California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

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“Cowboys and Aliens” Goes for the Gold, Wins the Bronze

Director Jon Favreau gives leading man Craig some pointers.

“Cowboys and Aliens”, a modern western film, combines the action of a summer blockbuster with equal parts confusion and melodrama.

The film follows a small group of cowboys in their quest to defeat a powerful alien race coming to Earth to further their mysterious ends.

As the aliens snatch up the loved ones of the cowboys by way of a futuristic lasso, the group heads off in search of the alien’ home base.

The film fits a recent Hollywood trend towards making film adaptations from works of print media. In the transition from the page to the silver screen, certain aspects of plot and character development are bound to be lost.

Nevertheless, the film’s canned plot delivers the summertime goods; a bunch of rough riding cowboys killing scary looking creatures from outer space while a mysterious yet attractive woman provides valuable information.

The film’s headlining stars-Daniel Craig (“Casino Royale”), Harrison Ford (the Star Wars Trilogy and the Indiana Jones films) and Olivia Wilde (Tron)-all were up to par in their roles.

Though Ford has been panned by critics in recent year–who say that Ford is on his last legs in the acting world–he returned to full form in the action roles that suit him in “Cowboys.”

Granted, Ford’s character required him to be a grumpy, battle-scarred cattle tycoon for most of the film, but this worked to make his character’s transition into a more empathetic being by the end of the film more noticeable.

Craig plays a cowboy with amnesia who awoke to the sight of a piece of futuristic alien technology strapped to his wrist.  Craig plays the tough guy role well and portrays a character both vulnerable and in-charge at the same time.

The confusion of Craig’s character for the better part of the film played into leaving the audience wondering what could come next.  While a little confusion never hurt the movie going experience, the film’s hazy flashback sequences and disjoined storyline make for an unfulfilling movie experience.

Wilde is the real unsung hero of the cast.  She tried to salvage what she could in her portrayal of the least developed and explained character in the film.

Aside from the erratic story line and weak character development, director Jon Favreau, who also directed “Iron Man,” does a great job focusing on the action scenes.  The plot may have some holes in it, but the high energy action sequences made the movie worthwhile as a summer film.

The special effects for the film were eye-popping.  There was rarely a dull moment in the film courtesy of special effects but this over reliance would come at the cost of presenting a coherent storyline.

One scene in particular, where the characters have to hunker down in an upside-down boat in the middle of the desert on a stormy night, seemed like the perfect opportunity for some story clarification to no avail.

All of the costumes, weapons and scenery added to the list of positive things about the movie.  Everything looked countrified and rustic-even the alien weapons-so those moviegoers who are fans of westerns will not be in unfamiliar viewing territory.

While “Cowboys” is no Oscar contender, it does establishes itself a summer film that can give similarly high octane offerings this season–such as Transformers 3–a run for their money.

Action lovers will be satisfied with “Cowboys and Aliens,” but it will probably not be on the list of top ten favorites.  For those who like a well-rounded piece of drama or even romantic comedy, “Cowboys” would be a poor viewing choice.

Taken as a whole, “Cowboys and Aliens” is your quintessential summer action blockbuster.  The film pretty much spells everything out for viewers, so they can sit back, relax and enjoy the fireworks unfolding on screen.

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California State University East Bay
“Cowboys and Aliens” Goes for the Gold, Wins the Bronze