My take on "Cowboys and Aliens"
#1
If Olivia Wilde's career doesn't take off after "Cowboys and Aliens", there is something rotten in Hollywood. She has the most interesting eyes for a film actress in a generation.

But the movie breaks new ground (if you ignore its graphic novel history) by introducing spaceships, ray guns, and bug-eyed aliens to the wild west. The story is interesting mostly because we haven't seen anything like this before. It's also rather brave in that it doesn't pit huge brawny marines, special forces, commandos, or whatever against unsuspecting aliens. Instead we get a curmudgeonly rancher, a band of outlaws, and group of renegade Apaches.

And a beautiful girl who happens to be more central to the storyline than the unwitting audience realizes until it's too late to back out of the viewing experience.

Daniel Craig's portrayal of Jake Lonegan, the man who cannot remember his name, is acceptable but he doesn't seem to have been given much to work with until his memories start coming back. There is a lot of set up in the film -- including well into the action and tracking part. At one point I wondered if they could possibly bring in any more new characters.

I suppose if the movie makes enough money someone somewhere will try to carry on. I'm not sure I want to see a sequel. If they do bring one in, what would be the point? I think they would have to introduce a whole new set of Earthlings to take on the aliens.

Still, there were some questions I wanted to ask during the movie. For example, what was the problem with the Colonel and his son? Why was the son such a wimp? The Colonel starts out as a really unsympathetic, blood-thirsty character and then as the story unfolds he learns (along with the audience) that he is still human and still has a reason to treat other people with respect.

The old sheriff was an interesting character right up until he was roped, and then POOF! the movie lost a great asset. I guess that's just the art of story-telling, but by the time you see him again the wind has been sucked out of his sails.

The aliens reminded me of a cross between the Alien aliens and the aliens from Independence Day. I suppose it's becoming difficult for Hollywood to design new bipedal creatures that need environmental suits and still look scary.

I enjoyed the battle scene. I guess it was poetic justice that the outlaws took most of the casualties but at least they got in some good shots against the aliens. The Apaches, of course, gave a better account of themselves. One almost wonders if they have faced these kinds of creatures before (there's your idea for the sequel, Hollywood).

The spaceship seemed cheesy to me. So this alien civilization is so desperate for gold that it sends a mining ship to a remote planet as an advance scouting mission? I dunno. Maybe I've just seen too many irrational, cheesy invaders-from-space movies but I was hoping for something more interesting in the way of motivation for the aliens. The gold theme did help tie different characters together so it makes sense internally to the story but I think an interesting opportunity was missed for showing why an advanced space-faring civilization might have an interest in the southwestern United States desert in the 1800s.

I just don't think a quest for gold is sufficient, even if that is what the original story called for (and I have not read it, so I'm at a disadvantage here).

If you like action sequences and horse-riding stunts there were plenty to see and enjoy in this movie. I have no complaints about the acting or the action. Even the direction was pretty good -- not too many new approaches to telling the story. The biggest gimmick affecting both the direction and the cinematography (in my opinion) was the use of the alien flyers. They had to integrate the flying sequences (and the roped-from-above sequences) with the horses. I have no idea of how they did that, and that is as much a testimony to the direction as to the special effects and the cinematography.

All told it was a fun movie and I may go see it again. I will almost certainly buy the DvD/Blu-Ray when it comes out. If there is a sequel, and it doesn't involve Apache warriors, I probably will pass.
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#2
I enjoyed this film , despite some obvious flaws . It would have been a lot more popular it if hadn't taken itself so
darn seriously, and threw some humor in there. ( I remember going to see the first Pirates of the Caribbean on opening
day, and being so pleasantly surprised that it did not take itself seriously...it made for a more popular movie.)
I imagine that is not the tone of the graphic novel, but it would have gotten a bigger audience, and I would have
had a chance to see it again on the big screen .
I say the big screen because, in addition to all the great visuals that Michael mentioned, some of the scenery shot
of the west just blew me away...absolutely stunning, and I don't think it will be the same on a smaller screen.
Anyway, it's in my top ten for the year ( for now) for originality alone. :clap:
" It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes." - Douglas Adams
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#3
My opinion: Cowboy segments=good, alien segments=bad.
Xev, Xev of B3K, join us in our song!
After all, a thousand years isn't very long!
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#4
Olivia Wilde also appears in "In Time", which is just about to be released.

According to her IMDB page the next science fiction film on her schedule is "Oblivion". It looks like she'll be making the rounds on the movies-made-for-mom-and-dad circuit with a couple of those titles. I doubt I'll be inclined to see "Lovelace". If she were portraying ADA Lovelace rather than LINDA, that might be a different story.
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#5
I liked the movie, although general opinion on it seemed to be negative. I was recently watching the extras on the Blu-Ray, and everyone's carrying on about how original the concept was. It's really not.

For one, there was an independent comic book called Cowboys & Aliens first published in 1995 by a guy named Tom Arvis. Later, in 1998, Arvis published the comic again on his webpage. Scott Mitchell Rosenberg (the guy who came up with the idea for this movie) trademarked the name sometime between '95 and '97, and initially sold the pitch to Universal in May of 1997. Later, in 2002, when Arivs found out, Rosenberg bought the rights to the name from him. Arvis renamed his comic book "Wayout West."

Keep in mind, Rosenberg never actually published his "Cowboys & Aliens" comic book until 2006, nearly a decade after he'd sold the concept as a film. He didn't even write the comic book, Fred Van Lente and Andrew Foley did.

You'll notice, however, Rosenberg is the only one credited in the film for the comic book.

Speaking of film, Full Moon Entertainment had released two B-Movie scifi westerns in the 90s, "Oblivion" (1994) and "Backlash: Oblivion 2" (1996).
I also recall a sci-fi western short that aired on "Exposure," a show on the Sci-Fi Channel called "The Man With No Eyes" (2001).

"High Plains Invaders" (2009), a made for tv movie starring James Marsters, aired roughly 2 years before "Cowboys & Aliens" came out. You could say this one was inspired by the Cowboys & Aliens comic book, I suppose.

While I liked the movie, I can't say I was too broken up when it didn't do well. I've disliked Rosenberg, or at least how he presents himself, for years. He's always used vague language to imply that he was the one responsible for the success of Men In Black, even though he had absolutely nothing to do with it creatively, and very little to do with it overall. He owned the publisher that originally published the comics, and at some point he pitched it to a studio exec. That was it. To read press releases and biographical material, you'd think he wrote the comics and movies himself.
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