Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy......
From the first scene, you know this is gonna be a kick-ass cowboy film. The scenery is immediately breathtaking and rough, and so are the men. Daniel Craig is such a powerful and sexy onscreen presence, he has really perfected the strong and silent type persona, most definitely Harrison Ford-esque. With perhaps, a bit more of an un-hinged violent side.
Craig plays Jake Lonergan, who wakes up in a field, dirty and sweaty with a nasty wound and a shiny bracelet, and no memory of how he got there. He quickly shows how far he'll go for a new outfit and a horse, and heads off.
I love the classic western world that Jon Favreau creates, every shot is just a joy to look at, beautifully composed, he really takes advantage of the dusty landscape (whether it be on a soundstage or not), I read someone's quick reaction on Twitter as "he directed the hell outta it", and I fully agree.
Harrison Ford plays Colonel Dolarhyde, the cattle mogul who basically owns the town Lonergan stumbles into. Despite how gruff he is, he proves he can still bring it emotionally, and for me, provided the movie with it's most tear-jerking scenes. Olivia Wilde completes the trio of lead characters as Ella, the lone female that has her own reason for joining the alien-tracking party.
As far as the aliens, they were scary and gooey, and I exclaimed more then once, "no, not the inside hands!!!". I thought one of the best scary (and most exciting) visuals was watching people get lassoed by the alien ships as they attacked, I loved the irony of it all, the first time you see it happen, it's pretty terrifying, and it right away shows you that no one was safe.
A big chunk of the film is spent following the tracking party as they go after the aliens and attempt to get back the people they have abducted. There is a good amount of suspense through these sequences that I thought was pretty standard for an alien movie, including one scene that so closely replicated one of the most famous scenes inAlien, I was thinking we might get a Sigourney Weaver cameo (to maybe pop up next to Sam Rockwell to say "Let's get out of here before one of those things kills Guy!"-sorry, mixing my alien movies).
Sam Rockwell is one of many supporting characters in the film that really make this movie such an enjoyable ride. Paul Dano, Adam Beach and Clancy Brown bring so much fun, humor and grit to the movie. This movie wouldn't work without these characters, they make the quintessential western town a reality, they are the heart of the film, and really give you something to root for.
Overall, I really enjoyed Cowboys and Aliens, I've always thought that more then anything with his films, Jon Favreau makes sure you are thoroughly entertained, and I certainly was for the duration of this film. It didn't delve all that deeply into the character's backstories and motivations as I was hoping, there was a feeling that there wasn't enough time between the action scenes to fully define the personalities and relationships.
That being said, this movie is a helluva lot of fun, you get the feeling everyone was having the time of their life doing this, and getting to experience just a couple hours of it was exhilirating. I am more than willing to follow Jon Favreau and Daniel Craig in his chaps into the sunset any day of the week.
What say you?