Sunday, August 21, 2011


Rated: PG-13

Stars: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Paul Dano

Director: Jon Favreau

Genre: Western/Action-Adventure/Sci-fi

A bunch of dusty, stinky, tobacco juice spittin' cowboys taking on some invading extraterrestrials who are almost as SCARY looking as LADY GA GA! The premise is, of course, farcical. Or is it? There are ancient drawings on cave walls that look for all the world like aliens from the sky, so there's no reason why they wouldn't have been around in the old west of the nineteenth century to come around and hijack the cowpoke's gold and abduct their citizens. (Why they want either isn't exactly clear, except it is stated that gold is as rare to the aliens as it is to us. Maybe they perceived that someday, in 2011, the price of gold would soar because of a tanking economy, and they could come back and sell it to some of those pawn shops you see advertising on TV.)

Don't try to follow the logic, because Cowboys & Aliens is about bigger philosophical ideas.

Briefly: The outlaw Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the middle of the desert, not remembering who he is or why he is there, but he's got this high-tech bracelet attached to his wrist, which he eventually figures out he can use to blast anybody who gets in his face too much. He rides into the dusty town of Absolution, where he has a run in with young Percy Dolarhyde, (Paul Dano) the smart-ass son of Colonel Dolarhyde, (Harrison Ford) the big cattle baron who runs the town. Percy and Lonergan both end up in the hoosegow, though, because the sheriff still wants to do his job. Percy's dad gets wind of it, and he and his boys ride into town, intent upon springing his son. Just when we're getting into how this showdown is going to play out, alien spacecraft come screaming out of the sky and start bombing the crap out of everything.

WHOA PARDNER! Now there's somethin' ya don't see everyday around these here parts! So Cowboys & Aliens, which up to this point had all the makings of a good spaghetti western, (thanks, in large part, to the dynamic music score from Harry Gregson Williams, paying homage to the great Ennio Morricone) goes through a major upheaval-- like when tectonic plates collide--and it becomes a story that, while certainly not original, is timeless and awe-inspiring. It's the story of constantly bickering, warring and feuding mankind banding together for the common good to do battle with an outside adversary. I don't care how many holes in the plot this movie may have...I still find its message to be as inspiring as all "git out." And I challenge anyone with a heart to sit there and not go WOO HOO (at least to themselves) when this ragtag band of cowboys, outlaws, and Native Americans comes thundering through the canyon on their horses, with that music pounding in your ears, hell-bent-for-leather to engage the creepy aliens who, seemingly, would be a superior force, but never underestimate the dog with his back to the wall. Speaking of dogs, there's a lovable one in Cowboys & Aliens--a kind of mascot as it were for OUR team, who will steal your heart.

I couldn't imagine anyone better than Daniel Craig as the tough as nails hero/anti-hero in this one. And Harrison Ford is as authentic as they come as the crusty old bastard Dolarhyde who first wants to roast Lonergan's behind, then becomes his ally.

Yes..I LIKE THIS MOVIE! So to all the other reviewers who picked and nitpicked this film know where you can kiss it.


Grade: A -