Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cowboys & Aliens

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Cowboys & Aliens - 3 out of 5

When I first watched this trailer, all I said was, "Okay, so this movie is James Bond and Han Solo as cowboys fighting aliens--also the hot chick from House is in it along with the epic dude who does Mr. Krabs' voice and one of my favorite actors Sam Rockwell, too?  And the director that gave us Iron Man is at the helm?  Stop drilling movie, you have struck oil!"  I wanted to see this one in the theater but I'm a very poor man and had to wait until I could get this one for a buck at Redbox but now that I've finally seen it, it's not as good as I hoped it would have been.

But it's not entire terrible either.

Look at the exhaust on that alien ship.  What a bunch of A-holes--polluting the Earth years
before man has a chance to do it...jerks.
I don't really need to give you any details of the film's story because the title says it all...cowboys are fighting some aliens (okay, the word "fighting" may not be in the title but who would expect a film where cowboys have tea with aliens?).  The movie is based on a graphic novel that, I'll be honest, I haven't read.  I'm a big fan of comics and graphic novels but, another casualty in my poor financial status is the fact that I can't read all the comics I want to...and sadly, there's no Redbox where I can get a comic for a buck.

This pic is for the fellas...

And this one's for the ladies.  You're welcome.

I walked into this film expecting a big budget, non-stop action popcorn film where six-shooting men in ten gallon hats take on invaders from beyond the moon.  For the most part, I got that but there were many things working against this film and ended up hurting the potential the title alone gives it.  One of the biggest distractions is the length of the film.  While a two-hour action film is great, the problem with the length comes into view as most of the action is at the beginning and in the climax of the story.  The in-between is filled with, and this was kinda strange for a movie called Cowboys & Aliens, was a story that began to take itself way, wayyyyy too seriously.  This ended up causing the movie to drag in the middle as it focused nearly entirely on backstory and action was nowhere to be seen on the plains of C&A.  That being said, at no point was the dragging to the point it hurt my attention to the film.  But it wasn't helping it either.

Oh, so that's what the kid from The Last Airbender
looks like with let's see what he
looks like with acting talent.

Where's that blaster at your side when you
need it, Han?
The second drawback that hurt the film's promise is the erratic acting of Harrison Ford.  Has Indiana Jones stopped trying or was he just way too stoned for this one?  When his character of Woodrow Dolarhyde was introduced, he was a gruff, angry sort of man you don't want to piss off and that, my friends, was cool.  Then, half-way through the film, he becomes a jabbering mess of comic relief that made me afraid that his time around Shia LaBeouf during the filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull had rubbed off on him and made him insane (please don't be in the new Transformers movies Ford).  But as the giant battle against the aliens culminates in the third act, his character returns to the bad-assery that was promised when he was first introduced.

It's true, this man is the voice of Mr. Krabs.
But the hot chick from House was in it and so was my boys Clancy Brown and Sam Rockwell. Yeah, Olivia Wilde was in it but ultimately her performance was very flat and she literally brought nothing to her role other than being easy on the eyes.  Clancy Brown was great as the preacher who joins in on the hunt to take out the menace from the stars but not enough screen time is given to this incredibly talented actor and the same injustice is done to Rockwell (I'm still angry he wasn't nominated for Best Actor for Moon).  Even though Rockwell's character was flat and didn't bring much to the story, letting Rockwell do his thing and give life to the character could only have helped this film.

First he doesn't get nominated for Moon and now he's not used in Cowboys & Aliens?  Unfair!
I have a man crush on Daniel Craig--seriously, I
want to be the man
But at least James Bond was a badass, right?  In that case, the answer is yes.  Daniel Craig was great in his role and even pulled off an acceptable Western accent (even though he spoke about a dozen times in the film).  But in the end, Cowboys & Aliens was passable entertainment.  The film was far from fantastic but it wasn't completely terrible either.  There were elements that didn't work and elements that did.  The title promised horsemen in the old west taking on monsters from another galaxy and it gave us that, just not enough of it.  I'll even add that the aliens' design was very cool--especially when you consider how hard it is to come up with a remotely original alien nowadays.  Sure there were elements I wasn't fond of but at no point did these elements become too much for me and ended up hurting the overall entertainment factor of the film--this factor just wasn't as high as I wanted it to be.  When all is said and done, I felt Cowboys & Aliens was okay.  There have definitely been worse westerns and alien films I've sat through and the combining of both genres ended up coming up with a middle of the road film that was passably entertaining.

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