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Cowboys and Aliens (2011) Movie Review

July 31, 2011

“Cowboys and Aliens” feels like your typical western at first, with a stranger walking into a new town and finding a bit of a hostile welcome.  The characters of Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) and Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde) are both cloaked in an air of mystery.  Before Lonergan can stir up too much trouble, the movie reveals alien ships.  They appear out of no where and start shooting powerful lasers and snatching people up.  People from all around are kidnapped and brought to the aliens’ stronghold.

Lonergan joins with a local cattle rancher Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) and others from the town to rescue the hostages.  Later they are joined by a band of local Indians and Lonergan’s old gang, forming a small army.  The characters don’t get very much development and the story has little drive but the search for the aliens.  However, this basic approach gives the movie a sufficient feeling of purpose.  The film moved forward well with plenty of action interspersed throughout.

Harry Gregson-Williams wrote a fitting score with great use of guitar and horns giving it a proper heroic feel at times.  The action music worked well to provide some extra push, even if it was largely similar to the composer’s past work.  It was nice to hear a score from Gregson-Williams that doesn’t rely too heavily on synthesizers to drive it forward.  The music carried with it a level of emotion that has been absent from modern scores lately.

“Cowboys and Aliens” has a number of interesting actors as well, some whom I am surprised were hardly advertised.  The film features Daniel Craig, Paul Dano, Sam Rockwell, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde.  Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde have been favorites of mine for a while, and they each played major roles.   Paul Dano’s character is mostly present in the beginning but he gives a great performance.  The special effects are fantastic and there are some lengthy fights with the aliens towards the end.  Sci-fi horror fans will find some fun to be had here as well because the aliens are extremely menacing and get a lot of screen time.

4/5

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From → Action, Sci-fi, Western

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