The Old West.. where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a terror from beyond our world. 1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don't welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). It's a town that lives in fear. But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he's been, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a ... Written by
When Jake and the newly-formed posse run into Jake's old gang, he punches one of the members in the mouth, breaking one of his front teeth. Later in the movie this gang member has all his teeth. See more »
We're riding towards Absolution. You know how far west we are?
[Jake doesn't answer]
Maybe he's a dummy.
Is there a reason you're not answering my question?
Look here, Pa. He's got iron on his wrist. He's been shot. Could be done broke out of hoosegow. Might be worth bounty.
Might could be.
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Some months ago, I read the graphic novel Cowboys & Aliens...and it honestly bored me to tears. Leaving the innovative concept described on the title aside, the story only offers hollow characters, sci-fi clichés badly combined with western clichés, and an excessively light tone which does not make any justice to the potential from that combination of genres. Paradoxically, that disappointment improved my expectations for the film Cowboys & Aliens. After all, Hollywood tends to change the novels it adapts pretty much, and I thought that some "expert" screenwriters would fix the many fails from the story. And even though Cowboys & Aliens improved a few elements from the book, it also preserved the characters without any substance, the arbitrary narrative and the inconsistent behavior from the aliens.
The idea of brave cowboys facing an alien invasion is interesting, but I think it works better as a concept than as an execution. The crash between advanced extraterrestrial technology and primitive weapons from 19th century would lead to an unilateral massacre which would make the film to conclude in its first 10 minutes; so, it is necessary to find the way to give the advantage to the cowboys so that the battle is more credible and there is suspense about who the winner will be. Unfortunately, co-screenwriters Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby did not find a logical way to solve the problem, and as a consequence, they employ many traps, excessive inconsistencies and absolutely ridiculous notions in order to give the cowboys the opportunity to defend themselves from the invaders. Without deepening too much in order not to get into the spoilers field, I will mention that, despite their technology and destructive potential, the favorite method of combat from the aliens is...body-to-body fights. And besides, their vulnerability changes according to the screenplay's convenience; when the presence of suspense is necessary, the aliens are practically indestructible; but whenever the movie decides to introduce a "cool" scene, it is easy to kill them with just one shot, an Indian spear, or a small knife.
And because of that, the movie constantly "pulled me out" with its coincidences and forced narrative short-cuts. On the positive side, the special effects created by Industrial Light & Magic are competent. As for the human element, Harrison Ford brings an adequate performance, while on the other side of the coin, Daniel Craig feels bland and antipathetic as the anti-hero. By the way, I am going to propose an hypothesis; Sam Rockwell and Clancy Brown interpret two supporting roles in this film, but they are too short and inconsequential; however, I think Cowboys & Aliens would have been a better movie with that duet in the leading roles; Rockwell is one of the best contemporary actors, and he has more cowboy "looks" than Craig; besides, his less athletic physique would make the challenges the character faces more interesting. As for Brown, he would have been absolutely perfect as the cacique from the village. Sure, none of them would have attracted as much spectators as Craig and Ford, but anyway...I am sure this movie would have been better if that fantasy was true.
In conclusion, I cannot recommend Cowboys & Aliens, because I found it insipid, irritating, and the worst thing of all, boring. Instead of wasting your time with this film, I recommend you three very entertaining "western/fantasy" hybrids: The Burrowers (cowboys against subway humanoids -which also includes Brown in the cast!-), Dead Birds (cowboys against ghosts) and Tremors (modern cowboys against crawling "graboids"). Cowboys & Aliens might surpass them in budget, but it is not even remotely to their levels of ingenuity and amusement.
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