Cowboys & Aliens is utterly ridiculous and the insane story may not appeal to a lot of people; it also lacks humour but the cast are all superb, it has an excellent score and it’s a great escape from your office cubicle for a few hours. If you weren’t a fan of the Theatrical Cut then there isn’t anything in this Extended version that will change your opinion, but I enjoyed it all the same.
Plot: A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys and natives are all that stand in their way.
Review: It’s Indiana Jones and James Bond. We can expect quips galore just like The Last Crusade, right? Right? Nope. Considering Cowboys & Aliens ridiculous concept you would expect it to be a lot of fun with plenty of humour; strangely it is very po-faced and lacks the sense of fun it should have.
Despite that though, it isn’t a bad film, in fact I actually really enjoyed it. I’ve always been a fan of Westerns and this is as old-school as they come… except with aliens.
Daniel Craig plays mysterious stranger Jake Lonergan who is unbelievably cool with a little bit of badass thrown in for good measure. He’s a man of few words and is trying to find out who he was before being abducted. This is one of my favourite roles of Craig’s and he really looks the part of a cowboy and this is the kind of role he excels at.
Harrison Ford plays against type as a (kind of) villain but the two former enemies are forced to work together to rescue their friends/family from some pesky alien invaders. Ford has a few good lines, but I can’t help feeling it’s a bit of a wasted opportunity.
In this Extended Cut, we get a bit more back-story to Adam Beach’s sidekick Nat Colorado; he’s unflinchingly loyal to Ford’s gruff Woodrow Dolarhyde and it’s because of Nat that we discover the slightly nicer side of Woodrow..
Nat is a good guy and the extra back-story helps us care more about what happens to him, although you know as soon as he walks on screen, he’s a dead man walking.
There is also a bit more of Daniel Craig getting fixed up after being shot in the opening scene. There isn’t anything massively different but I like these additions which just gives us a little more depth.
The special effects are pretty excellent and the alien spacecraft are cool looking; the aliens themselves look typically insect-like and are pretty forgettable.
The best thing about the movie is the score, which has a great twangy guitar theme tune and really feels like a classic Western.
It also looks fantastic with some excellent cinematography and a decent pace; a common complaint with Westerns is that they are slow moving but that is not a problem with this story.
The supporting cast are excellent too; you’ve got Clancy Brown and Sam Rockwell as an added bonus which makes any film worth a watch.
Overall, Cowboys & Aliens is utterly ridiculous and the insane story may not appeal to a lot of people; it also lacks humour but the cast are all superb, it has an excellent score and it’s a great escape from your office cubicle for a few hours. If you weren’t a fan of the Theatrical Cut then there isn’t anything in this Extended version that will change your opinion, but I enjoyed it all the same.