Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: Cowboys & Aliens

For any hardcore sci-fi nerd, cowboys and aliens sounds like a match made in heaven and it may even be while in the form of a graphic novel. As a feature-length film? Not so much.

For the first twenty minutes Cowboys & Aliens is promising. Daniel Craig wakes up in the middle of a desert and doesn't remember a thing, with only a small picture and a shiny new wristband as clues to what happened.

Intriguing, yes?

Anyway, it isn't long before our oblivious hero wanders into a small town where he discovers he may or may not be wanted.

Do I still have your attention?

Well from there it plays out just like any self-respecting Western would: The new stranger in town kicks up some dirt, so to speak, and when push comes to shove, he knows how to kick ass. Sure, he can't even remember his own name but he can take out small armies of ruthless cowboys.

By the title you know it's only a matter of time until we see those lights on the horizon and once we do, it's just down hill from there...

Alien spacecrafts start bombing the small town and snatching up residents. However Daniel Craig shows those alien punks why you don't mess with even nineteenth century America when he shoots down one of the crafts (after which the entire seige on the town suddenly stops because those aliens flew all that way just to get scared).

Apparently the alien escapes the craft without anybody seeing because the next thing you know, it's already inside a building, mauling some poor man to death! The next day Craig and the rest of the survivors are tracking the alien down by his footprints (that's right, they can fly thousands of lightyears with limitless technology but they can't cover up their footprints).

Now I am not going to go through the entire movie with you, but it is full of obvious plot holes and weak explanations. Now I would be fine with no story and just seeing cowboys and aliens do battle, but since these filmmakers attempted a story, I cannot let it go.

Why are the aliens invading Earth? Oh, our resources? Thanks, Olivia Wilde! Too bad she doesn't really explain that either and I just pulled that together from little bits and pieces of her "big reveal". And What the f@&* is up with the gold?

Even the design of the aliens lacks any real originality. In fact, I could sware that these aliens come from the same planet as the one from Super 8 and at least the same sector as the one from Cloverfield.

I like Jon Favreau and I think he is an undeniably talented filmmaker and storyteller; however, not even he seems to make much sense of what's going on as the talented cast wanders from setpiece to setpiece, seemingly waiting for the "Ah ha!" moment where everything comes together... And waiting... And waiting...

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