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MOVIE REVIEW--Cowboys & Aliens - Ladue News: Arts & Entertainment

MOVIE REVIEW--Cowboys & Aliens

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Posted: Friday, September 2, 2011 11:57 am | Updated: 11:59 am, Fri Sep 2, 2011.

So this is it: the hotly anticipated blockbuster movie mash-up. Sure, filmmakers have been combining genres for decades—hello, Mel Brooks—but now, it has a name, an industry buzz word, if you will. I’ll tell you what, though, they did a very respectable job. The cast is outstanding. The story is compelling—at times, even touching, and the aliens are cool. Sure there are some plot-holes, but they do more right than wrong.

It’s the post-Civil War Old West. Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the desert with two things: amnesia and a strange metal cuff shackled to his left wrist. He makes his way to the nearest ramshackle town where he finds a kindly minister to tend his wounds. He also encounters Percy Dolarhyde (Paul Dano), the spoiled drunken son of the local big shot, Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford).

Jake is a wanted man. Percy is an entitled bully. Woodrow is a ruthless martinet. The sheriff (Keith Carradine) just wants to keep the peace, and the town doctor (Sam Rockwell) just wants to manage the local saloon and lead a quiet life with his wife. All that changes when some very 21st century-looking alien ships attack the town and abduct its citizens. Then, it’s up to bitter rivals— and one beautiful stranger (Olivia Wilde)—to save their families and defeat the invaders.

That’s really all you need to know. This is just a good, old-fashioned action Western about people uniting against a common enemy. The other thing— and it’s a small thing, I know—is that they don’t hide the alien from you. In so many movies, fear of bad special effects has the alien zipping by in a blur or shown only in shadows. Not here. They bring out the bad guys in the cold light of day. I really enjoyed it—and I don’t really like Westerns.

It's a 7.

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