4.5 Stars for Cowboys & Aliens

From imdb.com:

A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys and natives are all that stand in their way.

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It’s not too often I get picky when it comes to sci-fi movies. After all, there’s a huge suspension of disbelief inherent in the genre. That said, this movie had a couple WTF moments, even for me. They were toward the end of the movie, but still struck me hard enough to leave me with a sour feeling for the end.

Until then, I thought the movie was great! Daniel Craig and his steely eyes give another excellent performance as Jake Lonergan, a man who awakes with no memory and a strange contraption on his wrist. We soon discover just how dangerous Lonergan is when he’s almost immediately set upon by some traveling opportunists, and he dispatches them with equanimity and decisiveness. Like tackling a guy out of his saddle decisiveness.

Then he takes their dog. Cause that’s the kind of guy he is.

We find Paul Dano (whom some will remember from his performances in Girl Next Door, Little Miss Sunshine, and Knight and Day) in a distinctly deplorable role as the son of Harrison Ford‘s character. Ford plays Col. Woodrow Dolarhyde (ret.), an irascible cattle rancher who all but owns the town with no other industries.

5 stars for Olivia Wilde. Cause I can.

They’re joined shortly by the always gorgeous Olivia Wilde‘s Ella Swenson, a woman whose past is as mysterious and unknown as Lonergan’s. Unfortunately, Lonergan has a price on his head, and gets arrested.

That’s when the fun starts. Flying alien ships, an auto-tracking “armgun” and aerial kidnappings lead to the creation of a posse to find the stolen townsfolk, with the sheriff’s grandson and Ms. Swenson joining along.

The action in the movie is well-paced and timed, coming at just the right moments when the story starts to get a little slow. The other main item I look for in any sci-fi movie – special effects – was done very well. Believable, and not too intrusive. All things considered, the movie has great action, good special effects, and good acting, including some surprise guests such as Sam Rockwell (who was in one of my top ten movies of all time, Moon) and the redoubtable and prolific Clancy Brown. Some of you may remember Brown from the short-lived Earth 2, The Shawshank Redemption, Starship Troopers or Lost and even ER.

The movie is based on a series of graphic novels, and the storyline and cinematography lend themselves quite well to this sort of film. It doesn’t hurt that Jon Favreau, director of Iron Man and Iron Man 2, is a huge comic book fan, and knows exactly how to film adaptions such as this one to their best effect.

It’s definitely worth seeing in the theater. Highly recommended.

2016-10-26T19:04:29+00:00

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