Cowboys and Aliens

Last night Dean and I went with Nathan and Esther to see Cowboys and Aliens.

I honestly didn't know how this concept could work without it feeling forced, cheesy or fake. I mean really, what a creative concept, Cowboys and Aliens together. What a creative idea, but, I just couldn't see it really working.

But it did.

I was raised watching both genres, more then I wanted to watch them actually. My dad would make us watch Trinity movies. They were funny. Trinity was always dirty. And I was made to watch a fair share of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies too. I was also raised on Star Wars, E.T. and Close Encounters, the movies that set up Lucus and Spileberg as THE Space/Alien movie guys. So although I'm not a huge fan of either genre, I appreciate a good Alien adventure or a good western, like I loved Dances With Wolves, Tomb Stone, and the recent True Grit, that was amazingly good.

But combining the two?

I had only read one review, or rather it was more of a comment really, about Cowboys and Aliens, it was by Ben Arment on his blog. I have great respect for what he has to say about creative things. He said he thought it was too Alien heavy, to CG, not enough Cowboy. He was disappointed in the movie.

So I went in with only that information in my filter and I was pleasantly surprised to find the opposite to be true. I felt that there was a good balance between Alien and Cowboy on screen. I actually thought they did a great job of making us care about each character. I don't know how their could have been less Alien time without it seeming too Cowboy heavy considering the point of the movie (Cowboys fighting Aliens) I thought it was very cool how they were true to many of the old west movie types,  they seemed to take care to honor the genre. And they also were true to the feel of a good "bad Alien's comes to earth" movie. The Aliens were superb if you ask me.

The pacing was perfect. Just when I thought "I can't take any more of this Alien's at night sneaking up on people stuff" they switched to scenes in the daylight, where of course, it's not nearly as scary. I never got to the point of saying to myself "ok, move along, this is dragging" or "I can't take anymore action!" Which is the place I get to with a lot of movies now a days because they seem to all go just a little too long with those types of scenes.

I thought the casting was perfect. Daniel Craig has never been one of my favorite actors, I just don't find him to be good looking in a leading man sort of way at all, I never really got his appeal. But here, in a western, as a dirty, mean, bad guy cowboy fighting Aliens, well he's perfect..and attractive.

Olivia Wilde's look and the way she carries herself was perfect for the role she played. I don't want to say much about it but she was perfectly cast.

Chris Browning (who is also in the Philly Kid, the movie that Dean, Nathan, Esther and I are all in, that comes out in January) is a great bad guy, who's bad but not all the way bad, and he's funny but he's not trying to be funny. Kind of like the Character that Sam Rockwell  plays in the movie. He's Doc and he delivers some of the funniest lines. I always love him in movies, he usually plays the bad guy, but he also plays a good good guy too.

I felt the "meat" inside of each of the bad guy cowboys stories. We didn't know the meat of most of them, but I felt like I did just after watching them for a few minutes on screen. If that makes any sense.

Adam Beach, (who we at the Turner home know as Kickin' Wing from one of our favorite movies, Joe Dirt) is great in this movie as one of Harrison Ford's men. And Harrison Ford is in his full gruff, bad-but not-such a bad guy, glory. Him and Daniel Craig made a great team.

The movie makers, John Favreau and Steven Spielberg, pulled me into a compelling story, took me on a journey that I enjoyed, made me laugh, cry, jump out of my seat, hid my eyes, think, and celebrate victories. They made me marvel at the creativity of this movie and while watching it I wasn't constantly thinking, "wow, that's just dumb Hollywood cliche and pandering to the audience", ( I only thought it twice) which I find myself thinking a lot these days even in movies I enjoy.

So a movie that I didn't think I would like that much, a movie composed of two genres that I don't exactly love,  turns out to be my favorite movie of the summer. THAT my friend, is what movie making is all about.

If you haven't seen Cowboys and Aliens, go and see it. It's a great movie.


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