Mixing movies has been a hit and miss in the movie industry. Some combinations have worked out quite well and others not so well. Now we have a fresh new idea of genre mixing that looks like it could be a sure fire winner, even if the outcome seems one-sided. Take a Western, a gritty genre of cowboys battling at high-noon, robbing trains and chasing Indians across the wide open plains of the west and mix it with other-world visitors bent on our destruction.
What you get may very well seem like a one-sided battle, considering modern-day settings of plotting human vs. alien puts us in a bad situation. Sure, we almost always win but we’re given a stern beating in the process. I know how to fix it. You give the protagonist a weapon that belongs to the aliens, capable of destroying their vessels in a single shot!
Welcome to Cowboys & Aliens.
The latest attempt at alien invasion, based on a graphic novel of the same name, stars Daniel Craig as Jake Lonegren, a man with no memory of who he is, or where. The movie begins with Jake awakening in the desert, confused as to his whereabouts. Within moments, he’s met with a group of unsightly men, whom he quickly dispatches. It is from this moment we understand that Jake does indeed know how to defend himself.
He staggers his way into a small Arizona town by the name of Absolution, controlled by the ruthless Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde, played by Harrison Ford. Jake soon meets a spineless bartender by the name of Doc, portrayed by Sam Rockwell and a mysterious woman, Ella, played by Olivia Wilde .
For the first portion of the movie, it plays out like a western. We have dirty, gritty men, horses, small town and a tyrant who controls it. Let’s take a little dash of extraterrestrial and toss it into the mix and you end up with a fairly decent movie. It doesn’t take long for the aliens to begin their assaults on the denizens of Absolution, and we soon learn people are being abducted.
From here we go on a chase to save those abducted and bring peace to the old west. The movie is a joy ride through a new genre with a lot of potential. Sadly some of the potential is missed. Some elements of the story I felt could have used a little more explanation to help immerse the audience even deeper. I’m one to rarely complain about story in a blockbuster movie, considering most are intended to be watched for enjoyment. But I could not shake the feeling that at the end, something was missing.