Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Cowboys and Aliens" A Christian Review

Should a good Catholic family see Cowboys and Aliens? I don't know, but it's a fun movie. I'll tell you what I thought and you can decide if it's okay for you and yours. It's rated PG13 and that's a pretty good guideline. I think some pre-teens could handle it and a few thirteen-year-olds-- maybe not so much. I realize for some Christian families, this would be a firm no-go.

Now, I'm going to give spoilers, so don't read on if that bugs you.

Jake (Daniel Craig) is the anti-hero, a rough guy who turns out to have been the leader of a gang of bandits. But one finds heroic qualities in him. He defends a woman when one of the bad guys calls her a whore and he puts his own life on the line to save everyone from the aliens.

Does he go through personal growth? I didn't really see that. It seems that has happened before the start of the film. Jake spends most of the film trying to remember his past. He learns he had left the gang life for a woman. Whether it was because he was truly reformed, it's hard to say.

Harrison Ford's character, Woodrow Dolarhyde is the one with the growth in this film, though he didn't get top billing. I was disappointed at first when I witness how horrible his character was. Harrison Ford's supposed to be the hero! But his big turn-around scene brought tears to my eyes. I have to hand it to him; he's still a super actor. :) His is such a touching character arc that I won't give it away.

The film had a ton of violence. It was more violent than Pirate of the Caribbean- (Well, the first ones, I haven't seen the latest.) But it's not as bad as Starship Troopers. I make the comparison because the massacre in Cowboys is similar, but they don't show much (any?) of the humans getting killed. It felt like you were seeing it because it was such a wild scene, but they kept cutting out at the last moment. I honestly couldn't tell you if we saw graphically any human getting splattered or not.

(Big Spoiler)

There's a flashback scene of a woman tied down, with the alien experimenting on her that's more disturbing than the fighting or the aliens abducting people.

The aliens are freaky looking. Ugly, scary, ick! There's a scene where people are being taken away. (See my other blog for spoiler-typedetails.) 

 (Big Spoiler)

There is a kid in the story and he makes it through the film safely. So, the character your youngest teen might identify with will be unharmed.

Naughty content:

I was more worried about the previews before the film. Yikes! I didn't even think to worry about that. If you're thinking of bringing teens, especially young ones, just be prepared that many of the previews, though supposedly for all audiences, exhibit embarrassingly low morals, to put it delicately. At least, that was the case in my theater. They also had a preview for a super scary/disturbing movie.

Cowboys and Aliens has a lot of naughty words, but they're bad guys. That's what they do. And a lot of drinking, smoking, and one guy takes down his pants to do his duty in the river, but you don't see anything. A woman is seen nude from behind, but Jake quickly covers her with a blanket. And the context isn't sexual. I thought it was very gentlemanly of him to cover her like that.

Religious content:

I was okay with how they portrayed religion- a rarity with movies. The preacher was portrayed wonderfully. Characters talked about the Lord. Some questioned/explored their faith. One tried hard to embrace his faith because of the preacher.

There is a Native American ritual with some sort of medicine drink to help Jake get is memory back, but it wasn't given more credence than Christianity. This wasn't the typical -Native Religion is better than Christianity- stuff that you often get with Hollywood.

To sum up:

So, I think a grownup or older teen who enjoys a wild science fiction action movie will enjoy this. It's a movie where you come out of there feeling like you were well entertained and not morally corrupted (provided you don't mind monster on cowboy violence). If you think your younger ones might like it, I'd suggest waiting for video so you can skip the coming attractions- unless your theater has some other policy than mine.

There has been inquiry about what the preacher said to one of the characters who was doubting his faith. I wrote it down. (Yeah, I'm the geek who takes notes in the movie theater.)
"You have to earn God's presence, then recognize it, and act on it."

I don't know if I'd have worded it quite that way (especially the word "earn"), but the idea behind it seems to be that you can't just go your merry way without reaching out the Lord and then expect to recognize Him working in your life. And when you do recognize Him in your life, you have to respond with action.

At least that's how I understand the preacher's words.


  1. I don't buy Daniel Craig as a Cowboy! He needs to stick playing James Bond. I'll wait until this movie is on Netflix.

  2. LOL
    I think he does a great job as the lone cowboy!

  3. Didn't read spoilers...This movie looks good. I am excited to see it.