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RE: slightly over-long, but okay

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RE: slightly over-long, but okay - 24/8/2011 4:46:45 PM   
Dr Lenera


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In the Old West, a man wakes up in the middle of the desert, with no memory of who he is or how he got there, and with a strange metal bracelet around one of his arms.  After dispatching of some miscreants who try to kill him, he wanders into the town of Absolution, where he involves himself in another fight and a woman recognises him.  He is knocked out and imprisoned, where it is revealed he is Jake Lonergan, an outlaw wanted for murder.  Suddenly some alien ships appear to attack the town and carry off some of the locals into the ships by ropes that stick to them.  Lonergan's bracelet activates and he is able to kill some of them, but it is too late, the aliens disappear.  He decides to join a rescue party led by grumpy Civil War vet Woodrow Dolarhyde……..

   Cowboys And Aliens has been a bit of a disappointment at the American box office either, though that may be due to the fact that Westerns rarely do well when released during the summer 'blockbuster' season.  The kids obviously don't like 'em, you see, 'cos they're old fashioned…..or something.  This is a shame, because this movie, while certainly very flawed, is a really enjoyable two hours of escapism.  It basically delivers what the title promises: cowboys….and aliens, or to be more precise, cowboys fighting aliens, and nothing more.   Perhaps the idea of cowboys fighting aliens is better as a concept than an actual movie, and it is definitely the script for this film that lets it down a bit, but overall the premise is handled about as well as one could expect.  They could have gone down the 'silly' route, with lots of mocking of western cliches for a start, in fact I expected the filmmakers to do this, but no, they deal with the premise as seriously as possible.  Which can't be that seriously, considering the premise itself, but you get the idea.

The first third or so of Cowboys And Aliens is very good indeed, a cracking Western with plenty of action and a mystery at its core, the only out of place thing being the metal thing round Lomergan's arm.  There's a real feel for the West here, with everything looking and feeling authentic, and Daniel Craig being perfect as an archetypal Western hero who is mysterious, quiet, tough and quicker on the draw than anyone else.  You almost don't want the aliens to turn up, but soon they do, in a really exciting and intense scene with a real feeling of panic, and fantastic and rather dark imagery of people being swooped up by ropes [a variation on lassooing, I suppose].   Then the film turns into a rescue mission as everyone sets off to rescue their loved ones, and I feel the film dipped a little here.  I think the story could have gone down more interesting routes.  Still, never mind, the action keeps on coming and eventually explodes into an all-out melee between…………cowboys and aliens., or should I say cowboys, indians and aliens.  Both 'Indiana Jones' Harrison Ford and 'James Bond' Daniel Craig are given tons of heroics to do, my favourite being a 007-like bit where Craig's Lonergan jumps on an alien spacecraft off a cliff.  All this is with a surprising amount of brutality, with bullets, arrow, teeth and other things bloodily piercing bodies, at least one solid 'jump' moment and at least two scenes which have real fear in them, one involving a young boy hiding from an alien, and one involving aliens doing nasty things to a victim who is still alive.  Of course there's nothing graphic, but there is a real hard edge to this movie which surprised me [but then the '12A' certificate seems to be so wide- ranging these days].

Now this project has been in development hell for ages and has had various treatments and screen plays, but you can't tell me that the script by the five people that was finally used was better than all the others?  Yes it starts fine and allows for action every ten or fifteen minutes but becomes really quite stupid in the second half, with one particularly dumb revelation about Alice the main female character [oddly the second stupid revelation about a female heroine I've seen in a film this week, the first being in Monsterwolf!].  In fact nothing about this person makes sense, and I get the feeling that much character development all-round has been cut, either from the script or from the actual film.  Of course you don't necessarily need tons of this stuff in a film like this, but you do need to care about the people in it, and to be honest I didn't very much.  Still, the CG effects are mostly pretty good, though the aliens just look like almost every other alien in a film these days [can't they come up with anything else?].  Jon Favreau is great at directing this kind of stuff though, with his cutting very reminiscent of Steven Spielberg and you can see what is going on.

Of course much of the fun of this film is in seeing Ford and Craig together, and their chemistry is a joy to watch.  I think Ford though overdoes the bitterness and the scowling, whilst Craig overdoes the brooding and the scowling.  Honestly, they both scowl almost continuously throughout, and whilst I'm sure they had fun making this movie, they could have shown it a bit more.  I will say though that Craig looks a perfect Western hero and he should maybe do some more.  Harry Gregson-Williams provides a fairly exciting score that somehow manages to avoid the usual Western movie 'sound', while still seeming appropriate to this movie and comes up with some really chilling musical sound effects for the aliens.  Matthew Libatique's photography gives the proceedings a real Western 'look'-  whilst not as obviously stylish and nice looking as something like True Grit, the movie does look great and even realistic, which is perhaps a strange thing to say about a film called Cowboy And Aliens.  Several things in this film could have been better, but how good could it really have been, honestly?  It could, and possibly ought, to have been a million times worse, and I honestly had a really fun time watching it.  Switch your brain off and enjoy.


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Post #: 31
Absolution - 25/8/2011 1:04:42 AM   


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Most of the dissatisfaction with this movie seems to stem from the schism between the title and the content. Let's say that the title of the movie was, for example, 'Absolution'. Your likely viewing experience would be as follows; You heard about this project -about five months ago- as a comic adap being reigned by Favreau and you thought, 'That sounds nice, but I'll probably catch it on pay per view next year when my girlfriend is drunk enough to be into it. Forward two months and you are enticed (despite the dismissal of your friends) by the attachment of Ford and Craig. On a day when you're feeling flush, you take a chance, and oh shit! There's aliens and production values and even my mum would like this film! You love it and you want to tell the world about it. Your friends buy into your passion. This film becomes your underdog hero and you and your friends buy the T shirt and the toys and all kinds of crap. Your girlfriend says really soul-rewarding stuff like; 'I have to say that was reeeeally good', and next time, when people want a good recommendation, they'll know who to go to.
All this would have happened, if only people hadn't been led to believe that they were going to see 'Men in Black'...

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Post #: 32
RE: Absolution - 25/8/2011 11:47:51 AM   

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From: Southampton
I don't usually feel compelled to write about films that I disliked. I'll happily write about a film's flaws in an overall critique but I just felt that Cowboys and Aliens was SO bad that I needed to vent. There will be spoilers.

The film starts well enough; somewhere crossed between a Bourne flick and Lost (not hard when you consider one of the writers worked on Lost). Daniel Craig wakes up in the middle of the Old West after some as yet undiscovered trauma with a weird bracelet on his arm and begins kicking asses all over the place. The film even builds its mystery nicely, building up to the first main set piece where the town is attacked and many of its people are abducted.

And it's all downhill from there.

What follows is a slow and utterly predictable men-on-a-mission flick. Every scene seems to take an age to get to the point, made even more frustrating that everyone knows what's going to happen. It's obvious.

Oh look, that chick who knows Daniel Craig turns out to be an alien of some kind - but I don't think they bother to explain why, where or how.

Look, some Indians. I wonder if they'll join forces to fight the aliens? Oh yes, they will.

The action set pieces are simply so unspectacular that they fell short of being entertaining.

The aliens themselves - nicely rendered in CG but what the hell isn't these days - are particularly shit. They're purpose is to steal gold. Yeah, gold. As Ford's character quips "that's ridiculous, what are they going to do; buy something?" If it was explained why or even why therefore, they are abducting people as well, I missed it.

I found it very hard to find very much to like in this film at all. Daniel Craig (who I like as Bond - his bland, one-note method of acting suits the role of a killer spy) is utterly miscast here and we never really learn much about his character or really care to find out.

Harrison Ford is far and away the best thing about the film. His character has all of the best, funniest lines and is the only one who comes halfway to being three dimensional; the sub-plot between him and his adoptive Indian 'son' being quite touching (but is sadly underwritten). He comes across as a bastard with a heart and I would have liked the focus of the narrative to have been shifted on to him. It would have given the story more focus with his character being redeemed through his actions to rescue his actual son.

As I said, Ford gets the funniest lines and the film would have been so much more entertaining had it not taken itself so seriously and played things more for laughs.

As its stands, Cowboys and Aliens is a turgid two-hour waste of film. The four of us in our group were dying for the film to end and I suspect most of the audience only stuck around because it was Orange Wednesdays. One couple walked out. We should have follwed them. Avoid this film!

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Post #: 33
RE: Absolution - 25/8/2011 12:25:50 PM   

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From: Bristol
For me, it did exactly what I expected it to do and in that way it was disappointing.

We all knew Rockwell's Doc would be placed in a position where he had to shoot, we all knew that the boy would use the knife and in that regard, it was a very unsurprising and straight-forward film.

However I like the fact it was played straight and I thought showing the aliens in glaring sunlight was very brave of Favreau. Sure their motivations were muddled, but as we follow the human characters it's not really a plot hole as they never really find out. They just need gold, probably in the same way we use it in technology, and opt to experiment on humans because... hey, they're evil aliens!

Ford was very underused, but was great fun. Craig was fine in the part, there was just nothing inspiring about it which is a shame.

However it was almost refreshing to see a film with ACTUAL locations and sets that had an earthly, gritty feel to it.


< Message edited by Timon -- 25/8/2011 5:26:23 PM >


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RE: slightly over-long, but okay - 26/8/2011 5:17:29 PM   


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What a great movie i have seen it tonight and really like that movie..harison and daniel is awesome and great acting in this should be blockbuster movie for this year

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< Message edited by umarimtiaz3 -- 27/9/2011 1:02:15 PM >

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Post #: 35
RE: slightly over-long, but okay - 26/8/2011 10:02:59 PM   

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ORIGINAL: umarimtiaz3

What a great movie i have seen it tonight and really like that movie..harison and daniel is awesome and great acting in this should be blockbuster movie for this year

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Post #: 36
- 28/8/2011 8:28:02 PM   

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From: Sin City
Cowboys & Aliens
This mix of two beloved genres makes you wonder why this hasn`t been done before.
Jon Favreau did dared to do it and it turns out to be a really entertaining action flick. The mix of western and sci-fi might sound strange but Favreau knows how to make it a well-balanced whole.
The first part might be a bit rushed and have some unnecessary scenes. In the second part that is more than made up for and works in a high pace towards a strong finale.
Finally we get to see action sequences that are clear and good to follow, the (relatively) easy camera work stands in stark contrast with the high speed of the scenes themselves. In that regard, Michael Bay should take some lessons from Favreau.
Daniel Craig and especially Harrison Ford are great in the lead parts and make for a highly entertaining duo.
The whole is not too high-edged or pretentious but simply a very cool film. One of the funniest and most entertaining flicks of the summer.


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Post #: 37
RE: - 29/8/2011 2:05:34 PM   

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Great film really enjoyed this a lot. Great performances and a good script help make this one of the more enjoyable films this summer.

< Message edited by NCC1701A -- 29/8/2011 2:06:00 PM >


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Daniel Craig for Jack Reacher - 29/8/2011 8:29:44 PM   


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Craig is excellent. Ford is solid. Rockwell is funny. And Wilde is seven kinds of sexy.

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RE: Daniel Craig for Jack Reacher - 30/8/2011 5:52:13 PM   

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Really surprised at the hate on here. I loved it, despite its rushed ending. Great fun.


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Independence Day in the Old West? - 5/9/2011 9:28:32 PM   

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Not a great film but at the same time far from a bad film. The good is Sam Rockwell who gives another fine performance. The bad is Harrison Ford who pretty much dials in his performance and offers very little in this film. Daniel Craig meanwhile has rugged good looks.

< Message edited by sanchia -- 5/9/2011 9:33:05 PM >


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Post #: 41
Blockbuster Blunder - 7/9/2011 4:15:41 AM   


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I read a lot (incl Empire review) about this Cowboys & Aliens (C&A) before I went to see it last week. I had heard mixed reports but I was expecting with the crew (Spielburg & Howard) involved it would in the end, deliver, instead, I found that it was simply another Blockbusters Blunder.
It was a blockbuster in the sense that there was obviously plenty of $$$$, the stars, the scale and the CGI/effects - this draws most of us to the cinema. But blunderish as I found myself in a similar position of sighing deeply at the blockbuster 'factors'...cliche afer cliche and if you were asked to sit in a room and write up it up, you'd get close the the unoriginal plot presented. How many writers did it have 8? Come on.
With the variation in style and production cost that is making entertaining, engaging film today, its a wonder why more 'original' screen play today (obvious example..District 9), where is the creative accountability in Hollywood.

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Post #: 42
This was rubbish!! - 7/9/2011 11:13:28 AM   


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Come on Empire!! This was absolute crap! Stiff perfomances all the way, and dull action... A 10 foot alien who can knock down a horse gets knocked down by an Apache with a club? Please... A handfull og cowboys and apaches would have no chance against a small 21 century Seal unit, let alone a highly advanced alien race with high powered futuristic zappers... And that's just the tip of the iceberg... This should have gone straight to DVD...

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Post #: 43
RE: This was rubbish!! - 7/9/2011 9:51:41 PM   

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What? People still like Harrison Ford?


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Post #: 44
BOND, INDY AND THE WILDE WILDE WEST. - 13/9/2011 5:30:16 PM   


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The idea of cowboys and aliens is intruiging, the thing I didn't like about this movie was that the aliens got little focus.
Well other than that this was pretty entertaining.
Jon Favreau has become known to us as the hot-head in "I Love You Man.", the driver guy in "iron man." and the director of Iron Man and the avengers trailer *cough* I mean Iron Man 2.
Now the story with Cowboys and Aliens is a story I quite liked.
Its a cowboy movie generally until weird shit starts going down.
The story goes like this, its Arizona 1873, and Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig.) has just woken to find a metal thing-y-mibobby attached to his arm, he tries to break it off, to no result, and then he is confronted by a group of who-do-ya-callits-low lifes.
Who force Craig to turn around and start walking.
Well that little command and a shotgun being forced into Craigs face, results in a memorable beatdown leaving the lowlifes dead and the horses amused.
So Craig rides into town and bored of his ass- begins walking around only to find he has a bulletwound and a nice little preacher fixes that up quite nicely.
And then Craig does a little bit of scene stealing as Percy Dollarhyde (Paul Dano.) is terrorrising the town and shooting up the top of a shop. When he begins taking money off folk and bullying Sam Rockwells kindly bartender Doc, (in all fairness the bullying was very hard too watch.)
Craig then steps in and performs another beatdown, resulting in him and Dano being locked in a little cart awaiting punishment from the towns angry ruler Woodrow Dollarhyde.
Enter an angry Harrison Ford.
Now as he tries to make away with Craig and his son Dano, the skies light up and aliens attack. Oh well, we never saw that coming from the title.
But like Iron Man, in Cowboys in Aliens, the action is short and far from sweet.
Cowboys and Aliens wasn't as fun as its title promised, because at times during this film, it bordered on horror.
The Aliens after destroying most of the town abduct several of the townsfolk one of which happens to be Docs wife, Dollarhydes son Percy and a few random extras.
Now a posse of cowboys, led by Craig, set out, the group consists of Craig, Ford, Doc, a few extras, an indian, a kid, a dog and the myserious Ella (olivia wilde.)
Now most of this film is tosh, especially the bitter attempt at companionship between Ford and Craig, they have little to none interaction, they dont bicker, dont argue, it isn't exactly Butch and Sundance its more Butch and Butch.
Though Cowboys and Aliens isn't all bad, the action scenes are fairly entertaining, the frequent beatdowns courtesy of Craig are a treat, Sam Rockwells Doc is a source of frequent laughs as he is the sort of comic relief in the film, and there is a nice little relationship between Ford and an Indian worker of his.
Ford, to me, felt slightly underwritten, as did Craig, who didnt say much.
Olivia Wilde is very pretty as always, but an indecent pay off and a slowish middle half, left me wanting more from this film.
The action is decent but this wasnt the best film ive seen in a while. Ok but not for me.
8/10. Good acting,well directed but not as fun as the title promised.
Still Olivia Wilde still looks great in this.

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Post #: 45
- 14/9/2011 2:54:26 PM   


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"A simple entertainment in a summer of overcomplicated disappointments." - I don`t even know, I think I`d rather prefer the overcomplicated ones...
"offering a straightforward, linear plot, lean rather than bloated and which, while skipping over a few gaping holes, largely makes sense" - does not really sound convincing

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Post #: 46
Weird - 28/9/2011 10:21:55 PM   


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Is it just me or is this film just a tat rediculous? It starts off as an enjoyable western, and then in come the aliens...Instead of making this film funny and give it the 'Men in Black' overhaul, the producers take themselves way too serious and it becomes Judgement Day meets True Grit in a very odd cocktail that totally didn't work for me: This sort of film needs, just like Superman The Movie, a larger than life 'cartoonish' approach, while you still want to suspend your disbelief for two hours..that isn't an easy task, as 'Cowboys and Aliens proves...

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Post #: 47
- 29/10/2011 10:47:41 PM   
Ciaran McDaid


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Very disspointed with the story and the action were so weak

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Post #: 48
missed opportunity - 8/11/2011 7:52:35 AM   


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From: Ireland
This is ultimately a big disappointment,as latter reviews have mentioned..Empire picks up on the decent acting, but is far too lenient on the film's many flaws to be honest. The first 20/30 mins of cowboys is quite intriguing, and sees craig,ford et al in fine form, with the promise of some challenging characters to be fleshed out.
Unfortunately, the tone switches to a very silly invasion/kidnapping movie, with questionable alien effects and characters changing motives and allegiances all too easily. Add to that an absolutely terrible, none more botched ending, and you will have trouble remembering this one a few hours later...

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Post #: 49
Surprisingly good - 17/11/2011 6:49:24 PM   


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I actually was pretty skeptical when I first saw the preview for this film. But I'm familiar with the actress Ana de la Reguera from the series Capadocia that she plays in and she does a phenomenal job with both characters. If you liked Ana in Cowboys and Aliens you should definitely check out Capadocia <a href="">Capadocia</a> she's amazing in it!

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Post #: 50
Cowboys & ZZZZZzzzzzzz - 24/11/2011 6:47:24 PM   


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The big names barely carry this along, disappointing stuff from Favreau.

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Post #: 51
Better than the rest - 13/12/2011 9:43:46 PM   


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From: London
Cowboys and Aliens is no Inception, but up against Captain America and Thor this stands out as the best blockbuster of the summer. Not shying away from good old fashioned adventure and peril, C&A has more touches of the blockbusters of old than all the other overly kid-friendly tent-pole movies out this year. Ignore the plot-holes and suspend some disbelief and just enjoy this unique take on a sci-fi movie. Plus it was great to see Harrison Ford back doing what he does best. It's Starship Troopers meets The Wild Bunch!

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Post #: 52
Good but not Great! - 4/1/2012 9:34:33 AM   


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In comparison to the other blockbusters out last summer (Thor, Captain America, Transformers and X-Men), personally I thought it was better than all of them. Its very watchable and highly inoffensive . I actually thought Craig was OK for once and its pretty hard to knock Ford. The effects were a bit naff at times but that be said I enjoyed watching this and if you have a spare 2 hrs, id recommend Olivia Wilde is epic!

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Post #: 53
RE: Good but not Great! - 5/1/2012 11:32:25 AM   


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Just caught this on rental and like Green Lantern I don't really get the negativity towards it. GL wasn't a good film but it wasn't the war crime a lot of people were labelling it as and C&A was nowhere near as bad as I'd read.

Again I wouldn't say it's a particularly good film as such as it's a bit half baked and had no real surprises but I thought it was a serviceable enough sci-fi/action film with some good characters and sequences. I enjoyed the western mashup with Jon Favreau doing a lot of good work with western archetypes before turning things on their head with the sci-fi element.

Thought Daniel Craig was great and had good support from Ford, Dano, Rockwell, Beech and Brown. Only main cast member that didn't really do anything for me was Olivia Wilde although I haven't really rated her anyway in other films like Tron Legacy. Just don't get where her "next big thing" rep has been coming from; she's pretty but just felt very superfluous here and kind of lifeless.

Not exactly a film I'd recommend but certainly not terrible.


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Post #: 54
RE: Good but not Great! - 5/1/2012 2:28:03 PM   
Emyr Thy King


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*Contains spoilers*

I quite liked the film, I don't understand why some have a problem with it. I was quite surprised by Sam Rockwell and Harrison Ford in particular. He managed to show emotion through quite a stern and hard character. Daniel Craig was quite good but he's more of the silent man of the piece. His emotion and state of mind expressed through the violence he dispenses rather than any meaningful dialogue. I agree with Marwood, Jon Favreau does a great job of portraying the old west. Dirty, brutal, unforgiving and just harsh. I think the premise is brilliant and completely betrays the inherent silliness implied by the title. The film does sag a little bit in the middle after quite an entertaining attack scene on the town but picks up towards the end. Some may think the 'town attack' in the beginning is eerily reminiscent of Close Encounters of the Third Kind but with a sinister tone. Olivia Wilde is always nice to look at and she does have a slightly other worldyness to her like in Tron Legacy. But she's mostly used as exposition and a token love interest. I'll probably be carted off to a reservation of my own for saying this but I found this 'revisionist' () western far more palatable than the likes of True Grit with Jeff Bridges's almost indecipherable speech. The aliens themselves are interesting but they seem like an odd mix of District 9's prawns and Independence Day's aliens. As for the aliens's motives for being here, I thought gold was a nice touch. And I liked how they were mirror counterparts of the old west gold prospectors. Except a litle more vicious and packing more firepower than dynamite. Solid entertainment and some great moments from Craig, Harrison and Rockwell.

< Message edited by Emyr Thy King -- 15/1/2012 7:47:36 PM >

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Post #: 55
- 5/1/2012 3:23:46 PM   
Turd Ferguson


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This movie really could have been incredible. Some missed opportunities here given the great cast. Ford and Rockwell weren't given much to work with. I thought Craig was perfect for this role. The first half of the movie was strong; the second half was a little ridiculous. But I suppose that should be expected of a movie called "Cowboys and Aliens".

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Post #: 56
RE: Blockbuster Blunder - 6/1/2012 11:35:16 PM   


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From: Birmingham

ORIGINAL: kenand11

With the variation in style and production cost that is making entertaining, engaging film today, its a wonder why more 'original' screen play today (obvious example..District 9), where is the creative accountability in Hollywood.

You use District 9 to try and further your argument about creative ingenuity, yet that film is a collage of sci-fi staples from other works. Dressing it up as a metaphor for Apartheid doesn't make it genius, it's still lazy lifting.

For the record I found Cowboys and Aliens an entertaining picture. Far from flawless, and certainly predictable, but it combines two genres I like a lot and delivers the requsite no brain popcorn thrills I expected it to; with a bit of grizzle thrown in for good measure. 7/10


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Post #: 57
RE: Blockbuster Blunder - 7/1/2012 12:38:51 AM   
Emyr Thy King


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I couldn't agree more on all points.

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Post #: 58
Blockbuster Blunder - 7/1/2012 9:24:17 AM   

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I saw "Blockbuster Blunder" and thought they were mkaing a new film about Ed Milliband!
For the record, I haven't seen the film.


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Post #: 59
Solid! - 14/1/2012 10:35:28 PM   

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From: Bromley
Cowboys and Aliens may not be the sci-fi spectacular that will blow you away but it is good, solid sunday afternoon entertainment. Craig and Ford work well together, the pace moves along nicley and there are some fun action scenes throughout. It is supposed to be a cross of genres but ends up being more of a western than a sci-fi spectacular but that certainly is not a bad thing. Jon Favreau plays it safe in the directors chair and it's certainly a damn sight better than Wild Wild West and Jonah Hex!

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