Warning: This review has major spoilers. I try not to do that, but I couldn't help it for this one.


Yes, there are cowboys. Yes, there are aliens. But how well do they play together? We're introduced to Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig), a former outlaw who can't remember anything--including his name. And he has a strange metal device attached to his wrist. He soon stumbles into a nearby town that's run with an iron fist by Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) and his good-for-nothing son, Percy (Paul Dano). He meets some of the other inhabitants, including Doc (Sam Rockwell), Meacham (Clancy Brown), Sheriff Taggart (Keith Carradine), and the sheriff's son, Emmett (Noah Ringer). He also runs into a mysterious young woman named Ella (Olivia Wilde) who is very interested in Jake's past. But just when things are rough enough as it is, them darn aliens have to show up and make things even more complicated by kidnapping half the town. Now those left are forced to team up and find the alien base so they can rescue their loved ones. But this is still the old west, so they also have outlaws and Indians to deal with, too.

When I first saw the trailer, I was surprised at how serious the movie seemed to be taking itself. You'd think a movie with such a title would appear to be a lot campier. But I (and others) held hope that maybe the trailer was a bit off and figured it would still be campier in the film. However, while there are a few goofy moments... the movie plays pretty straight faced. And maybe to its detriment, that makes it come off like two different movies shoved together.

On the one hand we have a pretty solid western. An outlaw with amnesia wakes up in the desert, strolls into town, and takes care of a thing or two before getting shown for who he is. They have to deal with the tyrannical ruling of the man who keeps the town alive and, thus, must put up with his son. Eventually it becomes an adventure film and they must face other outlaws and angry Indians along the way. I'm not a huge fan of the genre, but I did like the normal aspect of this film quite a bit.

On the other hand, you have War of the Worlds mixed with Battlefield Earth. Aliens invade, take people prisoner to study them, and their reason for being here in the first place... is that they want gold. Yes, that's right. Gold. But you also have a decent alien abduction story with a man who was taken along with his lover, accidentally gets a super-weapon attached to his arm, escapes, and helps fight back and destroy the invaders. It's actually not quite as strong as the western element, and there are parts of it that don't feel like they meld well.

Fortunately, everybody seems to be having a good time in the film. Well, Daniel Craig is relatively stoic as always, but everybody else seems to be having a good time. Harrison Ford is really good as the gruff tyrant-esque businessman/cowboy. My only real complaint about him is that his character arc has a notch missing somewhere in the middle. He starts as... not a good person. By the end, he's good. But there's somewhere in the middle when this transition starts that feels as if it missed a beat, some drastic moment that begins his change (besides his son being taken). And speaking of Paul Dano, he was hilarious in this movie. He was probably my favorite part, at least his interactions with Daniel Craig, and it's sad that he's not in it a whole lot. Though Sam Rockwell is pretty good, too. The one that kinda bugged me the most was Olivia Wilde. As soon as she was introduced, I felt she was out of place. And then I was like "she's an alien," because she--well--looked like one. Her head was bulbous in this movie. And what do you know...

I think the best thing I can say about this movie is that I don't feel like I wasted my time or money. I was entertained while watching it (though it is a tad bit too long). But as others have said, there's not a whole lot that's very memorable about it. I think that's in large part due to how serious it took itself. It didn't allow for camp or cheesy one-liners or epic dialogue. Had it loosened up a bit, I think it could have been a lot more than what we got. But still, it was entertaining enough.

Stop Saying OK! OK.

1 comment:

  1. I'd say that overall, I'm with you here, though I might have enjoyed it a notch or two more.

    Great point about Ford's character - it definitely feels like just a little something is missing. He was pretty nasty, and really didn't endure ALL that much that such a change was believable.

    And LOL at the Wilde "bulbous head" line. She's mega hot, but she also has quite the square jaw. It's almost enough to be freaky, but not quite.


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