Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens

The Film: Cowboys and Aliens

The Peeps: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Clancy Brown, etc.

The Dealio: Time? Post Civil War. Place? The Western Territories of the US. The Set-Up? Into the town of Absolution staggers a wounded, fuzzy-headed, much-the-worse-for-wear c'boy...wearing an enigmatic expression. Oh, yeah, and a bracelet that apparently is able to track interplanetary spaceships and knock them from the sky. So far, just your basic horse opera, right? Riiiiight. In short order, the cowboy-Jake Lonergan- has run afoul of the obnoxious, spoiled and violent son of Woodrow Dolarhyde, the ex-military man who holds the whole of Absolution and everyone and thing in it- in his iron grasp. Lonergan also encounters a strangely reticent barkeep called 'Doc' and a 'strapped', comely female who insists that he must help her in her mysterious quest. Problem #1: Lonergan has no idea who he is, where he came from, how he got his wound and what that danged thing on his wrist is. Then, on a quiet night, ripped apart by peculiar animal behavior and flashing lights, the cuff chugs to life, and rapidly dispatches two flying menaces. While the town is trying to figure out what just happened, many more of the flying vehicles swoop in low, lasso-ing men, women, children- even livestock. Now we need a posse. And some cooperation. Good luck with that.

The Grading Session: 4.53 pengies out of 5. Very action-packed movie. Favreau is at his fanboy best with this one. My official commentator on all things military was...oddly silent during the run of this film. Everyone turned in well-tuned, tiny, gemlike performances. I was a bit jarred by the gorgeous Ella, in minimalist, Wild West make-up, wearing a very imposing shootin' iron, front and center, over her gingham dress. But, I nitpick. There was only one cool hat in the entire show- and Craig's Lonergan scored that one, lifting it from the head of a renegade bandito he's just blasted to smithereens with his wrist-activated RPG. Recurrent themes that are beloved of Favreau were all represented: fathers and sons, loyalty and unity in the face of an outside threat, and redemption through self-sacrifice. This was a great summer movie with enough diversity to suit every one's needs. And, of course bug-lizard-Alien-and-Predator-style bad guys. What IS it with the insect aliens? Have film makers decided that this is the ultimate scary-unknown? Get over it; ultimately scary is US, but mutated, invisibly.

Lessons Learned: When a character in a movie is suddenly in possession of super-powers or super-weapons, the learning curve seems to be very tiny: one minute, the possessor is fumbling along, singeing him/her self with the damned thing. The next minute, they are battling aliens, doing major surgery and whipping up a chocolate souffle with the thaang. That's the kind of a deal I want to own. Might be worth a few singeing incidents...if I can manage a souffle, after all is said and done. Then, too, this: do not look into the light. Ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment