Cowboys & Aliens | Indy Week

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Rated PG-13 · 118 min. · 2011

Action/Adventure, Suspense/Thriller

The titular juxtaposition portends an unfortunate stylistic clash first born at the crowded writers table. Lost creator Damon Lindelof's penchant for character development over narrative symmetry meets Transformers/ Star Trek scribes Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman's outlook that characters are mere window dressing for visual razzle-dazzle. The dissatisfying result is a rather passé alien invasion flick populated by Old West archetypes that you end up caring less about the longer you're around them. Director Jon Favreau (Iron Man) uses the opening 20 minutes to introduce an engaging Western tableau, as an amnesic Man With No Name (Daniel Craig) with a laser gun mysteriously strapped to his wrist wanders across a town run by cattle baron and ex-Army colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). Their mounting conflict, along with the thin plot intrigue, evaporates as soon as the alien abductions begin. From there, it's a meandering rescue mission punctuated by action sequences that pause frequently mid-battle for cloying moments of redemption. Favreau gets trapped between embracing the story's dark elements and preserving a popcorn-munching crowd-pleaser. Ultimately, he accomplishes neither.
Official Site:
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby
Producer: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Scott Mitchell Rosenberg
Cast: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Adam Beach, Paul Dano and Noah Ringer


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