Had a great time with this summer excitainment. Like Jon Favreau’s Iron Man movies, it’s light and enjoyable, just enough tongue in cheek. He makes a traditional western first, and a science fiction blockbuster second, and that is why it works.
He also gives us characters. Jake Lonergan and the Colonel aren’t always likable. Taking a hint from his pal Vince Vaughn in Swingers, he has always given us characters we’re not sure we like in the beginning. Now, they’re not on par with Downey’s over the top Stark, but they fit the Western archetypes and flesh them out. I’d watch this movie if no aliens were involved. He peoples his cast with colorful character actors, like Clancy Brown’s preacher and Sam Rockwell’s Doc. Who’s a bartender. The women get a little short shrift, except for Olivia Wilde’s character, and she’s too mysterious to have much substance. But it works, and once the aliens show up we care what happens to these people.
It’s funny how Westerns come and go. We haven’t had a real resurgence, just a few here and there. I’d like to see more. Japan still mines their samurai era past, but we’ve left ours behind our myths. We are uncomfortable destroying them.
3/4 – Worthy
© 2011 Thomas Pluck