Cowboys and Aliens- 2011
Directed by- Jon Favreau
Starring- Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde
Way back in 2010 I heard about a movie that would star Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, that was to be directed by John Favreau and produced by Steven Spielberg. This was exciting, James Bond and Indiana Jones together with the director of Iron Man and the inventor of the summer blockbuster, Steven Spielberg. Then I heard the title, Cowboys and Aliens. I thought to myself, the title is a little too on the nose for my tastes, but so was Snakes on a Plane, and I liked that movie – kind of. That brings me to today, and the question I’m sure most of you are here for: Is Cowboys and Aliens any good? I answer you with a resounding “nope.”
The shear fact that Cowboys and Aliens failed as a movie is shocking in and of itself, especially when you consider the smorgasbord of talent attached to the film, but the fact that this movie holds almost no dramatic weight should be considered a scandal by the movie going public. The characters are all one note: Daniel Craig’s character can’t remember who he used to be, Harrison Ford is grumpy, Sam Rockwell is nervous but determined (I suppose that’s two notes), Olivia Wilde is mysterious, and so on. Each character is given one characteristic to emote, which leaves the audience with characters that are just angry, or just confused, or just whatever, instead of flushed out characters that we can relate to, sympathize with, or at least feel some empathy towards. We are left with these character shells that we could care less about. For example, one of the main characters dies half way through the film, and is brought back to life in one of the most ridiculous scenes I’ve seen in quite sometime, and neither incident gave me a speck of caring. Dead? Whatever. Alive again? That’s cool. That’s about all you’re going to get here.
And then there are the aliens. I don’t know why filmmakers can’t give us aliens that have a clear motive for being on Earth, or at the very least a motive for why they want us all dead. In Cowboys and Aliens we are told they are here because they want gold. Why do they want gold, you ask? No reason, I guess they just like shiny things. Why do they kidnap humans? We’re told at one point that the aliens take humans in order to find out our “weakness.” Putting aside the vagueness of the term “weakness,” this becomes nonsensical, because the humans in the movie seem to be fairly weak when shot with a laser gun. In a later scene we are told that the aliens think of humans as mere insects. Why then do they need to kidnap humans to study for “weakness” if humans are considered more of a nuisance than an actual threat? To move the plot along I guess.
Cowboys and Aliens, however,does not fail because of the actors involved. Everyone in the cast does an excellent job with the little they have. The problem with this film lies either with the direction, or the script, most likely both. Whatever the case is, Cowboys and Aliens leaves the viewer too apathetic to care about the bigger action pieces, and this leaves the feeling as though there is no danger or consequences for any of the characters involved, which leaves me feeling as though I’ve wasted two hours of my life.
1½ out of 5
If you still want to see it, local showtimes for the Salt Lake City area are here.