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78 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ride 'em cowboy!
After a somewhat slow start, Cowboys And Aliens turns into a fun scifi western. It's a surprisingly dark and gritty film, playing like a straight western at first. Imagine you're watching an old John Wayne movie. You're enjoying it, and suddenly alien spaceships come out of nowhere blasting everything in sight and kidnapping the locals. That in a nutshell is the plot,...
Published on 25 Aug 2011 by Mr. R. W. Graham

2.0 out of 5 stars How to waste a good idea, a killer title and eight good thespians, courtesy of Jon Favreau, Damon Lindelof & others...
I found this film barely watchable, I hardly liked anything in it and I forgot most of it hours after watching it. Below, more of my impressions with some LIMITED SPOILERS.

In 1873, Arizona Territory, an unnamed loner (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the desert injured, with no memory and with a strange metal object on his wrist. I will say no more about the story,...
Published 7 months ago by Maciej

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78 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ride 'em cowboy!, 25 Aug 2011
Mr. R. W. Graham (Lincoln, U.K.) - See all my reviews
After a somewhat slow start, Cowboys And Aliens turns into a fun scifi western. It's a surprisingly dark and gritty film, playing like a straight western at first. Imagine you're watching an old John Wayne movie. You're enjoying it, and suddenly alien spaceships come out of nowhere blasting everything in sight and kidnapping the locals. That in a nutshell is the plot, sounds ridiculous, looks ridiculous but if not taken seriously, despite the surprisingly dark and gritty tone then it's also a lot of fun. Some good performances, Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde are all very good and there's a solid supporting cast too. All the western cliches are there, Daniel Craig is the stranger with no name, Harrison Ford the rich bad man that runs the town and then the spaceships arrive. Very good fx and good action scenes make this a fun movie.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A weird combination of genres but the end result is a plausible sci-fi movie, 7 Dec 2011
Emc2 (Tropical Ecotopia) - See all my reviews
I was quite skeptical about this movie. What were they thinking about mixing two completely unlike genres, cowboys, Apaches and aliens together? Well, my mistake. The end result is both a good western and a very credible sci-fi movie. So, out of an apparent weird mix came out an original movie under a plausible story line (Sorry, no spoiler, I will not go into the details of the plot).

I really liked the performance of Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde. All three main actors have in common to be associated with their roles in previous serial movies or TV series, where they played the lead or a key role. In this movie they managed to deliver a performance quite different from the character we are used to, particularly Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde. I think this is her first key role other than "House" in which you can appreciate the quality of her acting. I hope she gets more opportunities like this to show us her talent.

As for the special effects, they are quite realistic, and it is notable that the insect-like aliens are not hidden with low lighting like in so many alien movies. The amazing thing is that the SFX are not based completely on computer animations (GCI). The film was shot using good old puppets and animatronics for the close-ups, combined with CGI for the battle scenes. Even some of the alien ships were scale models. My only quibble is that one of the alien features resembles a lot the character Kuato in Total Recall [DVD] (no spoiler again). My respects to director Jon Favreau, a great combination of old and new technology.
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61 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Sci-Fi Western!, 31 July 2011
Kathy W (Baltimore, MD, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cowboys & Aliens [DVD] (DVD)
I know it sounds a little bizarre, but this is a Sci-Fi movie where the Aliens attack Cowboys. Set amidst the desert, magnificent rock formations and canyons of New Mexico, this 2011 release was a hoot! There is plenty of CGI and action, with Daniel Craig (James Bond 007, etc.) and Harrison Ford (Star Wars, etc.). This is a good one to see on the big screen with full sound.

The 2 hour and 13 minute movie opens with Jake Lonegan/Daniel Craig coming to in the desert. He does not know who he is or what happened to him. He is wearing a wide metal armband that he cannot remove, has no boots, and he has a significant wound in his side. Three men and a dog ride up to him and the men are not very hospitable. But, not to worry--Jake kicks their collective backsides and rides off with a horse, boots, a change of clothes, and the dog. In a nearby small town, he finds help with his wound, meets some folks, and renews some acquaintances. We realize quickly that Jake can take care of himself, too.

Also in town, Jake finds out his name, and that he is wanted for murder, mayhem, and a bunch of other stuff. We find out the town is practically owned by Harrison Ford, the cattleman whose money puts meat on everyone's table. We also meet Ford's arrogant son, Percy. Daddy's power and money have obviously gone to Percy's head. And, we also meet the Aliens, as they begin a seek and destroy mission that grabs a good number of the town's people and takes them away. Ford and Lonegan and other town folk head out on horseback to see if they can find out what is going on. Oh yeah, there is a pesky woman following Lonegan, too.

I actually saw this movie Friday night. I loved it so much that when my little boy (age 38) wanted to see it today, back I went! It was enjoyable and high-action.

Note to parents--there is plenty of violence. Scenes of Aliens grabbing folks and taking them away, Aliens ripping into people with their long ugly fingers, opening folks up, biting through them, and taking out their organs may be sufficient to scare your young children. So, unless you want them sleeping in your bed until they are 35, you might want to re-think taking them to the movie. If you plan to see this in the theater, you may want to reconsider bringing an infant, too. This movie has a lot of loud noise with the shooting and fighting scenes--a little excessive for a baby. (Yes, there was one in the theater tonight, and it kept crying.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cowboys and occasional aliens, 12 Jan 2012
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cowboys & Aliens [DVD] (DVD)
Like Men in Black, a little known comic provides a high concept that makes for a great movie idea. Jon Favreau moves on from directing Iron Men to the helm of this. Also like Men in Black it just takes the concept and goes off in it's own direction, so it's not an adaptation. Just in case there may be anyone familiar with the source material.

Daniel Craig plays the man with no name. Not that one. Just a man who wakes up in the middle of the wilderness with no memory at all. And a strange metal device on his wrist that he can't get to come off.

Moments later he proves his fighting skills taking down a trio of bounty hunters - in one of the first of a few moments that will have you thinking this is a bit bloody and violent for a 12 certificate - and picks up a cute border collie as a companion.

Then he drifts into a dirtwater town in the middle of nowhere. Patched up by a gun toting preacher medicine man [excellent supporting acting from Clancy Brown] he's swiftly in the middle of a conflict between the former military man turned rancher Colonel Dolarhyde [Harrison Ford] the latter's never do well son, and the townsfolk such as Sam Rockwell's bar owner, who suffer as a result of the latter. Not that the sheriff who wouldn't have a job if it wasn't for the colonel has been able to do much about it. But now he might have to. Since the man with no name is on a wanted poster.

But there's also a mysterious woman who needs the man with no names' help.

So far so western, save for one set piece that shows a few cattle problems. And as a western, it's very good.

The aliens pop up for the first time in a well executed set piece involving a night attack on the town. It does become a little confusing when characters are running all over in the dark with explosions going off all around, but that's what you get in such circumstances.

The mysterious piece of metal on the man's arm shows there's more to it than meets the eye at this point.

Unlikely alliances have to be formed when townsfolk are scooped up into alien craft, and a posse heads out on a mission to find their lost loved ones.

It's just the start of a remarkable journey.

This could have been done as steampunk a la wild wild west but Jon Favreau instead adopts a more traditional approach making it a straight western with occasional science fiction trappings. Which was probably the right way to go. As a western it's a very capable piece of work.

A somewhat linear narrative follows and thus there are long spells without action. But character interaction in these points is pretty good and does allow them all to develop quite nicely.

There are thus more human than alien encounters along the way for a while, until a good set piece that does allow for an unexpected development. Eventually we get to a big action finale.

The aliens of the piece are all cgi and whilst there's a certain something interesting about their look - and one facet to their design that I found decidedly creepy - you don't get to know too much about them and thus they don't quite come to life. Like the creature in super eight some of their motivation does remain a little unclear as well.

It's also one of those finales that does tend to go on for a while cranking as much out of it as it can, but there's a few more good bits of character development in there which do grab the attention.

So a western it's very good. As a character drama it's pretty good. As a bit of science fiction it's not bad. It's not entirely suitable as mentioned for the very young, but it's worth 4/5.

The disc begins with several trailers but you can skip them using the next or the menu button on the dvd remote control.

It has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English.

Subtitles: English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish.

The only extras are:

A commentary from the director.

And two short features, running five and six minutes respectively each: Finding the story [about the genesis of the project] and the scope of the spectacle [about some of the set pieces and stunt work and how they were done] both are short but pretty good and worth a look.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cowboys & Aliens [2011] [Blu-ray], 6 Aug 2014
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Cowboys & Aliens [2011] [Blu-ray] EXTENDED DIRECTOR’S CUT! BRILLIANT!

From the Director of ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Chef’ comes and action-packed, sci-fi adventure starring Daniel Craig [‘Quantum of Solace’ and ‘The Golden Compass’], Harrison Ford [‘Morning Glory’ and ‘Indian Jones and the Crystal Skull’] and Olivia Wilde [‘Tron Legacy’] as the only posse who can save the world from an alien invasion. With cutting edge special effects and one-of-a-kind story. ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ is a showdown you won’t want to miss.

FILM FACT: Cowboys & Aliens received five nominations. At the 39th Annie Awards, the film was nominated in Animated Effects in a Live Action Production for both Gary Wu and Lee Uren. The film received nominations from the Art Directors Guild for Fantasy Film, honouring production designer Scott Chambliss, and for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture at the 18th Screen Actors Guild Awards. Harrison Ford received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Cast: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Clancy Brown, Keith Carradine, Noah Ringer, Adam Beach, Abigail Spencer, Ana de la Reguera, Walton Goggins, Julio Cedillo, David O'Hara, Raoul Trujillo, Hoyle Osborne and Rex Rideout

Director: Jon Favreau

Producers: Alex Kurtzman, Brian Grazer, Roberto Orci, Ron Howard and Scott Mitchell Rosenberg

Screenplay: Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Hawk Ostby, Mark Fergus and Roberto Orci

Composer: Harry Gregson-Williams

Cinematography: Matthew Libatique

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 [Anamorphic]

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English Audio Description, German: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital, French: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Italian: 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Suomi and Swedish

Running Time: 135 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment

Andrew’s Blu-ray review – The intermingling of genres like science-fiction and the western is really nothing new in movies, but the CGI-laden 'Cowboys & Aliens' aims to feel like something audiences haven't seen before. While not exactly as intelligently topical as Michael Crichton's 'Westworld' or amusingly subtle as Joss Whedon's 'Serenity,' Jon Favreau's action flick brings a good deal of engaging entertainment and exciting spectacle to the proceedings. It might not please every viewer out there, but it satisfies the wide-eyed fantasies of long-time devoted followers of both genres (or at least, of this particular viewer).

The films genre-mashup is quite overt and in your face, which could be seen as a bit of a drawback because it definitely shows a lack of finesse. It commences with a western theme and setting, suddenly switching to an alien invasion storyline that runs through the usual obstacle course. The change is surprisingly not as jarring as one would reasonably expect, although it takes some time to find its proper footing afterwards. The glue holding the marriage together is Jon Favreau's direction infused with several stylish nods to the archetypes and thematic of both styles, ranging again from explicit to sly.

Daniel Craig stars as our Man with No Name hero in the literal sense, waking up in the middle of a scorching desert without any recollection of who he is or why he carries a mysterious iron bracelet on his wrist. After a quickly determined fight with three bounty hunters, a clue into his past is revealed which nicely sets off that whole morally-ambiguous protagonist feel we love in a good 'ole shoot 'em up horse opera. Wearing Indiana Jones' fedora, the mystery man rides into a town conveniently named Absolution. This, too, pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the film — a little of the wittily clever mixed with the obvious.

It's not a complete loss, however, since it turns out 007 also makes a great anti-hero gunslinger. This is probably the best performance of a tough as nails and ill-tempered loner since Clint Eastwood's own iconic outlaw graced the screen, but to be perfectly honest, I wish it were seen in something far better than this, not that Jon Favreau's film isn't any fun though it is somewhat weighed down at the beginning of the second act. When the aliens finally attack the town, allowing Craig to discover his charm bracelet is actually a futuristic handgun, the thrill of sci-fi elements mixes well with the western ideal, but afterwards, things quickly slow down.

The outsider is set on his quest to free those kidnapped, as well as to obviously absolve past sins, in typical frontier justice style. His ragtag posse consists of local folk, each playing to the strengths of their cliché. Harrison Ford is the most formidable as wealthy cattle rancher Colonel Dolarhyde. Beautiful Olivia Wilde is the knows-more-than-she-lets-on Ella. Sam Rockwell plays his part in his typical quiet fashion as a saloon owner with a medical background, while Paul Dano does the opposite as Colonel Dolarhyde's troubling-making son. Best surprise is Adam Beach as Colonel Dolarhyde's Native American hired hand, bringing a welcome emotional subplot to an otherwise straightforward tale.

Sadly, that aspect to the script can only be seen fully on the extended cut of the movie, which adds 16 minutes of dialogue and scenes that explore it a bit more, also making it the superior version. What was seen theatrically surprisingly eliminates more sequences with the Native Americans doing a war dance and Beach's Nat feeling disconnected from his people, like he doesn't belong in either world. It's a necessary component that makes a later heartfelt scene more powerful. In either case, 'Cowboys & Aliens' is an enjoyable, action-packed thrill ride, serving the perfect popcorn-entertainment blend of two very beloved genres, but the extended cut of the film is definitely the preferred version.

Blu-ray Video Quality – 'Cowboys & Aliens' debuts on Blu-ray with an excellent, near-reference 1080p encoded image, filling the entire screen with tons of beautiful panoramic shots of New Mexico.

Framed in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, Matthew Libatique's cinematography simply looks stunning, displaying incredible vistas of the desert plains and natural rock formations. The freshly-minted transfer shows remarkable clarity and definition, exposing the small, fine lines in the various wood buildings, the stitching on costumes and every pebble scattered about the ground. Facial complexions are beautifully detailed with lifelike textures, revealing the tiniest blemish, wrinkle and smudge of dirt on the faces of actors.

Part of this rich, distinct clarity comes from a pitch-perfect contrast balance, extending visibility into the far distance. The picture carries an attractive cinematic appeal that's vibrant, crisp and glossy all around without feeling artificial or ruining highlights. The color palette is equally flashy with terrific, bold saturation, providing the image with lots of energy and pop. Being a western, of course, saturation hues pull their weight with a good deal of warmth and giving facial complexions a healthy tone that's accurate to the region. Blacks, on the other hand, are where we run into a bit of trouble, appearing inky and intense for a good chunk of the movie, but once indoors with natural, dim lighting, they look rather drab and murky. Since shadow delineation doesn't falter greatly during these sequences, it's possible it could all be the result of the photography and not a fault in the transfer. Taken as a whole, Jon Favreau's sci-fi western is spectacular on Blu-ray.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – The genre-bending actioner audio track also serves as the perfect partner in crime, furnishing the excellent video with an equally exceptional 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack.

Being a cross with the science-fiction genre, the original design features a great deal of activity in the rears, especially during scenes with the alien spacecraft’s. What appear like scout drones whiz by overheard convincingly and pan between the speakers with persuasive ease, extending the sound field with exciting effect. Imaging is widespread as other small atmospherics fill the back area, most notably when the posse spends the night inside an upside down steamboat. Even in the many segments of supposed silence, the track brings a satisfyingly immersive experience.

Things remain first-rate in the front soundstage, feeling quite expansive with lots of detailed clarity. Off-screen effects and channel separation provide spacious warmth that's highly engaging thanks to a brilliant, room-penetrating mid-range. The upper frequencies are sharp and crisp, maintaining the loud noise amid the many moments of action clear and discernible. The low-end, also, comes with a heaping helping of powerful, very responsive bass, giving each gunshot and explosion a compelling force and weight. Dialogue and a few whispered conversations are delivered with great intelligibility and nicely focused in the centre of the screen, never drowned out by the rest of the action. Ignoring a very small numbers of inactive scenes, this sound mix of 'Cowboys & Aliens' sounds absolutely amazing and is exceedingly satisfying.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Audio Commentary with Director John Favreau: Very laid-back and relaxed, director Jon Favreau talks viewers through various aspects of the movie, primarily on cast, crew and characterization. It's a welcoming and easy-going conversation which clearly shows his love of filmmaking, the final outcome of this project and movies in general. It's also great hearing his thought process as auteur, the decisions he made while on set and what he was striving for in many scenes. Of real interest is finding the commentary track available on both versions of the movie and John Favreau acknowledges that by stating the one for the theatrical cut is edited. He also admits he prefers and believes the extended version is better, which I agree. It's good and pleasant track fans can get into.

Conversation with John Favreau [80:00] A great collection of interview-like conversations of the director. Each can only be watched separately and shows Favreau chatting with his cast and crew on a variety of topics. It features Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof. What was interesting about this extra, as that Jon Favreau was originally going to film in 3D, but after test shooting, decided that the perspective would of be very off putting and would not enhance the final outlook of the film

Igniting the Sky: The Making of ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ [HD] [18:00] The making-of doc is a much better look at the production and pretty comprehensive in its approach. Broken into five separate sections that can be watched sequentially, each touches on various aspects such as the casting & characters (‘Absolution’) and a closer discussion on John Favreau (‘A Call to Action’). The other three (‘Finding the Story,’ ‘Outer-Space Icon’ and ‘The Scope of the Spectacle’) are already covered above and available on the DVD release.

D-Box Motion Code Enabled

Finally, Jon Favreau's 'Cowboys & Aliens' is an entertaining blend of two much loved film genres: the western and sci-fi. With strong performances of western archetypes, the mash-up of frontier-justice gunslingers and alien invasion disaster is far from perfect, but the story sticks to what it promises and delivers without completely going overboard. Daniel Craig stands out as our morally ambiguous anti-hero and it would be great to see him again in the same genre with stronger material. The Blu-ray invades homes with an excellent near-reference audio and video presentation, and features a wealth of exclusive supplements, making it a recommended package for fans and the curious alike. What I really love about this film, is its very different look on the Cowboy type genre film and is so different from anything I have seen before and is a very adventurous in its outlook and that is why every time I view this film, I get to see different things that I missed before, because there is so much action going on and it definitely keeps up the pace and the ending is a very satisfying experience and I am so happy to add this to my Blu-ray Collection and is also a brilliant reference Blu-ray disc for your Home Cinema set up, as with the surround sound, you will think you are in the thick of the action. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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2.0 out of 5 stars How to waste a good idea, a killer title and eight good thespians, courtesy of Jon Favreau, Damon Lindelof & others..., 10 Jan 2014
Maciej "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cowboys & Aliens [DVD] (DVD)
I found this film barely watchable, I hardly liked anything in it and I forgot most of it hours after watching it. Below, more of my impressions with some LIMITED SPOILERS.

In 1873, Arizona Territory, an unnamed loner (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the desert injured, with no memory and with a strange metal object on his wrist. I will say no more about the story, obviously to avoid spoilers but ALSO because there is really not so much to be said... Later he will have some adventures, during which he will meet a preacher (Clancy Brown), a mysterious woman called Ella (Olivia Wilde), a saloon owner (Sam Rockwell), an aged, powerful local cattle baron (Harrison Ford) and later also a rough and tough and yet slightly clueless bandit named Hunt (Walton Goggins), who may or may not be somebody from his past... Some Indians at one moment will be involved. And yes, as the title clearly indicates and as the trailer suggests, there will be also some aliens. Adam Beach and Keith Carradine appear also in cameos.

Now, with a minimum effort from the scenario writers (led by none else than the infamous Damon Lindelof), director (Jon Favreau) and producer (Steven Spielberg, no less!) this could have been a honest action film or at least a good comedy of western/SF persuasion. But well, Spielberg probably never even had one single look at the scenario, Damon Lindelof (the guy who wrote this "Prometheus" abomination) did his usual thing and the director just went with the boring and ridiculous scenario without giving a darn about the final result. Which is awful!

This is a very boring film, with poor action scenes, bad dialogs, virtually no humour, ridiculous story line and a pathetic great finale. The only reason why I give it two stars, is because of presence of some good actors, amongst which one (Harrison Ford) I like a lot and another one (Olivia Wilde) is a hot chick. Other than that there is nothing there. Avoid.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cowboys and Chemistry, 1 Aug 2011
Mr. A. J. Richards "yourbiteall" (Weston Super Mare) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cowboys & Aliens [DVD] (DVD)
I hate sounding like a broken record this summer, but thats what i have become of late. A string of blockbusters that are hard to genuinely engage with culminates in Cowboys and Aliens. But despite it's flaws and on a positive note, it is better than some of its competitors of late.
The premise is quite simple and yet not to my memory have these genres ever met in a grand blockbuster film. Does Wild Wild West count? Ford and Craig as cowboys fighting aliens in the vast deserts and mountain ranges with a motley crew behind them including the stereotyped Indians. Whats not to like.
It is a movie that makes you go 'Grrrrrrr' because with a decent script in place and another 1 or 2 set pieces involving the aliens it would have been bound for greatness but the biggest most significant factor that stops Cowboys and Aliens from being a true great is simply the chemistry, or the apparent lack of chemistry between Ford and Craig. 'Bond' and 'Indy' really should have been given some meaty, tense dialogue but it fails to materialise and as a result cuts the tension levels like a knife through butter. The other players in this sci-fi mash up are all par for the course and dont do anything to raise our interests.
However this is not a disaster, Favreau seems to get a good handle on an action scene like he did in the Ironman series and the aliens themselves are a fairly original, grotesque creation. Thier reasons for being there however are not.
The film never really gets boring but it doesnt soar either and without the tension needed to invest in the movie it only just scrapes the inevitable 3 stars.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars expertly executed, 16 May 2012
bizmandan (staffordshire, england) - See all my reviews
At first glance, the concept of combining a traditional Western with an alien invasion film may seem far too silly to ever work, yet director Jon Favreau makes Cowboys & Aliens feel as natural as a whiskey-fuelled bar brawl. Although the sci-fi element is evident from its opening scene, this satisfying hybrid stays true to Western conventions with a faithfulness that might surprise audiences, thanks to the fact that the filmmakers find the perfect balance to seamlessly fuse the archetypes of both science fiction and the Old West.

For a film like Cowboys & Aliens to work, each pillar of its concept must be strong enough to support the weight of the outlandish concept. Anyone familiar with the Iron Man films already knows that Jon Favreau has a natural knack for sci-fi, so we know that pillar is in the bag, but thanks to a tense, expertly shot three-on-one fight that opens the film, we can confidently surmise that his talents extend to the Western genre as well.

With the mysterious drifter, the town preacher, the trigger happy bully, the brutish rancher, and the barroom beauty all making appearances early in the film, some might accuse Favreau of lazily submitting to Western stereotypes. The more the plot begins to play out, however, the clearer it becomes that these aren't stereotypes but archetypes, and the writers are smartly using their characters moral haziness to keep the audience off balance as the mystery of the main plot builds. This approach is especially effective in the case of Ford's character, a feared local figure whose complex true nature gradually comes into focus along with the true intentions of the malevolent aliens.

The aliens are genuinely disturbing thanks to an unsettling creature design and tense scenes involving them that play on our darkest fears of alien abduction. The fact that the aliens are not only hideous to behold but ferocious and lightning fast as well and that makes the struggle against them all the more intense.

But while the direction and screenwriting combine to make Cowboys & Aliens wildly entertaining, it's the talented cast that might help to draw in more sceptical viewers, I know that this was the case for me, and thankfully the cast are all on top form. Craig is appropriately emotionless as the amnesiac stranger who drifts into the small town; Ford is captivatingly complex as the wealthy rancher who isn't the sadist he initially appears to be; and Rockwell lends the poker-faced proceedings a subtle dose of comic relief as the bespectacled barkeep who just wants a little respect in his rough-and-tumble town.

So, to movie lovers who appreciate a good genre mash-up and a good time, saddle up, because in a world of entertainment where everything seems like it's an old idea recycled, Cowboys & Aliens is just the kind of wild ride that gives you faith in Hollywood once again.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well constructed, well acted entertaining fare, 30 Aug 2011
Isis (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Cowboys & Aliens [DVD] (DVD)
With such a blatant, incongruous title, you'd expect this film to be silly, badly made schlock, but the surprising thing is that it's not. Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde and the other actors to a man play the entire thing straight and serious, and you find yourself believing them and buying into the genre mash-up premise which initially you'd be forgiven for thinking sounded cheesy and ridiculous. Not only that but the cast, and in particular Craig and Ford, put in solid, strong performances that give their characters the stamp of depth and three-dimensionality. And there isn't too much time in which to achieve this - the focus is, after all, the action-filled clashes between the eponymous factions of the film's title, but I got the sense that the film wouldn't let itself be rushed and that time was specifically set aside during the first half an hour to establish this authentic Wild West setting and populate it with realistic, believable inhabitants, and then give them their moments to grow and develop later on even as the action with the aliens began to take centre stage. I appreciated that.

The CGI and special effects are done well and are fairly seamless, but the most impressive thing is how they are used. They're used sparingly, and their presence always serves the story rather than the other way around; the film isn't awash with them, which I found unexpected given the comic book basis of the film - again, given the film's seemingly silly title you'd be forgiven for assuming that the film is like every other comic book based movie, with CGI coming at you a mile a minute, but it isn't. Oh, you'll get your money's worth if CGI is what you want - it's done well, it's impressive, and there's plenty of it at the film's exciting climax - but as I said, it serves the story, and wherever it was possible to film a scene without CGI the filmmakers have used the real thing. It just takes the film up just a little bit, lends it an extra stamp of realism and believability.

The plot isn't exactly sophisticated stuff, and that's not a criticism, simply a fact. The goal of the characters is simple: rescue their loved ones and stop the alien threat (and for Jake, find out what happened to him and why). It's a clear cut motivation, and the film executes it extremely well. Every scene has a purpose in advancing this plot, every scene is well acted, shot well, dressed well, and all the elements come together. I wasn't really interested in the subject matter of the story too much at first, but because it was so well put together and well executed, it was an entertaining, satisfying, enjoyable film. All in all I would definitely recommend Cowboys and Aliens.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'GREAT FUN' - 'GENUINLY ENTERTAINING', 29 May 2014
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER) may think i enjoyed this ''out of reality western' ....' i did '
A stranger wanders into the small town of 'Absolution' with no memory of who he is, the town is not a welcome place for strangers, also 'rancher' ''colonel Dolarhyde' calls the shots.
The town is about to expierience an out-of-this-world expeirience, and folk are about to be ''wafted-away''
The stranger has been identified as a wanted-man, his name is 'Jake Lonergan' (Daniel Craig)' the band he wears on his arm is under his mental control, though he knows not how he came to wear it---yet that is.........
'Jake' joins the colonol and a mystery woman along with ranch-hands and some of the town folk to track down the 'Aliens' and their missing people which includes the colonol's son ''Percy''
Somehow the strange concept works a treat......if ya' enjoy westerns and sci-fi action....the films a must..........................enjoy.
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