Review: Cowboys and Aliens

THE SETUP: A man (Daniel Craig) wakes up with memory loss and a hi-tech bracelet in the Wild West only to find that the journey to get back what he lost is interrupted by a hard-ass rancher (Harrison Ford), a mysterious woman (Olivia Wilde) and a group of aliens, which may actually be responsible for the amnesia.


THE THOUGHTS:
Well that was disappointing. Apparently adding James Bond, Indiana Jones, the hotness of Olivia Wilde and the director of Iron Man doesn’t necessarily mean the result will blow you away. The story, the action, the special effects…all good. But not SUMMER MOVIE BOX OFFICE CRAZY good. The mashing of the Western and Sci-fi elements was a cool idea and did actually fit a lot better than you would think but it was the characters that didn’t deliver. It was like they were relying too much on the audience loving them for the roles they’d previously played rather than in this one. The only real standouts were Paul Dano as Harrison Ford’s spoiled jerk of a son and Adam Beach as his largely ignored adopted son. Dano just got to enjoy himself while Beach brought the only real emotion to the movie. You almost forget Sam Rockwell is even in this which is too bad when he usually elevates any movie he’s in. No chance here.

Is it cool to see Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford kickass in a western? Yes. But this movie either needed to turn up the “holy crap” action pieces or dial it down to a more acting-heavy 120 minutes.

COWBOYS AND ALIENS Rating:
2 stars
– it’s a renter. In a summer of “meh”, Cowboys and Aliens just adds to the pile. It’s great to see these actors together but I wish it had been in a movie that made me care more.

Random Recommendations
Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) – With Cowboys and Aliens mashing up a couple of genres, I thought I’d recommend a few of the best of each. Clint Eastwood, western, SOLD. He was already well out of the Spaghetti Westerns and into Dirty Harry when this came out but it really showed where his sweet spot is. Violent, moralistic, pure western.

WestWorld(1973) – A movie the consistently talk about remaking…because it was awesome. Rich tourists looking for a little something different, stay at the next level of amusement park – a place where robot Yul Brynner goes crazy and kills everyone. Ahead of its time and still stands up fairly well.

 Review: Cowboys and Aliens
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