Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Release Movies: Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

Quantom: Every now and then a film will come along and tell you exactly what it is from the title alone. Films such as "Batman Begins" and "Snakes on a Plane," among many others. Batman Begins obviously tells us it's about the origins of Batman, but it builds up a rich story throughout the course of the film, which is still continuing two films later. Snakes on a Plane on the other hand, is 90 minutes worth of Samuel L. Jackson and snakes on a plane. So here then, we have "Cowboys & Aliens." The question is, which is it? A film that uses its title as the basis for an intriguing story, or two hours of cowboys and aliens?

Jables:  Batman definitely began in that movie.  With a title like this it may as well be "I Married a Monster from Outer Space", which is probably a better movie.

Cowboys & Aliens follows the story of Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig), an amnesiac trying to figure out who he is in the Wild West of Arizona. He wakes up with a flesh wound and a strange bracelet on his wrist that he is unable to remove. From there, he makes his way into the town of Absolution, and meets a cast of characters including Doc (Sam Rockwell), Ella (Olivia Wilde) and the gruff Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). Things seem to be going bad for Jake as it becomes known he's a wanted criminal, and he's being taken away...before aliens attack and everything goes to hell.

Bracelet in action
I'm a fan of Rockwell.  Also a shout out to Keith Carradine of Dexter fame.  He was good in this though spent most of the movie on the alien ship.  What a waste.

The cast on paper looks fantastic. Bond. Indy. Awesome Rockwell. Director Jon Favreau seems to have a lot of connections, and must have pulled some strings to get three leading actors in the one film. It's one of those movies then, that should have lots of ingredients to make it a good'un. Unfortunately, something just seems off about the whole affair. The acting ranges from being just okay to laughably hammy, not helped by Olivia Wilde being generally terrible and some really cheesy acting from the supports. Bond, Indy and Rockwell definitely seem like they're just doing their jobs, and not once did I feel there was a compelling scene.

Ford and Craig are powerhouses and they are wasted here.  They appeared to just be going through the motions.  I'm a fan of Rockwell too but he had some a minor part.  Wilde was the big loser for me.  She was out of place and just terrible.

The visuals in Cowboys & Aliens run the gamut from being impressive in landscape and scale to almost Green Lantern bad with the aliens...okay that might be a stretch, but it is disappointing that so many films are coming out with big budgets and CGI that just look so average and unrealistic. We still don't have aliens that better the ones in the film Aliens, in my humble opinion. The western setting looks good enough; most of it is set in wide-open spaces and some of the shots among canyons and mesas are solid.

Totally agree.  They aren't in the same league as Green Lantern but they are still pretty bad.  I love a good western and this had all the elements that make westerns fun.  The landscape, the costumes, the horse, the gun play etc.  Throw some alien technology into it and you would think it was a sure thing.  Boy were we wrong.

Bond and random bird
To answer the earlier question, Cowboys & Aliens is a film that is two hours of cowboys and aliens doing stuff. The story is pretty bad, and has some of the most ridiculous scenes in a recent blockbuster. You'll know what I mean when you get to a certain one involving Ella (Wilde). The problem is that there are quite a few of these forehead-slapping scenes throughout the movie. Worst of all, it's just not that interesting. In fact, it's boring, and as Mr Old said while watching, "Has this movie been going forever, or is it just me?" No Mr Old, it wasn't just you.

The story was bad.  Which isn't a surprise as they had about 6-7 writers working on the screenplay.  The biggest disappointment with the writing was that Damon Lindelof was involved and it was still terrible.  Let's hope he doesn't ruin Prometheus.

Indy looking so damn old

Cowboys & Aliens is actually a bit of a disappointment. In our "Predicition" we guessed that this would be a solid blockbuster movie. It's got the guy behind Iron Man, some great actors, and a premise that should write itself (seriously, how do you fuck up cowboys and aliens fighting?). In the end, it's just lackluster, and is missing any semblance of excitement or anything interesting. I give Cowboys & Aliens 4 out of 10.

Our early predictions were way off the mark and this movie left us bored and unfulfilled.  How you can go wrong with a movie staring Bond and Indy and being about Cowboys and Aliens, I don't know.  It's not like Jon Favreau has a problem directing action movies.  Iron Man was amazing but then again Iron Man 2 was a pile of turd.  

The idea of having Cowboys and Aliens together probably works better in the comic book form that it was initially created but the big screen adaption just doesn't work for me.  4.5/10

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