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84 of 89 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

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yeeehaaargh
For 40 minutes or so, this is a good little western. Daniel Craig does a surprisingly good job in the role of mysterious cowboy Jake Lonergan, and Harrison Ford is having a ball as the belligerent Colonel Dolarhyde, who rules the small town of Absolution through a combination of money and fear.

And then the aliens arrive.

To be fair, it doesn't...
Published on 28 Feb. 2012 by CJ


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84 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ride 'em cowboy!, 25 Aug. 2011
By 
Mr. R. W. Graham (Lincoln, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yeeehaaargh, 28 Feb. 2012
By 
CJ (UK) - See all my reviews
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For 40 minutes or so, this is a good little western. Daniel Craig does a surprisingly good job in the role of mysterious cowboy Jake Lonergan, and Harrison Ford is having a ball as the belligerent Colonel Dolarhyde, who rules the small town of Absolution through a combination of money and fear.

And then the aliens arrive.

To be fair, it doesn't completely de-rail the movie, but from that point onwards events get a little more predictable and lead up to a finale that is heavy on visual effects and light on drama. There are also a few too many good actors in the film who are left with not much to do, which seems such a waste.

Cowboys & Aliens is very well made, and the effects and CG work are top notch. It looks stunning in high definition and the leads take the whole thing just seriously enough for it to mostly work. This movie is not for the squeamish either, it pushes its 12 certificate pretty hard and is quite graphic in places. You see scalps in the first few minutes, for example.

So overall it's an OK watch. But after the opening I couldn't help wondering how well Jon Favreau would do with a full-blooded western rather than this odd hybrid. He's a good director, but this film doesn't work quite as well as its awesome title.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Demons took your gold, 24 Feb. 2014
By 
EA Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cowboys & Aliens [DVD] (DVD)
"Cowboys and Aliens" is one of those movies you simply have to check out just because of the title. Even more so when you find out it stars Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford.

Well, it isn't quite the awesomefest that the title would lead you to believe, but it is an entertaining Western-with-a-sci-fi-twist with some unexpected twists and a cast of magnificently talented actors. The aliens' reason for being on Earth is kind of flimsy, but if you can ignore that, then enjoy some energy-blasting action, creepy aliens and strong performances from ALMOST everybody.

A man (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the desert with no memory of who he is or how he got there. The only clues are a mysterious wound in his side, and a metal bracelet on his arm. After kicking bandit butt, he rides into the nearby town of Absolution and quickly gets arrested, since it turns out he's a wanted outlaw named Jake Lonergan, who's stolen gold and is suspected of murdering a prostitute.

But his imprisonment is interrupted twice -- first by the dictatorial ex-soldier, Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford), and then by alien ships swooping in and kidnapping several people. Jake also discovers that his metal bracelet can fire blasts of energy that destroy one of the alien ships.

So the remaining townsfolk (plus a dog) all set out to pursue the alien ships, and get their loved ones back. But a mysterious woman (Olivia Wilde) eventually reveals that she has special knowledge of these aliens -- and the key to defeating them may lie in Lonergan's blocked memories. Can a bunch of cowboys and Indians take down a spaceship of roaring green aliens?

I was expecting "Cowboys and Aliens" to be a tongue-in-cheek romp like the original graphic novel (which has nothing in common with the movie except... well, cowboys and aliens) or a fast-paced sci-fi flick. Well, it's actually neither -- director Jon Favreau instead makes it a Western that happens to be about cowboys vs. extraterrestrial monsters.

This is paced and filmed as a Western movie, with lots of dusty rides through the desert that Favreau uses to flesh the characters out. But he keeps things from getting dull by plopping in a bunch of alien attacks -- a particularly nice one is a dank, rainy battle in an upside-down riverboat -- before the story suddenly switches gears in the last reel, turning into a solidly explosive sci-fi finale.

The one big problem? The reason the aliens came to Earth is weak and contrived, and it doesn't explain why they keep going out of their way to kidnap humans. I guess it's... because they're evil?

But the acting is mostly pretty awesome. Daniel Craig is effectively playing an outlaw James Bond, who is almost superhumanly cool, capable and badass even with his bare hands. He's so awesome that he can beat up whiny rich brats with a single move, without even bothering to look at them. Yeah, it's not much of an acting stretch, but Craig pulls it off well.

Ford seems to be relishing getting to play a cranky, vicious old buzzard who constantly threatens and berates everyone around him, but learns a little something about the value of forgiveness. Clancy Brown is solid as a kindly preacher who serves as the film's moral center, and Sam Rockwell gives a simply magnificent, understated performance as Doc, a bartender whose wife has been kidnapped. You really feel that this guy's life is crumbling to dust, and that he's lost faith in everything.

The one true acting dud? Noah Ringer. Please, stop letting this kid act -- he's effectively a blank wall for Ford to bounce character development off of. And since Adam Beach is also in this movie to develop Ford, he's also useless.

"Cowboys and Aliens" has some flaws, but overall it's an entertaining Western that happens to have lots of murderous aliens and excellent performances. Yee-haw!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cowboys and Aliens, 19 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Cowboys & Aliens [DVD] (DVD)
What an odd combination. Even now having watched it and thoroughly enjoyed it, I can't quite get my head around it.

I've always felt that any film can be elevated by top notch actors. Think Star Wars, X-Men or Lord of the Rings. All of them have a wealth of seasoned and highly talented actors in tow. And Cowboys and Aliens is no different.

Daniel Craig is fantastic in the role of gun fighter/outlaw and Harrison Ford brilliant as a John Wayne esque ranch owner/ex civil war veteran. They both bring enough acting talent and gravitas to the film to outweigh the film's eyebrow raising premise.

The first 30 minutes or so are spent building the characters and it's flawless. It completely hooked me in. The balance of the film played out as expected, the aliens finally take a beating and that was that. I had a great time and I'm quite sure it's a film I'll be watching again.

However, if I'm wearing my critical hat I'd have to say that although a properly enjoyable B-movie in the vein of Independence Day, I reckon with this cast they could have made a really top quality western. I'm not sure they needed the aliens. Before watching the film I could not imagine Daniel Craig playing a cowboy. After watching it, I'm struggling to think of many actors past or present who can play the tough, silent, ruthless gunslinger any better. Seriously his performance was up there with Clint Eastwood or John Wayne.

I reckon there's a western revival coming and Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford should be at the head of the queue.

I'd almost say this film was a missed opportunity, but it really wasn't, I thoroughly enjoyed it. But as I said, I still can't quite get my head around it.

If you like westerns and you like good sci-fi then this is the film for you. Don't take it too seriously and it'll scratch most of your itches.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cowboys and occasional aliens, 12 Jan. 2012
By 
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been So good..., 11 Mar. 2012
By 
G. Palmer "gorpalm" (London) - See all my reviews
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...instead its just an exciting premise that somehow never translates its full potential to the screen.

The "cowboy" bits especially at the very start are quite gritty and sets you up to think this will have you riveted for the next 100mins or so. Expectations are therefore quite high by the time the "aliens" come into the picture.

But then the pacing of the movie becomes erratic, some things just don't add to the storyline, or add up - Upside down riverboat episode anyone? Or the dog that miraculously survives an alien encounter? Time is spent developing depth to characters that's frankly not needed, and its to the detriment of pacing - I don't want a dose of sentiment or character introspection when watching a movie called "Cowboys and Aliens", let's leave that to "True Grit" or "Unforgiven" or (insert your own favourite gritty and deep cowboy movie here).

Almost as overcompensation for the emotional mawkishness, you are then occasionally entertained with scenes of quite bloody violence, prolonged in the finale. Overall its not quite 'balanced', and frankly you're left feeling there should be more, by the end. But Daniel Craig's great in character, looks quite fetching in chaps, and has a waist that's trimmer than any of his leading ladies.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cowboys and alienation., 18 Nov. 2013
By 
This review is from: Cowboys & Aliens [DVD] (DVD)
A rather implausible concept by the alien fixated Spielberg factory.

Daniel Craig assuming a faux american accent, presumably as big bucks involved. Harrison Ford... well not much to say about him apart from his belligerence.

Whilst this may well have been a laudable excursion in the book it was taken from the entire 'filmic' affair is far too long to sustain any credulity.

One for the kids, as long as they can't think for themselves, in any event a waste of time... and money.
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40 of 45 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
By 
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cowboys & Aliens, 18 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Cowboys & Aliens [DVD] (DVD)
An unlikely Combination of Cowboys versus Aliens was always going to have many sceptical reviews, But thanks to The talents of the Exec producers including Steven Spielburg along with Ron Howards Contribution, plus an interesting mix of castings, its surprisingly good saturday night Viewing, "Indiana Jones" meets "Independance day" would be a reasonable comparison.

half way through, you start to ask yourself, (***spoiler Alert***)

How did the dead girl thrown on to the fire by the Indians reincarte herself, albeit naked, Which was a bit of treat. XD Then some pieces missing from Danial Craigs memmory start to make some sense, and how he aquired the bracelet, Can't help comparing that part of the film with the "The mummy returns" where Ricks son, wear's the bracelet of Anubis, until it falls of, when they get to The Scorpian Kings resting place. Harrison Ford Plays his part, as if he's Still In Indiana Jones, and that Little Wry smile of his is still there :)

How did it rate. better Than I thought it would be, hence 4 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cowboys and aliens = big nono, 7 Jun. 2013
By 
Laura Hartley (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cowboys & Aliens [DVD] (DVD)
The reviews for this movie are very mixed. Most audiences were split half-half, with 50% loving the movie, and 50% wanting their money back. Unfortunately, I was in the 50% who wanted their money back. Initially, I was very impressed with the movie but, in my opinion, the film got progressively worse. I was writing notes throughout the duration of this movie and if you only read the first page you would think that I absolutely loved it. If you only read the last page you'd think I hated it. I'm thinking this is the marmite of films because many other bloggers seem to have been very impressed by this film when I was thorough unimpressed.

To give you a basic plot outline, a cowboy wakes up in the middle of nowhere with a mysterious bracelet clamped around his wrist (seemingly impossible to remove), with absolutely no memory of how he got there. He finds his way to a nearby town that is soon attacked by aliens. The town then forms a group that promptly set out to track down an alien that they believe to have ejected from the space craft. Along the way, Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig), has several flashbacks in which he remembers certain events that help him piece his memory back together and he remembers his previous encounter with the mysterious aliens. The group is aided by a woman, Ella, who seems to know more about Jake than he does, but no one really knows who he is. As the plot progresses the group find out more about the aliens and Jake continues his quest to recover his memory (it's one of those films where you work backwards to uncover the story).

As I have already said, I believe that this movie went from bad to worse. Well perhaps it went from alright to marginally better to much worse. The opening scene is very mysterious with an unknown man waking up in the middle of nowhere and a metal bracelet stuck on his arm. At this point in time the bracelet didn't look too out of place even though it was evidently an alien device clamped onto a cowboy. Daniel Craig soon demonstrated his power and strength of character through a number of fights and he was definitely the perfect man for the job. He makes it look so effortless and his moves flow from one to the next emulating his masculinity and it is clear that Daniel Craig is the man for action films. It's just amazing how he can beat up a person, showing off every muscle in his finely toned physique without moving a single facial muscle. He has such a cool attitude, absolutely nothing phases him or hurts him in the slightest. Of course, they featured a scene involving him walking carefree whilst explosions and gunshots are being fired all around him.

I think this film started to go downhill after the alien part came in. It's a curious thing combining aliens and cowboys, it's never really been done before and it's quite unusual and unique. It would've been great if they'd pulled it off, unfortunately I don't think they did. Everything suddenly became very messy and confusing and I've had to re-watch several parts in order to figure out what was actually happening. I thought that the colours of the screen during the alien attack scene were very dark and dull and this just added to the confusion because I couldn't even see what was happening. All I really made out from this scene were mysterious screams, thumping sounds, flashes of light, fast-moving shadows and random gunshots. There were many alien 'abuductions' but I was sorely disappointed by the way in which they decided to carry these out as it basically involved a giant claw shooting out from the mother ship and plucking random humans from the ground. This just reminded me of that arcade game to win the stuffed toys that nobody ever wins. In addition the attack scenes just looked like a scene of Star Wars - space crafts, flashes of blue and red everywhere (blue, alien lasers, red, fiery torches). It was definitely a clashing not a combination of cultures and I was disappointed. There were also parts - particularly near the end - that strongly reminded me of Lord of the Rings. The alien's lair was a modern-ish building (a bit like the gherkin in London) in the middle of nowhere. The humans climbed up the stairs to get to the enemies *cough* Frodo and Sam climbed the stairs to the Spider's cave *cough*. The group lay in wait outside, close to the enemies, where there were wide expanses of white rock and alien space crafts fly above whilst the group hides in bushes *cough* The Fellowship hide as a group of spy birds (forgotten the technical term!) fly above. Finally, the lair 'disappears' as the ground falls away *cough* the fall of Mordor.

I didn't like what the aliens themselves looked like. They were very robotic creatures that didn't look even vaguely real. They left some green goo behind on the group - surprise, surprise - and they had a rocket ship - 'cuz that's not stereotypical. One other thing that I found ridiculous was cowboys trying to capture the aliens using lassos. Lassos. LASSO?! Now I'm no expert but I'm thinking a piece of rope isn't going to save you from an incredibly strong alien life force.

Although I found the plot very disappointing, one thing that consistently impressed me throughout was the quality of the acting. I was most impressed by Daniel Craig because after playing such an iconic role such as James Bond, it can be quite difficult to break the connection and make your audience believe that you are anything but James Bond, but he managed to. I didn't think for one second that he was the guy who played suave and sexy James Bond, he was the mysterious cowboy from beginning to end. Craig's accent was absolutely spot on and completely transported me to the world of Western cowboys, as did that of many of the other characters. The other actor who I noticed was Paul Dano. He doesn't have a particularly large role in Cowboys and Aliens, he plays the trouble making son of the town Sheriff, but the few times that he was on screen he really impressed me with his acting ability. The first time we meet him he is drunk and he really makes you believe that he's had far too much to drink. He's got the swagger, the slur - every move he makes is just further confirmation that he's intoxicated. The only problem was, his accent was so good that you had to listen really attentively to understand what he was saying, otherwise you would miss whole chunks of conversation. Many people will have only watched this movie because Harrison Ford is in it, but I have to say, if he hadn't been in it, I don't think that I would've noticed. He had quite a major role in the film as he was leading the town in their hunt for the aliens but he really didn't make much of an impact on me and I didn't notice him doing anything spectacular.

The soundtrack was fairly good, starting off with that typical Western music with that twang. Somehow it managed to convey the feeling of modern action with classic cowboy added in. It definitely contributed to the action as it was often very loud and dramatic. At other times there was some very eerie music with a slight alien quality, even though it is instantly recognisable as Western cowboy. I thought that perhaps more could've been done to mix the two types of music together though I appreciate how difficult it would be to mix traditional noises with very futuristic ones. In addition there is some very beautiful country scenery in this film with trees, lakes, mountains, deserts - everything you'd expect to see in a cowboy film but extra special.

I guess I would have to say I got exactly what I expected from this film. With executive producers being Steven Spielberg and Jon Favreau and actors such as Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, I expected it to be very well executed from the acting side of things; however, the idea of Cowboys and Aliens mixing together didn't appeal to me and I don't think that they managed to pull it off. It would extremely difficult to mix such contrasting genres together and it would've been very impressive if they had managed to integrate the two genres together better but unfortunately they didn't and ultimately this led to the film's downfall.
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