‘Cowboys and Aliens’ an adrenaline rush (IANS Film Review)

July 30th, 2011 - 2:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Daniel Craig Film: “Cowboys and Aliens”; Director: Jon Favreau; Actors: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde; Rating: ***

There isn’t much to say about a film where before the protagonist even utters his first word, he has killed three strong men. Such a film becomes a wish-fulfillment for action and adrenaline junkies. Though “Cowboys and Aliens” fulfils that promise in the first half, the cliched plot progress and execution mars the second half of the film.

Jake (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the wilderness of the “Wild Wild West” without no recollection of his past and with a strange gadget stuck to his left wrist. As he finds more about his murderous past, there are things much more brutal lurking in the night sky then men who shoot before they speak. When these rugged cowboys realise that these aliens plan to take over the world, they ready up for a fight even though their pistols are no match for superior alien weaponry.

The first-half of “Cowboys And Aliens” is indeed a thrilling ride through a landscape that has been dealt with before in countless films. But director Jon Favreu’s steady pace, and the addition of a seemingly magical bracelet on the wrist of the protagonist, adds a different dimension to this familiar landscape. Here, though the name, and obviously the bracelet, foreshadows the arrival of aliens, the tension and mystery is palpable.

Sadly, once the mystery about the aliens and their purpose on Earth is revealed, the film takes a nosedive towards a land of cliches and barely manages to crash-land itself in the end. A little more attention during the writing stage would have ironed out a lot of these flaws and let the film live out its potential.

The other major problem with the film is that many things are left unexplained: like the fitting in of huge aliens in small ships, and the true identity and form of a crucial character. People in the film are happy with the simple explanation by this being that it is ‘from beyond the stars’. It is as if Stephen Spielberg is vain enough to believe that before his alien films, there was no curiosity on anything that is not of this earth.

The film is based on a little known comic book of the same name that has been modified extensively to fit the silver screen, most visible of which is the change of silver to gold that the aliens are after.

Hollywood seems to be in a blind rush to acquire any story with the potential to shoot and blow massive things up and making a mess of a mixed-genre film. In this case, you have in your hand a mystery-sci-fi-action-thriller. Whether your adrenalin is pumped by it, or you’re disappointed, will totally depend upon your propensity towards these genres.

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