobbly at the knees.

Harrison Ford plays Woodrow, a wealthy and morally ambiguous rancher
whose only son, the apple of his eye, has been abducted by aliens and he will
do whatever it takes to get him back. He’s
a boorish no-nonsense man’s man who occasionally shows an emotional depth that
he buries under typical cowboy bravado.

Paul Dano as Harrison Ford’s bratty, snotty, spoiled little coward of a
son is a delight. He marches around arrogantly, stomping all over people while
threatening them with his father’s retaliation. And while he talks big, he’d be
nothing without his daddy’s power backing him up. A classic case of nepotism
ruining a person, he is basically the most entertaining thing about the entire film
despite only being on-screen for ten minutes.

Cowboys & Aliens combines
the western and sci-fi genres, but this is definitely a cowboy’s film with
aliens in it. The role of the extraterrestrials doesn’t really break any new
ground in terms of originality, and the rough and ready weaponry and tactics of
the cowboys are much more entertaining than that of the advanced aliens.  

There’s no way this film wasn’t going to be cool. It’s a comic book adaptation that is executively produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by the man behind Iron Man, starring James
Bond and Indiana Jones/Han Solo. And while the pacing never lets the film get
boring, once it’s over you can’t help but dwell on how shallow the
plot is. What should have been an insanely epic mash-up of two awesome genres, ends
up being a pretty pile of mildly entertaining meh. 

Like This? Try

District 9, Indiana Jones, Ghost Rider

360 Tip

Daniel Craig’s part first went to Robert Downey Jr. who had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts.Craig was originally considered for his likeness to Steve McQueen, who starred in the epic cowboy film The Magnificent Seven (1960)

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