Friday, 29 July 2011 14:32

Cowboys & Aliens Featured

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Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Relativity Entertainment, Reliance Entertainment and Imagine Entertainment present a 118 minute, PG-13 action, sci-fi, thriller directed by Jon Favreau, written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman with a release date of July 29, 2011.


Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the middle of a mid-western desert in 1873, bare-footed, wounded and wearing a metal bracelet type object on his left wrist.  In the sand beside him lays a photograph of a woman which looks unfamiliar to him.  A matter of fact he doesn’t quite remember anything from his past.  Three horsemen and their dog ride up behind him expressing that this is not his lucky day.  Moments later, one man, Jake, one horse and one dog ride off to a nearby small town that is pretty much run by a wealthy cattleman, Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) and his idiotic trouble making son Percy (Paul Dano).  This time though Percy has gone too far and Sheriff John Taggart (Keith Carradine) has no choice but to arrest him and throw him in jail alongside Jake who happens to be wanted for many illegal acts including murder.

Woodrow Dolarhyde otherwise known as the Colonel is out investigating just how several of his cattle and men were blown up in a mysterious explosion that only one drunken man taking a dump in the local river witnessed as some type of bright light from above.  When the Colonel discovers his son was arrested he rides into town with his men where he comes face to face with Jake and the rivalry that exists between the two men.  Of course Jake is still trying to remember the past as he starts to have minor flashbacks of the woman in the photograph.  Strangely though a young woman in the town, Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde) is constantly trying to befriend Jake by asking him where he got the strange bracelet on his arm.  His reply of course is “I don’t know”!

It’s the evening and the townspeople, the Colonel, his men, Jake and Percy look up into the sky as several bright lights approach them.  Next thing they know they are under attack by some type of space crafts and several of the people are lassoed away by some type of metal ropes and taken off into the dark sky.  Jake soon discovers that the object on his arm is a weapon and after downing one of the crafts an alien is on the run. 

The next morning Jake, the Colonel, Meacham (Clancy Brown) the town preacher, Nat Colorado (Adam Beach) the Colonel’s Indian assistant, Doc (Sam Rockwell) whose wife Maria (Ana de la Reguera) was taken, Emmett Taggart (Noah Ringer) and his new best friend the dog, along with Ella and several others form a posse to track down the injured alien.  They hope to find all their loved ones that were taken away into the night skies.  Later during an encounter between the young boy Emmett and the alien within an old ferry boat that was laying upside down in the middle of the desert, unsure why, the audience gets to experience the horrific  images of the creatures head on.  I must say that the creation and originality of the alien life form was pretty awesome, although one feature reminded me of Spielberg’s E.T.  Soon thereafter the audience gets up close and personal with many of the aliens as the posse searches out there lair.  Along the way the story starts to drag a bit as the posse from the small town meet up with Jake’s old gang of thirty men, eventually all coming under attack by the aliens.  It is soon thereafter when the posse fall captive to a tribe of Indians that the story starts to get a little out of control and somewhat unnecessary.  Other than the fact that Jake, with the help of Indian spirits, finally remembers his past and within his present he gets visited by a hummingbird which has spiritual significance to the end of the story.   I really don’t think the film needed to introduce the Indians into the war between the “Cowboys & Aliens” since it made the story seem to get a bit absurd.  Other than the fact that when the ever-growing posse decide to battle the aliens it give the special effects staff more bodies to kill.

As the story continues and the humans, who by the way are considered insects to the aliens, decide to draw out the aliens for battle the audience is handed the reasons why the creatures are on earth.  Not really the reason I would have thought but hey it goes with the times and the territory.  We discover the mystery behind Ella and her obsession for Jake, a man she hardly knows but it is her that makes it to the core of the problems affecting the humans.

The film has some nice direction, most but not all of the times, along with some well-done CGI effects but it is the writing that leaves a few holes in the story, making it lack a bit of substance to what could have been a fresh idea to the alien genre.  My expectations were very high on this film especially since it starred Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford who by the way complimented each other very well throughout the entire film.  Once again like so many other action films there has to be a beauty to fight off the beasts and casting decided to choose Wilde.  She does a nice job playing alongside the talent of the lead boys, holding her own once you’re able to get past the fact that she’s gorgeous.  Do films ever add an over-weight ugly woman?  No because it may be realistic but it surely won’t sell tickets. 

It was nice to see the inclusion of a dog in the story even though it seemed to come and go sporadically in many scenes.  I guess they did not know what a leash was back then!  Of course we knew there would be horses which to this day amazes me how they are able to film such horrific scenes without any of these beautiful creatures getting harmed.  Hopefully the AHA keeps a close eye on them as they should be!  Overall, the film is extremely entertaining with some great special effects and a riveting cast of characters but it is the writing that sometimes loses its way.  I’m sure it will do well in its opening weekend especially with a name like Spielberg behind it but I’d be curious to see if the word of mouth momentum keeps it going.  Even though these types of films are my favorite along with Harrison Ford being one of my favorite actors I have to say this was written with two and half paws out of four by Jon Patch.

Read 5724 times Last modified on Friday, 29 July 2011 14:46
Jon Patch

Graduated from Penn State University in 1983 and landed my first broadcasting job at the flagship station to SUN Radio Network in St. Petersburg, FL as a producer of talk radio. In 3 months advanced to a network producer, then on air as a national eventually local weather reporter for the Tampa Bay area. Held a position in management as a trainer to new hosts and producers and later Affiliate Relations Manager, eventually in 1990 started hosting, Talkin' Pets. Left SUN radio several years later and worked with USA Radio Networks for 1 year. I worked with Business TalkRadio & Lifestyle TalkRadio Networks for19 years under the title of V.P. Affiliate Relations and Programming, later worked with Genesis Communications until starting a new network ATRN.  Currently working with GAB Radio Network and with Josh Leng at Talk Media Network.  I am still hosting the largest and longest running pet radio and internet show in the country, Talkin' Pets, for the past 29 years... My one true passion in life is to help to educate the world through interviews with celebrities like Betty White, Tippi Hedren, Bob Barker, Linda Blair and others, authors, foundations and organizations like the ASPCA, LCA, HSUS, AHA, WSPA on the ways to make this world a better place for all animals and mankind whom all share this very fragile and mysterious planet called earth. This is the only home we have so we all need to learn how to share and maintain it so that life for us all continues and evolves forever... | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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