Our Take On:
Cowboys & Aliens!
Inspired by the Graphic Novel!
Reviewed By Tina LoSasso, Vinnie & Michael D Hamersky!
Above Top Photo: An earlier version of the Cowboys & Aliens film poster that we saw on the outside of the theater we attended!
Left column top photo: The Graphic Novel that inspired the film, published by Platinum Studios in 2006. Creative team: Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, Fred Van Lente & Andrew Foley, Dennis Calero & Luciano Lima, J. Wilson & Silvio Spotti & Luciano Kars & Magic Eye Studios!
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TODAY'S FEATURE - Blog #3474:
Please Note: This is the comic book film that Tina and I have been seeing trailers of at other movie showings, and been wanting to see. Tina's interest is because one of her favorite 'James Bond' actors, Daniel Craig, is in it, and mine because it was inspired / 'based' on a graphic novel and looked good in the trailers!
The film opened on Friday, July 29th even though it premiered at Comic-Con International: San Diego. Tina and I did not attend the special opening near Comic-Con in Downtown San Diego, as there were limited tickets availability. Plus we were very busy at the Comic-Con, as you can tell by our earlier blogs! We thus waited till my youngest son, Vinnie, joined us this weekend to see it together.
Here's the reviews from Vinnie (young comic book reader), Tina (mainstream film goer), & myself (long time comic book dealer & reader):
Vinnie: After watching another alien movie,"Battle: Los Angeles", on the previous Thursday night, my dad, stepmom Tina, and I, decided to watch the movie "Cowboys & Aliens" in theaters. I was expecting it would be good, but it wasn't, sadly.
That's because it was Great! It was a lot more than I thought it would be. I was expecting a movie about cowboys and aliens blowing up they territory and all that, but not much more. This had definitely been more than just that, however.
The story was greatly built up, with flashbacks of an accident that kept on repeating in the main characters mind. You knew something was going to happen but nothing did...
SPOILER WARNING: ...Until out of nowhere, comes the aliens! From that point on it was just about survival. They followed the trail that an alien left, and a woman of an unknown place that wants to follow the cowboy on his journey. We later find that she isn't actually from this planet, and the claims of her people getting taken over by the aliens aren't so true either.
I enjoyed the action, aliens, and technology of this movie. There was just so much fighting between the cowboys and the aliens, and it was just fun to watch.
They were nearly indestructible, hardly getting hurt by bullets, but only by knives stabbed in a precise area of the abdomen, or their own weaponry. The aliens were just so cool looking. They weren't like any aliens from any other alien movie I've seen. They were green, bug-eyed creatures with two mouths,one of their face, and one on the abdomen, which also had arms tograb the humans and pull them in. However, when that was open, there were more susceptible to getting knived, as there was then even less protection to their necessary internal organs. The aliens technology was just immensely creative, and dangerous. The had made a type of wristwatch which was controlled by the mind, that shot powerful beams of energy that could kill anything- including their own kind. When the main character awoke, he had this wristwatch, and later on when he gets the flashbacks, you will understand why. He uses it as his main weapon to fight off the aliens as his gun hardly damages, but just has a bit of a knockback to them. The aliens also use that same power as surgical equipment, which they use when cutting the humans to view the insides. They then use an overhead beam that works like a scanner, blasting them in a nice, orderly fashion into dust. They also have a machine which melts gold down,( and I will explain why later, by the way,) and then moves it to the location it's needed by the way of some wiring leading to many stations, all the way to one central room.
I enjoyed the fact that as the movie went on, more and more people were killed off by the aliens. A big team of around 30, ended up with just a few people. Another thing was that the aliens fuel source was something I haven't heard of in a story as of yet, which was gold. Yes, as explained earlier, it would all lead to one central room- the fuel chamber. The reason they entered this planet was to mine for gold, as their home planet ran out and they needed to bring some back. The mystery woman actually took on the form of a human, although she was from a planet already mined out of gold by the aliens. She ended up sacrificing herself in order to keep the vessel that was sent to the earth, kept from going back home. She used the wristwatch to blow up the furnace room, which in turn, blew the whole thing down to little pieces of nothing.
END OF SPOILER WARNING!
This movie actually was one of my favorites, I'd have to admit. I just enjoyed
it so much, yet I can't just explain it. I have to give this movie, "Cowboys and
Aliens" a Near Mint (NM), a 9.4 out of a 10.0 grade scale.
Tina: Cowboys & Aliens - the Film
I admit it: I wanted to see "Cowboys & Aliens" because of Daniel Craig. I'm a woman, what did you expect?
Fortunately, Craig is the best thing in the movie so I was not disappointed. Otherwise, I suspect I would have been underwhelmed by "Cowboys & Aliens".
Unlike "Captain America" where the supporting cast is actually better than the star, "Cowboys & Aliens" relies on Craig to carry the load. And, no it's not just Craig in leather chaps and that Indiana Jones hat. It's Craig bringing the same solid physicality to the role of the amnesiac outlaw that he used to revive the Bond franchise. His Jake Lonergan is a believable "Scourge to the Territory" as his Wanted poster claims. When Craig overpowers four or five outlaws at once, there's no stretch of imagination, that's left to the rest of the movie.
The story is as much a mish-mash as the mash-up movie style. Three-parts Western, one-part Alien invasion story, the movie veers into crazyland, but, to their credit, the actors all play it straight.
The action is crisp; the aliens creepy, slimy and terrifying; the scenes with the Indians mainly played for laughs except for Harrison Ford's "adopted" son and guide.
Kudos to Director Jon Favreau for allowing the aliens to whip the humans' asses so thoroughly in the final scenes. Anything less would have been silly and alien to the grittiness of this modern Western/sci-fi hybrid.
Comic book grade: VERY FINE PLUS (VF+) 8.5 out of a possible 10.0 comic book grading scale.
Michael: I wasn't that 'big' into minor publishers indy comics or graphic novels back in 2006 when the graphic novel that this film is 'inspired' from was published.
So I haven't yet read the 'Cowboys & Aliens' graphic novel that is shown at the top left of this blog post...
Yet, when seeing the first trailer come out for this then upcoming film, I knew it was one that had to be seen on the BIG SCREEN, and because it was graphic novel (fancy name for a different format of comic book), it was one that should be review blogged here!
Well... As you can see from the above two guest columns from Vinnie and Tina... They had differing points of view. Here I'm going to state my take on it:
The early part of the film made me think I was watching an 'Outer Limits' TV show program, but in color instead of black & white. Kind of filling out the hour, but keeping my interest during the build up.
The storyline was fine, and when the aliens first appeared, then all of the background material started making sense. I'm writing this so I don't have to do a 'spoiler alert' for my section of this blog.
The action scenes were well done, and the filming caught the action that needed to be presented, IMO.
The character roles were well played in my opinion for a western / sci-fi mashup. Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde, who had the main roles, played them well enough for me to want to follow the film further. Yes there were cliches, it's a sci-fi western you know(!), but these roles were well supported by the others in the cast.
The whole storyline was believeable to me, (hey, I read comic books!), and actually was pretty well done for a total package.
The only reason I am giving it a lesser grade than my son did, is that the trailers led me to believe that this would be an even better film than it turned out to be! Sometimes trailers do that... Unfortunately this is one time that the trailers grabbed me visually and didn't totally deliver. Which is probably why Tina graded it a notch less than I am...
My grade for this film 'inspired by a graphic novel' is a VERY FINE / NEAR MINT (VF/NM) 9.0 out of a possible 10.0 scale.
Still I believe...You should see this one at the Big Screen near you to get the full affect of what the total package of this one is...
In conclusion.... Thanks, Tina & Vinnie, for your guest comments today, so that's a 9.4 + 8.5 + 9.0 = average of 8.966 for this film!
~Michael D Hamersky
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