Cowboys & Aliens (2011)


This might actually be taught in Texas history books.

Amnesiac gunslinger Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) stumbles into the Wild West town of Absolution, where he’s confronted by potent enemy Col. Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) and a terrifying problem: invading aliens. Aided by the lovely Ella (Olivia Wilde), Jake rallies a posse of the townspeople, Dolarhyde’s minions and local Apache warriors to fight off the extraterrestrial threat.

I’m not going to lie, when I first saw the trailer, I actually kind of thought it was totally dumb and the title itself had me chuckling. But then I saw who was involved, so my opinion changed. So here I’am telling that the title isn’t such a let-down after all.

For the most part, this film has a pretty bangin’ premise that and the action that goes down is all pretty well-done, which is a lot of thanks going to director Jon Favreau for that. He knows how to make an action sequence look good and the effects just look great. It’s always good to watch a film and not actually be able to tell what the real effects are, and what the fake ones are too.

However, when it comes to the writing, it doesn’t seem like they were all on the same page and when I mean “they”, I mean the five people that actually wrote this script together. Here and there we have a couple of amusing one-liners but too much of it just feels cheesy and nothing new we have seen before. When you watch this film, you don’t really think you need five writers to come up with something cool, like, say if a dude walks into a bar with this blaster on his hand. I could come up with 100 things that would be cool to come up with but the film just doesn’t and instead seems like nothing new.

This film also takes itself way too seriously, which in some cases isn’t so bad, but honestly when you have a film about cowboys and aliens duking it out, you can’t really expect people to want characters talking as if they just got of an episode of All My Children. I was expecting a lot of fun, wild, and crazy things to happen here but instead I just got what I’ve been seeing in every action blockbuster that has come out each and every Friday. I like a lot of those Summer blockbusters but come on, is this the best they could come up with?

Daniel Craig knows what to do when it comes to beating the shit out of people, but his performance as Jake Lonergan isn’t totally as memorable as it could have been. Craig in this film is channeling guys like Eastwood and John Wayne, where he lets his actions do the talking but the problem is that I actually wanted this guy to talk more so I could care about him. I mean just for him to spout a one-liner would have been cool with me but to just have this dude stand there, beat the crap out of people, and say nothing after it’s all said and done just kind of bothered me since Craig could have brought so much more to the table.

Harrison Ford is alright as the kind of good guy, kind of bad guy role as Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde. Ford still has that signature old deuche-baggery act to him but it doesn’t seem to work as much as it used to and I think he should start doing some different stuff because it seems pretty laughable. Olivia Wilde is alright but is way too hot and sexy for this film, which isn’t to say anything bad about her performance it’s just that in a place where all these dudes are constantly dirty and sweating, to have a chick look like she just got out of a commercial for Loreal looks a bit dumb. Sam Rockwell is pretty good here and stands-out the most because he has that comedic timing that always seems to work.

Consensus: Though it promised so much more, Cowboys & Aliens has some good action sequences and gives us what we see in the title, but suffers from writing that doesn’t bring anything new to the table and brings us constant cliches, bad one-liners, and an overall feel of disappointment because we know this could have been so much more wild than what we got. You got Han Solo and James Bond loading up their guns looking to shoot some aliens, how hard could it have been!?!?

5.5/10=Rental!!

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32 comments

  1. So far I’ve only seen lukewarm reviews on this movie… I think the director might be the problem, Iron Man seems to be his one hit wonder o.O Didn’t realise Sam Rockwell is in this, does he appear a lot?

    • Sam Rockwell is a strong supporting character, and is in the movie quite a bit, Ipodman. I agree that his performance was one of the best. He’s an incredibly talented actor, and it shows here as well.

  2. Nice review! In reply to your comment on my review, and what you have in this review, I have to disagree that this film takes itself TOO seriously. The first act has Craig and Ford in tongue-in-cheek mode – at least that is what I picked up on – and then, as the story progresses, and things start taking a more serious tone, they fall into the reality of the situation. This is a sign of good directing, in my opinion. I want to see how these characters would handle this situation, because to the characters, everything that is happening is real, and I thought it was just the right amount of seriousness, for lack of a better phrase.

    With that said, I do agree that more action would have been a positive for a summer blockbuster. I loved that the script took time to build these characters, which I actually thought were quite fully realized, but the action sequences were so much fun that I wanted to see more.

    Anyway, thanks for reading and replying to my review, and I thoroughly enjoyed your take on the movie!

    • Thanks! I just felt that this could have been so much more original and ground-breaking but instead was just sort of there and the action could have had so much more to do with the story really.

    • I agree here. Craig is playing an homage to the old west characters more than an actual character himself. He’s boiled down a lot of their traits to their bare minimum, and even though he says little most of his actions and emotions are so bold that they still come across.

      Also, having a lot of writers doesn’t necessarily make for problems. X-Men first class was pretty cohesive and that had five writers. As did Thor, which I liked, but other’s opinions seem to vary on that one. Going back a little further, The Deer Hunter had five writers, too.

      Nice review by the way, quite enjoyable.

      • This is an OK ride but to say the least five writers didn’t really needed to be done for this film because in the end, this is what really crushed the film.

  3. I wasn’t as hard on this, I thought it WAS disappointing, but still passable.

    I actually thought it was the action that failed it the most. Sure… The script doesn’t break any new ground… A posse forms up to chase someone(s) who was kidnapped. Only this time the kidnappers are aliens not Indians. But if it had been supported by unique, exciting action sequences, the genre mashing and the action would have carried the day.

    Instead, seeing as the action was so bland, people start seeing the other flaws in the flick, too.

    LOL. Do you really think Harrison Ford is a douchebag?

    • Ford is total douche bag, but he still plays roles well. I agree with your review except for Craig. I thought he did a great job with the few lines given and that not must else was needed there. He also did a really great job with the accent, considering he’s English. Rockwell was definitely the standout, like the guys above said, he’s a fantastic actor.

      http://httproductions.blogspot.com/2011/07/cowboys-and-aliens-and-lame-movie.html

      I didn’t write this review and liked the movie a bit more then he did, but it’s much of the same thoughts. In the end, C&A is just a cool, entertaining summer flick. It works that way.

      • Well this film could have been so much better and although I wouldn’t go as far as calling it bland, I still have to say that this film kind of pissed me off by how awesome it really could have been.

  4. Hey, thanks for the comment. I agree with your review as well, and you picked up on the taking itself too seriously business, that I left out. The writers didn’t find that balance between the two genres, I’ve thought about this since watching the movie, and it is the writers’ fault. It’s a wonder why they didn’t pen GiJoe? and ruin another childhood aspect of my life.
    Hopefully Favreau will come out of this spotless.

    • The writers could have done such a better job with this awesome material it’s just a shame that nothing here really happened other than just some cool action and bland story-line.

  5. Good point about the number of writers. You would think with that many they could get it right, but often when that many work on a project, it’s not a good sign. I found the action to be pretty boring honestly though, and agree with many of you other statements.

    As a huge Indy fan growing up, I’ve been disappointed that Harrison Ford is starting to be typecast as the “cranky old guy.”

  6. The script had its good and bad points. I liked when it made me laugh, like Dolarhyde’s response when the group learns why the aliens have come to earth and most of Doc’s time on the trail.

    Basically I went in wanting to like the movie because I love Westerns, and with that mindset had a good time.

  7. I liked the one liners. My biggest problem was the poor CGI. Hey, thanks for coming by my blog to comment. Overall, it was better than I thought it would be after the horrible reviews I read.

  8. I’ve actually got to say that, though I loved the movie for its general badassitry, I’ll agree with everything you said in this review. The writing did leave a little more to be desired, and they could’ve definitely played out Craig’s character a bit more. All in all, great review!

  9. For me, a good percentage of this film was good. But at about the hour-twenty was when things got ugly (and not in a good way). Was wanting so much more from it. Great review!

  10. Good review Dan. I agree with you. Craig should’ve had more to say…valid point.

    I thought the film was funny in that, as Olivia Wilde pointed out in an interview, they all have pretty sparkling teeth for living out in the southwest of 1875! haha.

    Film coulda been better.

    btw, did you see this? Cowboys and Aliens fun made parody vid featuring Jon Favreau himself? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71YsRO6G7Ks

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