Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cowboys & Aliens

Jon Favreau’s film caught a lot of flak from critics—in part—for taking itself too seriously. On the contrary, one of the redeeming aspects of this otherwise forgettable genre mash-up is how it dons a straight face as it dishes out ludicrous servings of pulp. When you consider Cowboys & Aliens as both a brilliant title for a movie and as a moniker for the limitless possibilities of colliding sci-fi and western tropes, the movie itself is something of a disappointment. Yet as a modest tribute to these traditions it has enough appeal to get by. The story veers on the brink of oblivion and/or inconsequence at nearly every turn, but Daniel Craig’s portrait of an amnesia-suffering cowboy badass (the best kind of badass, of course) anchors the campy proceedings and keeps the film on course. Harrison Ford contributes his customary scowl, which this time comes packaged along with a Searchers-inspired racist redemption subplot. In whole, Cowboys & Aliens is a complete throwaway, but one I enjoyed as such. As an absurd genre exercise, in some ways this film reminded me of Frank Marshall’s Congo. And that is probably the highest compliment I can pay it. (Jon Favreau, 2011) **

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