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July 30, 2011
Review - " Cowboys and Aliens "  -  (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Cowboys & Aliens
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Starring: Bond - James
Bond, Han Solo, Olivia
Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Buck
Taylor, Paul Dano

I went into the movie with
mixed expectations and
came out wanting to see it
again. Cowboys and Aliens
sounds like a pretty zany
concept; something that
would be more suited for a
Saturday morning cartoon,
a kid’s flick, or a campy
comedy. And yet, despite all
the doubts surrounding the
idea of adapting the comic
book of the same name into
a feature film, it works.

It’s a tricky idea to pull off
effectively on the big
screen. What is the best
way to pull off a cross-genre
movie that is both a period piece and science-fiction film? We’ve all seen it not work in the past with sci-fi style technology in
movies like Wild Wild West and Jonah Hex.

With Cowboys and Aliens you not only have sci-fi technology, but you also have extra-terrestrials to deal with. It could have
gone two ways: silly and campy or serious and straightforward. I’m glad the filmmakers chose the latter because it makes the
film much more enjoyable, believable, and entertaining.

Cowboys and Aliens is a
unique movie in that there
really has never been another
film like it. Sure there have
been plenty of Westerns and
plenty alien invasion movies,
but it is surprising that the two
ideas have never been
explored together on screen
before 2011. The resulting film
is something special.

Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford,
and Olivia Wilde bring their
A-games to the table, keeping
their performances real without
merging into melodrama. And
while there are plenty of
archetypal Western characters
on display, the three leads
deviate from what would be
considered the normal people
who would lead a movie set in
the Old West.

By keeping the tone serious throughout, along with plenty of graphic violence, Cowboys and Aliens takes viewers on a far
darker journey than they might expect. This only helps to make the reality of aliens in the Old West appear far less kooky and
much more palatable.

Cowboys and Aliens also works due to the powers that be behind the scenes. With Iron Man director Jon Favreau at the
helm, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and Brian Grazer executive producing and three writers from Lost delivering a solid
screenplay, it's easy to see how this movie went from potential bomb to first-class entertainment.

My only issue with the movie was with Paul Dano’s performance. His acting style in the movie got rather irritating as was his
constant mugging for the camera. If there was one character I would have like to have seen re-cast, it was his. Everyone else
did a fine job with solid and engaging performances.

I would like to thank Jon
Favreau for NOT making the
film in 3D! This was very
refreshing and made the film
even better since it did not rely
of silly 3D gimmickry to make
the movie seem more
interesting than it is. I guess he
felt that the concept of aliens in
the Old West was enough of a
gimmick to entice audiences.
And after seeing it I have to
say that it is.

Cowboys and Aliens is a fun,
spirited, and exciting sci-fi
Western that delivers plenty of
action, adventure, and thrills.
I’m so glad that they took the
subject matter in the direction
they did instead of making it
silly and cartoonish.