Monday, August 1, 2011

Cowboys & Aliens

I couldn't think of a smartass title for this thing and neither loved, nor hated it enough to make a comment.  This movie is the perfect example of a flawed movie.  It has its moments and the action is good, the alien design is really good, but there are problems with the script...which shouldn't surprise anyone, considering that Kurtzman and Orci co-wrote it...with 3 other people...a word to the wise if there are more than 3 people writing a script (and sometimes even when there are 3 people writing it), it's probably not that great...I mean it's not rocket science people...though sometimes, you wonder.

So, let's get down to what I liked.  I did like the action.  You could see it, there were plenty of scenes at the end where the aliens were attacking the cowboys and the cowboys were fighting the aliens.  Good stuff.  For those who are alien fans though, you don't see much of the aliens before the climatic battle.  A scene or two.  Not much.  I liked the character designs of the aliens, as well.  They looked like a cross between a golem and an alien from the Alien series.  They were big and menacing and did what bad-guy aliens tend to do which is attack.  Their ships were cool, as well...looked like dragonflies.  

For the actors, I really thought Daniel Craig did a solid job.  He carries the movie (sorry Harrison Ford fans, his role was a bit diminished...I'll talk about that later) and other than him and Olivia Wilde, no one else of the human cast really does much.  Harrison gets some wisecracks in and what not, which are one of the highlights of the film, but really, this is Harrison Ford, I think he should be treated a little better on the screen. 

Okay, so I mentioned as much to my folks, who I saw the movie with and their comment was "well, he's getting old."  True, but you know who was carrying movies into his 70's?  Sean Connery.  As well as Anthony Hopkins, Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman.  The thing is, Daniel Craig is good, but he's not enough.  I remember seeing something recently about Craig being a character actor and I think that's a solid description of him.  He's a good second banana, a good intense heavy, but when you have him and Harrison Ford, I don't care if Harrison Ford is 90, he can still carry a movie better than Craig.  Oh, not too happy that Sam Rockwell was wasted...I like that guy, I think he's underrated, but he had no purpose in this film, whatsoever. 

Now, it's time to talk about the script...which had problems.  It starts out well enough, but man oh man, the reason why the aliens come to Earth is lame.  So lame that Harrison Ford's character makes fun of it in the film.  That's right, one of the characters in the film comments on how ridiculous the reason is.  While you would think that would be to explain "no, no, no, there is a good motivation behind the reason", there isn't.  I also liked how Craig remembered what the aliens did to him.  If you ever can't remember something from the past, just have an Indian Chief give you something, you'll remember in a jiffy.  Also, why did Harrison Ford reward his son at the end of the film, considering the little snot-nosed brat did nothing but annoy people in the beginning of the film?  Also and I don't know how much you can blame the writers, considering the premise of the movie, but other than Daniel Craig, no one should be able to fight the aliens and be that successful...considering that Craig's bracelet is the only technology on par with what the aliens have.  The aliens underestimating the humans should work for a surprise attack, but nothing else.

So, that's Cowboys & Aliens.  I definitely liked parts of it, but there was still stuff that I was a little ehh on.  I'm solidly in the middle for this film and will neither put it in my top 10 or bottom 10.  Will I buy it?  Only if it's cheap and I need to buy something to get a better deal on something else I really do want. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

- Stephenstein

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