Stars: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde and Sam Rockwell
Director: Jon Favreau
Oh, I know I will take some heat for this, but I didn’t much care for Cowboys and Aliens, an adaptation of a comic book from Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. For me, it is the biggest disappointment of the summer. It had so much going for it. A great cast, a great director (Iron Man), Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are listed as producers and the great Steven Spielberg is one of the executive producers. But oh, did it fail to deliver. It didn’t help that just before it, there was a preview for the next movie based on a board game, Battleship, but that’s another rant for another day.
Set in the old west of 1873, a stranger, Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig), wakes up to find that he has a mysterious shackle attached to one wrist and no memory of who he is. He is in the town of Absolution (really?) a town that lives in fear because of the way it is run by iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). The town doesn’t care for strangers. Suddenly, they are attacked by space ships that zoom through and wrangle up many of the townsfolk including the Colonel’s son. Lonergran knows a thing or two about fighting and soon works together with the Colonel, members of the town, nearby indians, Absolution’s new bartender Doc (Sam Rockwell). When another stranger, and a woman at that, wants to join them, they agree without a fight which seems odd for the odd west who supposedly took care of the women and children.
While hard to pinpoint the mistakes of this film, Cowboys and Aliens is a mess. Although not a terrible movie, it’s not great either. The choices in actors are fine but they are stuck with soan adaptation of Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s comic bookme of the worst dialogue ever, (Young Man: I wish you had been my father. Old Man: I wish I had a son just like you.). You don’t end caring for any of them except maybe Doc, the new city slicker bartender who doesn’t know how to shoot a gun. His English accent missing, Craig scowls more than speaks. Everything you like about Harrison Ford has been reduced to a grumpy old man – again. Movie cliches are rampant as well. (Horses are begin killed left and right, but don’t worry, the dog will be okay.)
Cowboys and Aliens has too many storylines and too many characters and never gives you a reason to care for any of them. The movie does feature a lot of action, but few surprises. It starts off well with a mystery, but as that mystery is revealed, eyes will roll. Except for some language, there isn’t much to be offended with but there isn’t any message either. There was much unintentional laughter filling the theater from where I sat but then, many still clapped with appreciation at the end. To each his own I guess.