Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens

 I like cowboy and sci-fi movies so it isn't a surprise that someone came up with the idea to make a mash of the two genres. Sure this is based on a comic strip, but the premise has surprisingly not been done before. I mean mash ups aren't new, with the likes of the Predator and Aliens franchise being mashed into Predator vs Alien several years back. So with a stellar cast I liked the look of this, and I really wanted to see Daniel Craig in action again in anticipation of his coming 2012 Bond outing.

 But my anticipation was seriously let down, and I received a wet fish slap in the face instead! The actors on display here are some of the best in the business, and very experienced, yet they all display a remarkable amount of Keanu Reeves woodenness in their respective roles. Daniel Craig looked good as a dirtied up cowboy, but he wasn't given any decent dialogue, let alone characterisation. He is just there, and well.....just there.

 Harrison Ford I have always like since his Han Solo role I remember as a wide eyed,  7 year old, when I first saw Star Wars. But like Craig, his character is thin and somewhat hard to comprehend at times. At first he is a hard bitten arsehole who virtually runs the town of Absolution. And yet he wavers to touches of softness, and heaven forbid, compassion. The ambiguities in the character shifted too much and the role lost credibility. What was he supposed to be really? I think the role of wealthy town owning arsehole should have stuck, and been played right throughout.

 Sam Rockwell is completely wooden and under utilised. I got the feeling he was being treated as the, 'boy', on the set when up against his bigger billed counter parts Craig and Ford. Olivia Wilde is, well...just there, as is the rest of the cast..who ever they were! I don't blame the actors themselves as I think the script is poor and the dialogue mediocre. Actors can't be blamed for that, and they themselves would have known early on in the piece that they were making a poor movie. Unfortunately good acting won't save a movie alone, and I think the cast went through the motions just to get it done and dusted, so they could quickly move on.

 I liked the first half of the movie but it lost me once the ubiquitous Indians turned up. From there on in it became cliqued and the editing erratic and clumsy. The Indian scene was poorly done as I instantly thought, 'this is a mistake as the Indian is being made out to be the clique it has always been in Hollywood terms..namely the bad guy savage'. Well it did turn out a bit differently but from there on in the movie fell apart somewhat.

 It was funny to do a write up on, A fistful of Dollars, and then watch this, because it was instantly apparent that Hollywood has forgotten how to make a western! The visuals were there with the town and clothing, but it lacked that something westerns of old had. Even grubbing up Craig's face and clothes didn't bring it.

 And then I really spat the dummy because the aliens could have been lifted straight from the awful Super 8!! I mean I thought they looked exactly the same as the Super 8 alien, being just a bit more pissed off! Even one scene replicated a Super 8 one. Think of the boy in the upturned paddle steamer when the alien finds him and closes up to his face. Did it, or did it not, remind you of the scene in Super 8 where towards the end the alien sticks his face in the boys??! It did me! So no marks from me for even making an original alien, as it is no more an aggressive alien from another alien movie.

 The CGI was actually quite good and thankfully kept to a minimum. I mean how can you honestly CGI cowboys after Hollywood has immortalised them in the past without CGI?! And yet the action scenes didn't work. I found the editing too jerky as a scene moved from one shot to another that didn't gel to the last. Like I say, the art of  western making has gone, and this movie shows it up.

 So I left the theatre earlier today wondering in all honesty, 'why bother?' I enjoyed parts of the movie, but the middle when the Indians came into it was a turning point, and it lost me. The script and dialogue was mediocre to say the least, and the cast couldn't be expected to get anything more out of it than they did. The mediocrity just led to the woodeness of the cast, and the lack of chemistry between them all. Harrison Ford's character seemed to be a chameleon and changed its colours too often, which left me wondering what his character was actually meant to be. It was just a movie that by the end felt as if it just went through the paces in an effort to make a few quick easy bucks.

 Some good points, and a real no brainer if you want that, but overall a premise that was butchered by a poor script that gave the fine cast nothing to work with. Ultimately.....unfulfilling with a stench of total pointlessness. 6/10 from me.

Click here for a synopsis and more:

And here for the official site:


  1. Good review that is consistent with other reviews I've read, will still have a look when I get a chance.

  2. It's worth a watch when you want a no brainer. Just don't expect too much!

  3. Think you hit the nail on the head, bad script just kind of makes everything else go to waste. There's no life to the film and worse of all very little fun.

  4. Yeah Daniel it just didn't work at all. One of the most pointless movies you could ever, or should that be never, want to see. I wanted it to be better but this is a turkey.

  5. I think I liked it a little better than you did. The script was minimal, so I think an advantage in the end. Good review.

  6. I liked parts of it but it all just came across as being wooden, just lifeless.

  7. A friend of mine saw this and said pretty much the same as your review - great cast, completely wasted. He also mentioned how morose and po-faced serious it was. With a title (and a concept) like 'Cowboys and Aliens', you expect it to be cheesy, fun and breathlessly entertaining. Seems like the filmmakers made all the wrong decisions with this one.

  8. Po faced and serious is exatly right!! All the ingredients are there for a rollicking good entertaining movie but boy it was stuffed up and badly. A waste of a damn good cast.

  9. I was actually planning to make the trip to the cinema to go and see this one, but I'm just gonna wait for the DVD now. I must say, I'm pretty disappointed with the way the reviews turned out for this one, because it looked like it had a whole lot of potential!

  10. That's its problem...unfulfilled potential!! I really wanted this to work as the premise and cast are great, but sadly it just doesn't happen.

  11. During the Indian scene Harrison Ford actually said (something like!) "This is ridiculous" when referring to aliens coming to earth to loot our gold. I was in hysterics and from then on I was done with the film.

    We will have to agree to disagree on the Super8 alien but I agree with you here - they were awful looking.

    Cowboys and Aliens was a ridiculously brilliant idea but just didn't work - it should have but it didn't

  12. Harrison Ford's character was just all over the place, but he can't be blamed for that as he doesn't write the script. But it was a poor movie. Makes me wonder how even before filming starts that no-one picked up what a clunker it was going to be and walked away from it.
    Nothing worked at all. Super 8 was the worst movie of the year for me...even worse than this. Yet I will say I didn't hate C & A as much as Super 8!!!.