“Cowboys and Aliens” reactions from Comic-Con

By Adam Frazier
Hollywoodnews.com: Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”) premiered his latest film, “Cowboys & Aliens,” to an enormous crowd Saturday night at San Diego Comic-Con. The director’s latest is a genre mash-up, adapted from Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s 2006 graphic novel of the same name. In this Western meets Science-Fiction epic, in 1873 Arizona, an outlaw named Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) awakens with no memory of his past and a mysterious shackle around his wrist.

This shackle, complete with futuristic technology, holds the key to defeating a new enemy: ALIENS! From the skies, without warning, spaceships descend on the sleepy town of Absolution and the townspeople, along with outlaw Jake, must make a stand against them. The film also stars Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde and Paul Dano.

After last night’s screening, film critics fled the theater and took to their MacBooks and Smartphones in an attempt to get the first “Cowboys & Aliens” review up. It looks like The Hollywood Reporter and Variety beat everyone to the punch. So far, the overall consensus seems to be fairly positive:

“Beneath all the state-of-the-art special effects beats an old-fashioned heart, one that prizes both of the genres in play. Echoes of “Rio Bravo” and “3:10 to Yuma” resonate through the first act, while the finale uses neato dragonfly-shaped UFOs and truly menacing monster design to update tropes from corny 1950s alien-invasion movies. In between, the script cobbles together a bumpy second act, tossing off serial-style cliffhangers — cut off by bandits! surrounded by Indians! — en route to the big showdown promised by the film’s title.” — Peter Debruge, Variety

“Nevertheless, as the first of undoubtedly a bunch of copycat genre mash-ups, some of which are bound to be horrendous, “Cowboys & Aliens” is a solid success. For a tent-pole, Comic-Con movie, this one devotes a gratifying amount of time to character and achieves most of its success because Favreau has intelligently cast his film and let his actors do their thing. As good as the visual effects are, you walk away from the movie with a memory of actors’ faces, lines of dialogue and actions that speak more to character than to shock-and-awe.” — Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter

After the world premiere, online bloggers and film journalists took to the Twitters to discuss (in the painstaking detail that only 140 characters can provide) their thoughts on Favreau’s film. Here’s some bite-sized reviews for you consideration:

@joblocom (JoBlo.com) “Cowboys & Aliens” is the summer movie you’ve been waiting for.

@Brotodeau (Brandon Lee Tenney) “Cowboys & Aliens” is never as interesting, sharp, or promising as its title. More often than not, I was just plum bored.

@slashfilm (Peter Sciretta) “Cowboys & Aliens” was okay, but nothing special.

@ColeAbaius (Cole Abaius of Film School Rejects) I enjoyed “Cowboys & Aliens.” A lot of fun, great Western elements, Craig, Ford, et al are fantastic. Nothing earth-shattering, but good-great

@elguapo1 (George Roush of Latino Review) I did not enjoy “Cowboys and Aliens.”

@firstshowing (Alex Billington) Hmm “Cowboys & Aliens” was good not great, I thought. Some cool moments, Daniel Craig kicks ass, I miss seeing Harrison Ford in movies.

@davidehrlich (David Ehrlich of Criterion Corner) A movie called “COWBOYS & ALIENS” probably shouldn’t be so rote, tired, & predictable. Premiere was a pleasure, though.

Even Stephen King’s son, the excellent Author Joe Hill, chimed in on the premiere: @joe_hill “COWBOYS & ALIENS” is a perfectly crafted action film, full of humor and character and unforgettable beat-downs. Can’t wait to see it again.

Well, being as Joe Hill has a little gunslinger in his own blood, and he’s an excellent storyteller, I’m more inclined to go with his initial thoughts. In any case, “Cowboys & Aliens” arrives in theaters on July 29.

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