So, was it a yeeehaaa?
For the most part, it was a thumbs up.
This is another movie like Snakes on a Plane. The title says it all. You know what you're getting almost exactly WAY before you enter the theatre. If you walk out disappointed, well...you shoulda known!
The movie's far from perfect, but it was a great little popcorn movie.
And LOADS better than Oblivion.
Daniel Craig was awesome. A good twist on the 'man with no name' trope that worked well with the high concept. His accent kept throwing me, though. Not that it was *bad*. It was great! It's just so unexpected from his mouth.
Harrison Ford was...Harrison Ford. What more needs to be said, right? It was really good to see him playing someone a lot more dark, that's for sure, though. And while you might see him as a 'bad guy' his roughness made perfect sense once you got to know the character, and he had a chance to be fleshed out.
The action was pretty good, with more great mixing of tropes from cowboy movies, and twisting them on their ear in pretty much the perfect way once aliens are introduced. I loved the aliens roping people like cattle, especially. I wish the humans had a little better means of killing the aliens from an earlier point, since they just seemed SO hopelessly outmatched to almost make things seem pointless until we got towards the end of the movie and we realised, oh. Headshots work fine on them too! A minor gripe, but I just found myself too distanced from these people rushing to their deaths.
I've seen a lot of eye-rolling about the aliens coming after our gold, but I'm ok with it. It may be a bit on the nose, but it kinda has to be. You need a reason for WHY the aliens would be here, why they're interested in Earth, and why THAT particular time. So capitalising on the gold rush of the period is pretty much spot on. And really, it is little more than a macguffin for the aliens, don't worry about it that much.
Another complaint has been how amazing the first 30 minutes of very western stuff was, to only be 'ruined' by the arrival of the aliens. Again, I point to the title. And for me, I'm the opposite. I was getting a little squirmy in my chair waiting for the aliens to get there during the lengthy, boring western stuff. ;)
I do love how every bit of westerness we see ended up being taken as NOT a western trope. It started out as "oh, this is that sort of scene" but quickly became something else through the lens of an alien invasion. Nothing was your normal bit from a cowboy movie. Very well done.
Clancy Brown! I can't shut up without saying something about the Kurgan. He's yet another actor I can't say enough of. He's another I'll watch just to watch him, and he brought his A game to C&A. Good stuff, and well acted, as always. He also had some of the best lines in the movie.
The ending felt a bit rushed, and tied up a bit too perfectly, and some of the character arcs feel a bit short circuited, especially Ford's kid. That arc was more about Harrison's character and not his son, but to have the son's arc basically go from cowardly, no good bastard to an ok person by way of amnesia feels a bit cheap to me. There's more story to be had there, although I'm not quite sure how. Sequel? ;)
But yeah, mostly good stuff here, with a few hiccups. It's not a Captain America, but it is not a waste of time either. If you want a solid two hours of action and adventure, and something that's actually different in this day and age, I definitely recommend seeing it. It's a good ride, and worth your time as a piece of entertainment.
And why the hell does Olivia Wilde keep bumping into my personal iconography? First there's 13, now Phoenix. A lesser man might speculate about fate.