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August 1, 2011

Movie Mondays: Cowboys and Aliens

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Written by: AHudson
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Title: Cowboys & Aliens
Director: Jon Favreau
Writers: Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby (created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg)
Distributed By: Universal Pictures (US) and Paramount Pictures (International)
Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, and Clancy Brown
Release Date: July 29th, 2011

Jake Lonegran (Daniel Craig) finds himself stranded in the middle of New Mexico. He doesn’t remember who he was, what he did, or where he has been. All Lonegran knows is that he has a mysterious weapon attached to his arm. When arriving in town, he meets Ellen Swenson (Olivia Wilde), a mysterious woman who might know where Lonegran came from. However, he soon gets arrested by Sheriff John Taggart (Keith Carradine) on accounts of theft and murder. But as Sheriff Taggart and tough Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) escort him, aliens from the sky suddenly attack them and take the townspeople. Now it’s up to Lonegran and Col. Dolarhyde to put aside their differences and team up with the remaining townspeople, such as Col. Dolarhyde’s right hand man Nat Colorado (Adam Beach) and bartender Doc (Sam Rockwell), if they’re ever going to defeat this new kind of “demon” and rescue their fellow neighbors.

Taken from http://assets.gearlive.com/comics/blogimages/cowboys-and-aliens-.jpg

The summer streak of comic book films is at an end. And what better way to wind it down than with Cowboys & Aliens? It’s a high octane adventure with, you guessed it, cowboys and aliens. The right film for the last month of summer.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, the plot is fairly simple. The plot basically boils down to watching cowboys (and Apache and bandits) go up against some aliens. And though it’s simple, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s stupid. There’s just enough twists and turns to keep you occupied. And the simplicity of it all means that there’s a wider canvas to paint in some action and character moments. And if you’re wondering about that mystery of how he got there, don’t worry. You’ll figure the main gist of it within the first thirty minutes and the finer details within the first hour.

Taken from http://cdn3.digitaltrends.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/cowboys-and-aliens-super-bowl-trailer.jpg

As far as the acting goes, you couldn’t have asked for a better cast. This is definitely one of the best acting ensembles for a comic book movie ever. Everyone fits the roles perfectly, with not a bad pick. Kudos not only to Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, but also to everyone else, such as the extremely underrated Adam Beach. And a round of applause also goes to the costume and wardrobe for making actors such as Sam Rockwell harder to recognize and more in character.

Unfortunately, there’s not too much for the actors to work with here. And that’s the major problem I have with Cowboys & Aliens; it didn’t have nearly as much heart and story as I expected. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad story, it just didn’t have too much depth. Although it was a two hour film, it pretty much just dealt with the cowboys hunting down the aliens, Lonegran trying to find out about his past, and everyone making alliances and preparing for the big fight. Therefore, it felt like a shorter film and I felt like I just needed a teency bit more soul and substance to go along with it.

With that being said, though, Cowboys & Aliens is an entertaining film. It has what it takes to be a fun summer blockbuster. There’s a decent script, good humor, fun action, nicely done special effects, a great cast, and a high concept that just can’t fail.

Taken From http://4.bp.blogspot.com/–uw1l0B6I7Y/TiBqXFPQhII/AAAAAAAABjw/cHBZwM36fOc/s1600/125147.jpg

Well, that just about does it for the summer blockbusters here at ComicAttack.net. And I have to say that it wasn’t a shabby year at all for summer comic book movies. Sure, we didn’t get a The Dark Knight or Iron Man. But we also didn’t get any downright awful films either.

What we got was a year of solid films. With the exception of Green Lantern and Priest, every comic book film has done pretty solid at the box-office, and even most of them critically speaking, such as Thor and Captain America. And that’s more than most genres and adaptations can say for themselves.

Is this the peak of comic book films? The golden year? Nope. But the year has said one major thing – that comic book adaptations are here to stay, like it or not. They’re great films for the big screen. Movies that have a little bit of everything and are guaranteed to make you leave the theater entertained. That’s what it’s come down to, and that’s why I believe they’ve done so well.

Now, will the streak end? Maybe. But not for a long time, that’s for sure. I predict (insert foot in mouth) that comic books will stay successful until around 2014, when Thor and Captain America have finished their third films (or close to it), and the other major hitters such as Iron Man have finished their trilogies. However, if The Amazing Spider-Man is very successful, we could see studios doing remakes of franchises such as Fantastic Four or Daredevil. That could lengthen the lifespan to maybe 2018 or even 2020. And if Hollywood does a manga/anime adaptation right (Cowboy Bebop anyone?), we’ve just opened a whole new can of sour candy worms. In a nutshell, expect and enjoy a very long season of comic book adaptations. And hopefully that will mean more respect and business for the actual medium itself.

The award for Best Summer Comic Book Film of 2011 is a tough call. I’d have to say it’s between Captain America: The First Avenger and X-Men: First Class, with the former possibly winning by about an inch. And the winner of the Worst Summer Comic Book Film of 2011 would have to go to Transformers: Dark of the Moon (with Green Lantern being a close runner up). But while they weren’t great films, they certainly weren’t Howard the Ducks, either.

So props to Marvel Studios and other Marvel films for having such a great run this year. And to DC/Warner Bros…better luck next time.

Stay tuned next week as Aaron Nicewonger starts Conan month (and no, not the comedian). It’s going to be one hell of a month for Movie Mondays, and I can’t wait to check it out.

Andrew Hudson