When I saw the first preview for this movie I wasn’t too impressed. Yes, I would probably see it, but I wasn’t too excited about it. Then, more previews came out, and something peaked my interest. No, it wasn’t the big name stars, although I like them as actors. Maybe it was curiosity for the aliens, the action scenes, or a combination of the two, but would it be enough for me to like the movie?
Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the middle of the desert not knowing who he is. He makes it back to town only to find out that he is a wanted fugitive, and gets arrested. The sheriff locks him up in a wagon with Percy (Paul Dano), a young man with a rich father, to be turned over to the Feds. Just as the transport is about to leave, Woodrow (Harrison Ford), the rich father, arrives to get his son before he is taken away. When he sees Jake, it turns out that he has a score to settle with him. Before that score can be settled, the town has some unexpected visitors… aliens!
The first half of the movie is really about Jake, as he starts piecing together who he is, and where he is from. The most mysterious thing about him is this unusual metal device attached to his hand. He doesn’t know what it is, and can’t get it off. Almost by accident, he discovers that it is a weapon that comes in handy in fighting the aliens. It is a cool piece of alien technology, and locks onto its target pretty well. It kind of makes me wonder how the aliens didn’t make better use of it, especially when shooting at Jake.
The aliens take several prisoners when they attack the town. One of them is Percy, which results in Woodrow rounding up a posse to follow a wounded alien into the desert. Jake gets a head start riding off on his own, but is followed by Ella (Olivia Wilde). There is some mystery to her character as well. She seems to know a lot about Jake, and is convinced he knows something that will help them defeat the aliens; that is, besides the fact he is holding the most powerful weapon the cowboys have in the old wild west.
Once everyone heads out into the desert, it is time to see the cowboys and aliens have a good old western gunfight. I have to say, I’m quite pleased with what the audience gets to see from the aliens. It is somewhat different from what is done in Super 8, and what I was really looking for in Super 8. If you read my Super 8 review, then you know one of my major complaints with the movie is that they didn’t show enough of the creature. I wanted to see more of what it could do, but they did more explaining about the creature instead.
Cowboys and Aliens is almost the complete opposite. There is some discussion about the aliens, but the audience gets to see plenty of them in action. At first, they are hidden in small aircrafts, but soon enough the audience gets a really good look at one of them. They look like some kind of mutant frog/lizard thing with a particularly unusual pair of arms. They didn’t just rip off the audience by showing the arms once, and then pretend that no one saw them. The creepy arms are shown again, but maybe one more time than necessary.
While there are some good actions scenes throughout the movie, the ending scene steals the show, as it should. The cowboys and Indians (you knew there couldn’t be cowboys without some Indians) launch an attack on the aliens. This sparks a counter attack by the aliens, in which the audience gets a great look at them in battle. They come down fast to attack the cowboys and Indians. It is kind of surprising how aggressive the aliens get in the movie, even though they don’t show the full extent of what the aliens were doing.
The scene goes on for a while with plenty of causalities on both sides. My only minor complaint here is that it seems like there were more cowboys and Indians killed than there were at the beginning of the fight. The battle kept resetting itself with the aliens having the advantage some of the time, and then the cowboys and Indians having the advantage. It really didn’t matter how many aliens came out of the ship because the audience never knows just how many aliens there are. No big deal, it just means more fighting, which is fine.
The combination of aliens, and action turns out to be sufficient for me in this movie. Though, there are some inconsistencies in certain places and the dialogue isn’t fantastic, it wasn’t enough to make me dislike the movie. The aliens are interesting looking creatures, and I was happy that they get plenty of scene time. Whether it is the cowboys fighting amongst themselves, with the Indians, or against the aliens, the action is great. I give this movie 3 pools of blood.