In a mash up of old-fashioned western and very modern alien, Cowboys & Aliens opens in theaters today. Sporting an all star cast and crew, C&A is the story of a western town sustained by cattle baron, Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). Dolarhyde’s son Percy, (Paul Dano, Little Miss Sunshine) is the town’s troublemaker who gets away with almost anything because of daddy. However, shooting a sheriff’s deputy is apparently one thing that Percy will have to pay for. Sheriff Taggart (Keith Carradine) has Percy in his jail awaiting feds to take him away.
Jake Lonergan, (Daniel Craig, James Bond), is a mysterious man who wakes up in the desert alone. He has no idea who he is and has a huge metal bracelet on his arm that he can’t remove. Jake ends up in town, in trouble and in the jail cell next to Percy. The two have had a bit of tiff and both are headed off to face the feds.
Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde, Tron: Legacy) is set on getting Jake to help her with a huge task. It takes most of the film to find out what task she has for him. It also takes time to figure out who she really is.
At this point in the film, Percy’s dad arrives in town with his crew to pull Percy out of the federal paddy wagon. Arriving in town at the same time are several alien crafts who start lassoing people and flying off with them.
A posse is put together to go after the alien ships and retrieve the people kidnapped. The posse consists of Lonergran, Dolarhyde, Nat Colorado (Adam Beach, Windtalkers), a young Indian man who Dolarhyde took in years before as a child. Also along is Doc played by the great Sam Rockwell (Moon) and young Mickey (Wyatt Russell) a kid with his dog. This group meets up with several Indians who are also missing members of their tribe.
With everyone on the same page, the group seeks out the aliens and the people they took away.
The idea for this film is original, which means it isn’t a remake, re-imagining or sequel/prequel to some other film. C&A has some great moments, interesting visuals but also several flaws. Harrison Ford is totally miscast as the cattle baron in search of his son. It’s hard to not think of Indiana Jones as he rides through the desert with the other group of miscast actors. Daniel Craig is just so-so as Jake Lonergan. He isn’t a great James Bond and he certainly doesn’t fit into the old west. The character that Olivia Wilde plays is unnecessary. This is a film that would have benefited more from an all male cast.
Cowboys & Aliens, as mentioned above, is an interesting and fairly original film. However, with the powerhouse of talent tied to this film, it should have been much better. Beside the acting power in front of the camera, the behind the camera talent is even more powerful. Check out this list below:
• Jon Favreau-director. Also directed the Iron Man movies.
• Several of the screenwriters also worked on the Iron Man movies, Star Trek, etc.
• Brian Glazer is a producer on this film, he of course works closely with Ron Howard. His credits include such films as Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind.
• Ron Howard
• Steven Spielberg is an executive producer.
C&A has some fun moments, then some drag, then some more fun moments.
To Jon Favreau’s credit, he refused to add 3D to his film.
This film does bring up an interesting thought. We have among us today thousands of people who believe they have been abducted by entities not of this world….aliens. This film depicts just such events. The abductions in the film are comical instead of the abductions reported by abductees. There is someone very close to me who is an abductee. I will be presenting his life story in my Paranormal column. He has been on Ghost Adventures and is one of the most interesting (and possibly dark) people I’ve ever known.
If you haven’t seen Harry Potter, that is your best bet for this weekend. If you’ve already seen the last HP film, try C&A if you like western/Sci Fi.
For movie schedules in Las Vegas check NCM.com.