OK! Time for a movie review of Cowboys and Aliens!
Well, it may as well be said up front. This movie is very much one that will either be liked or hated, based on the person. It all depends on what you are expecting out of the movie, really.
Me? I liked it. It is a simple enough premise that borrows form established genres and pays affectionate homages to both. The movie begins with Daniel Craig waking up bloodied in the desert, with his memory gone, a mysterious bracelet firmly attached to his wrist, and a picture of a mysterious woman on the ground next to him.
As Craig wander into a dusty Western town, it is not long before he gets into trouble, drawing the attention of Olivia Wilde as an ethereal woman who knows about his past, and eventually irking Harrison Ford, in the role of a gruff cattle baron with a dark past. As Western drama erupts, aliens suddenly swoop in and begin capturing townspeople; causing Craig, Ford, and Wilde to join forces, form a posse, and begin hunting the aliens to their base in the desert.
The rest of the movie focuses on the chase, with our heroes tracking the aliens through the dusty West and running into bandits and hardship and Native Americans and savage aliens. The movie culminates in a thrilling showdown that is fairly epic and memorable. One thing is for sure. This movie is unique.
This movie is actually strongest when it is focusing on the Western themes. The set pieces and setup fall into familiar genre favorites, but it is still exciting and has great production values. That being said, the sci-fi/ western crossover does not always hold up awesomely well, but it is something new and fun enough that it can be overlooked.
Daniel Craig is great as a gruff grizzled dangerous guy, and Harrison Ford is… well… Harrison Ford. Which was fine with me. Olivia Wilde was fairly good as the mysterious woman who is not as she seems, in that ethereal glising… Olivia Wilde… kinda way.
The movie has been critically blasted, and has sharply divided audience opinion. I’ll say this though: I went into Cowboys and Aliens fully expecting it to suck. And I was pleasantly surprised by what it had to offer. Yeah, its kind of dumb and silly. But at the same time, it is a self aware work, and is therefore something that is presented unashamedly.
Final comments: This is one of the more interesting attempts at genre fusion, and was not presented at all in 3-D. That alone should give you a reason to go see it. For the first time since Avatar, an action movie that was shot and presented in 2-D without any kind of gimmickry. Thank. Goodness.
All in all, your pespective of this movie will all boil down to whether or not your appreciate the silliness of the premise and the straight way that they decided to implement the tone of the film.