Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Film Review: COWBOYS AND ALIENS (2011)

It's amazing and confusing just how underwhelming this movie is.  There is no reason that this shouldn't have been the action-pack romp that we've all been waiting for all summer.  Maybe it was crushed by expectations?  You have cowboys (which are awesome) and aliens (which are awesome).  You have a novel idea: cowboys and aliens (which sounds awesome).... and yet...It could have been titled Cowboys and Meh-lians.  Cause of all the "meh."  The "meh."  (ahem...)  More after the jump...

The movie boasts star power.  We have a film icon in Harrison Ford and a bona fide action hero in his own right in Daniel Craig.  It's Indiana Jones (albeit, an old, grumpy Indiana Jones) and James Bond (albeit, James Bond from Quantum of Solace) in the same fucking movie.  And we have Olivia Wilde being hot.  We have Iron Man's Jon Favreu directing.  You have writers who can boast credits such as Star Trek and Fringe (and, ok, Transformers 2... but still)... So, why doesn't it work?  Too many cooks spoling the broth?

I just didn't care.  The person I saw this movie with described it best.  It was "lifeless."  The extraordinary cast are all "going through the motions."  Which is amazing because how can you go through the motions of an alien invasion set during the 19th century America?  Nobody seems to be having any fun.  Harrison Ford's star fades into his character.  He does a great job, but he blends in too much.  Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde aren't given much to do character wise.  And there's too much emotional weight for a silly movie about about aliens and cowboys.  I'm not saying it needed a Jar Jar Binks, but it needed someone that the audience could ease the tension with.

The effects were nothing special.  That was odd and disappointing... although the aliens didn't get as much screen time as they should have gotten.  Too much cowboy.  Not enough alien.

Spoiler alert... the aliens invaded in search of gold.  At first I thought it was brilliant in its silliness... but it doesn't really make sense.  They have flying machines capable of intersteller travel... but they have trouble finding gold because it is a scarce resource?  Fuckin' we can make gold (with a particle accelerator or a nuclear reactor), and we're not even capable of intersteller travel.  You're telling me the aliens can't figure it out?  You're telling me this was easier?  What's the gold for?

The great battle at the end was okay but nothing interesting or new.

I liked that Daniel Craig got to be the archetypal badass "man with no name" for the first part of the movie.  I've been watching a lot of westerns lately, and I liked that choice.

Lots of character plot holes though... What was up with Craig's character's outlaw history?  What exactly was Olivia Wilde?  Paul Dano was great, but why do we care if he suddenly got his father's approval?

And maybe the following could explain why I didn't have much fun.  Public Service Announcement... I saw this at Cinemark Austin South Park Meadows... and things were crawling on my back... throughout the movie... biting me.  When I got home, I found four bites on my back.  Don't go there.

Overall, I didn't think this was anything good, and I foresee it being forgotten soon.  It's not a movie that will hurt anyone's career (considering the all-star cast), but it won't be one to help them either.  I give it 6 Little Indians.

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