Monday, August 29, 2011

Cowboys vs. Aliens - No, It's Not a Comedy

Nope, definitely not a comedy. What !?!, you most likely exclaim...How can this weird western-slash-sci fi staring James Bond and Indiana Jones and set in 1880's-ish dust-bitten America where yokels battle a bunch of ET's NOT be some sort of campy parody? Fact: This premise is odd, and maybe doesn’t work without suspending disbelief to an unhealthy degree, yet is somehow unhindered and temptingly curious. Question: Why would anyone risk making such a ridiculously silly film? A silly film that obviously takes itself very seriously? Answer: Because its Spielberg, that’s why (well, his production company anyway). And this is what made Spielberg THE famous groundbreaking visionary formula setter of our modern Hollywood age that he is.

I won’t insult your intelligence by repeating a plot outline when the title so clearly gives it all away. Daniel Craig is our protagonist, an unwitting hero who we are not convinced at first isn't a villain. Well played, Craig brings the wiry desperation and confused ruthlessness of a trained killer with amnesia to a whole new level as he plays Jake obvious Twain-ian play on names. Jake's nemesis turned frienemy turned battle brother is Woodrow Dolarhyde, humbly played by Mr. Jones himself Harrison Ford, who manages a moment or two of authenticity in his attempt at acting. Ford clearly is a wizened vehicle for steadfast and sturdy foundational acting, lay down the bedrock upon which Craig can brilliantly carve out a bizarre character, deep, brooding, sad, and animalian in scope of danger - nearly alien himself in a depth of calm while faced with certain doom.

Loyal to the Spielberg-ian repertoire we find a weird plot, an unwitting hero, a conflict of impossible proportions, a woman who needs saving and another who sacrifices herself so that the men may lead the other men to victory....oh yeah and a kid and a dog. While Spielberg didn’t direct this film, he earned an executive producer credit and Cowboys vs. Aliens is saturated in his aesthetic stamp.

Basically - I liked it.

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