Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cowboys & Aliens - Movie Review

As the previews have shown, Cowboys & Aliens stars Daniel Craig as a man who awakens in the desert with no memory of who is or how he got there. He's wearing a mysterious metal bracelet on his wrist that he cannot remove. When a few random thugs find him, he quickly dispatches them, so you understand that he's a badass. However, once he reaches a local town, it becomes clear that he's a wanted man. Harrison Ford's character originally arrives in town to either collect the gold that Craig's stolen from him or collect on the reward that has been offered.

As Ford's character is preparing to take Craig away, lights appear out of nowhere, and open fire on the town. They kidnap several people. The attack stops when Daniel Craig's mysterious wrist bracelet activates and they find it's a weapon that actually can harm the ships.

A group of the remaining town members leave to track down the aliens and find their kidnapped friends and family.

Cowboys & Aliens took a little too long to get going. Initially, I was actually digging this because it very much felt like a standard western, and I still like a good western. However, once the aliens get involved, it actually became less interesting to me. It's all very nice looking, but there just wasn't a lot going on. They really seemed to stretch this out needlessly. The movie is two hours long, but it felt like a good 20 minutes could have been cut from it.

I thought Daniel Craig was really great. Harrison Ford was just kind of cantankerous and old. It kind of felt like he was phoning it in. Sam Rockwell, Keith Carradine and Paul Dano were good, but underused. Olivia Wilde was okay, but I thought her character wasn't written all that well. It's just a waste of a great cast.

I think they missed the mark by not going for camp and trying to treat this seriously. It's not as funny as it should have been. The movie was just way too serious.

The alien design was cool, but I didn't think there was enough to them as far as their motivation went. You just don't care all that much or feel the menace here. When you find out why the aliens are there, you just kind of go, "Um, okay."

One of the things that really bugged me was then when the final battle starts, the humans are just getting slaughtered , but the battle seemed to drag on. The aliens had superior weapons, and were faster and stronger. You wonder how the humans could have stood any chance at all, especially with how few of them there were and how quickly they seemed to die. Plus, it's annoying in a movie when weapons only seemed to have any effect when it was used for dramatic purposes, like when the script called for it. They are either vulnerable to our weapons, or not.

I'll say this, at least Favreau tried to do something a little different. When the Summer movie seasons are now filled with sequels and superhero movies, it was nice to see an attempt at something different. However, I'm such a big Favreau fan that I was expecting this to be a bit funnier and faster paced.

Cowboys & Aliens is not bad, but it's just not something I'd recommend rushing out to see. After I saw the movie with my friends, nobody really had anything to say about the movie one way or another. Just a few observations, but that's about it.

I don't see me buying this on Blu-Ray anytime soon. I don't even think I'd bother renting this again unless they came out with an extended, Director's cut. It's a matinee at best, but I think most of you can save this for a rental.

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