I went into this movie expecting a lot and for once I received what I hoped for. It makes a nice change from the movies I have high hopes for to under-deliver on their potential. Of course, the movie couldn’t start with the confrontation of the Cowboys and Aliens right away and rather had to build up to it and I thought that in these beginning moments that the movie would have been a good one if there were no Aliens in it either.
The characters were also stereotypical and some of the action was predictable but it was enjoyable. The standard Western archetypes were in the movie being the bandit who has turned his back on his gang and is trying to live the good life (or was until the Aliens arrived), the powerful cattle baron, the American Indian servant who loves his boss. But the actors playing these roles did enough with the characters to make you like them.
The Aliens were kept “secret” and parts hidden until the appropriate time when one corners a young boy. It was here where I felt there was a bit of a break in that the alien didn’t attack the boy but rather “felt” his face with a pair of secret hands trying to understand the boy. This might have paid off if the alien was shown to be in opposition to the rest of its cohorts, but this is never explored and all the aliens encountered later were rather bloodthirsty in their dealings with the cowboys.
The humans were shown in great detail with all of our petty hates toward each other with American Indians and Bandits coming into the story later to assist the cowboys against the aliens. This was probably handled better as I believe it highlighted the animosity between the people in the time period. There was a barge which was never explained how it got to where it was (some critics of Lost would be critical because it was a question never answered) but it wasn’t needed for the story.
The moment Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) found the alien spaceship I couldn’t help but think of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and was waiting for the Crimson King to appear on the ship’s balcony.
Overall, it was a good movie which I enjoyed thoroughly.