Lowcountry Movie Night: By Justin Peterson
Cowboys & Aliens
The unusual combination of western and science fiction makes for one of the most entertaining movies so far this summer.
As cheeky as Cowboys & Aliens may sound, it manages to stay rooted in being a decent western movie. With most all big budget westerns nowadays being remakes, Cowboys & Aliens delivers a fresh splash of originality to the genre. Despite the movie's 45% rating on the website Rotten Tomatoes, I saw a noon show on opening day and the theater I was in had a fairly large audience.
Much like many westerns, the pacing seemed slow at first, but the movie remained compelling throughout and finished off with a climax.
Set in 1875 New Mexico, the movie begins with a number questions about the main character, which has the film's star Daniel Craig constantly saying "I don't know." But by the end, the filmmakers actually manage to answer all of the audience's questions -- leaving no plot hole gapping too wide. There is one huge unexpected twist in the middle of the movie, but due to the nature of a plot dealing with cowboys fighting space invaders, it was not too off-putting.
The movie clocked in at just under two hours, which felt just right. It is not often Hollywood delivers a summer action blockbuster that feels contained, and does not annoy the audience with any loose ends.
Cowboys & Aliens succeeds due to the amazing amount of Hollywood heavy weights that helped produce the film including Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Jon Favreau, who also directed.
Much like Star Wars, the movie was able to maintain a rustic look while catering to the space aged action which dominates the majority of the action scenes. And despite the extreme contrast between the film's two genres -- these space invaders do not feel forced, and at one point one brings their own personality into the mix.
Cowboys & Aliens is also filled with a number of interesting side characters that you actually come to care about. Also starring in the movie is Harrison Ford, and this is by far his best role in recent years. Although I am praising Cowboys & Aliens for being original, it does borrow some great moments from some other sci-fi films including Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Independence Day.
The movie is rated PG-13, but it never felt like it tried to push those bounders by being too violent. So I would say that it is a great action movie for most of the family, and makes for a extremely entertaining night at the movies!
Lowcountry Movie Night gives Cowboys & Aliens 4 out of 5 stars.