Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cowboys & Aliens [2011]

Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Clancy Brown, Noah Ringer
Genre: Science fiction/Western
Rating: General
Comment: "It would have been a lot more forgettable if it wasn't for its outlandish premise..."

A man wakes up in the desert with strange device strapped to his wrist and a wound on his midsection, with no idea how he got either one of them. But worse still, he has no recollection of who he is. He begins to wander around aimlessly and ends up in a small town where he quickly captures the attention of its inhabitants. But the town has yet another surprise waiting for them when the sun goes down.

What to Expect
1. Another fairly retarded alien invasion movie
2. Rather bland
3. Memorable enough characters
4. Underused talents

What NOT to Expect
1. The movie to tie up all loose ends
2. A sense of accomplishment

If you want my opinion, this movie is more hype than actually being good. It's not unwatchable, that's not what I'm saying. But chances are a couple of days from now, the title and the lead actors will be the only thing you'll remember from this movie. Now, as far as alien invasion movies go, you could do a lot worse, but you'll have a better time watching World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles [2011] because Cowboys & Aliens followed the Alien invasion playbook, and played it step by step.

The only difference being, well, they have cowboys in here.

And gorgeous Miss Wilde...
In fact, here's a little something you could try, just for fun. Before you walk into the theatre, make a mental note of things you'd expect to see in movies involving alien invasions. After that, you scratch out "hilarious oversight regarding the alien's incompatibility with any elements on planet Earth" and everything else should play out exactly the way you'd expect.

Again I reiterate, the only difference here being the cowboys.

So is that good or bad? Well, you will get to see Daniel Craig in leather chaps (read: man-crush alert!) but I thought everything else was rather bland, probably because I've seen enough of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood to notice that there's hardly anything unique in this movie. There's potential, sure. But perhaps it would have fared off better in the hands of someone with a greater sense of irony.

I'm telling you, Daniel Craig in leather chaps FTW!
With that being said, I couldn't quite grasp what was it that this movie was trying to sell. It certainly didn't live up to its hype, meaning you just feel like they could have done more and not resort to mere explosions to keep the audience entertained. But I'm not suggesting that they should have gone the camp route either, I thought it was rather refreshing that they didn't poke fun at the material, which would have been the easy way out.

But at the same time it still felt a little jarring. First, it was a Western, then it turned into a Creature Feature before evolving into what I could only describe as the beginning of an intergalactic warfare.

Alright, no more jerking around. I feel like I'd be cheating you if I don't mention that this was one of those alien invasion movies where the it took half a dozen of humans to dispatch one alien, while it was suggested earlier in the movie that the ones we saw were only scouts. So by the end of the movie you can't help but think, "well, what was the point of that?!"

They're fucked anyway...
Should you go see it?
I know I probably read too much into it, perhaps it was meant to be taken as a popcorn flick. If it was, then I would say that the idea was lost on me. So if you ask me, I'd say you can afford to skip on this one, there's no urgency whatsoever and even if you do miss it, you wouldn't miss out on much.

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