Cowboys & Aliens (PG-13)
Runtime: 118 minutes
Starring: Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig
Director: Jon Favreau
Original Ranking: 3
On paper, heck, even in the trailers, this movie seemed awesome! How could you not love a genre mash-up? Not only do you have Speilberg and Brian Grazer producing, you have the very talented Favreau behind the camera. Also, make sure to have two very iconic movie stars and throw in a really hot chick and instant success. The formula is quite simple:
1. Find two genres to mix up.
2. Get some well-loved actors/filmmakers to do it.
Well, sometimes too many ingredients (or as Maggie likes to put it - too many flavors) can ruin something special. It's like when I tried to make the ultimate pizza the other night. Maggie was having a ladie's night in (watching a movie and eating pizza), so some of them brought over their own pizza toppings. Being stuck upstairs with not much to do, I decided to throw everything we had onto the pizza! Great idea, right? WRONG! I had goat cheese mixed in with red olives and on top of that sausage and pepperoni and a handful of other ingredients. Well, you can understand how stupid that may seem now. But I was hungry and needed all those awesome ingredients now! Point being, it may seem like awesome sauce from within the confines of your hungry brain, but step back and it's a disaster. This is Cowboys & Aliens.
The movie starts off really well - they had the atmosphere of the western down to a T. Daniel Craig wakes up after being anally probed (just a hunch, really) and has some crazy bracelet/weapon locked onto his wrist. Of course, he's a bad guy who cannot remember a damn thing and it's up to Olivia Wilde to show him who he really is (that is, a nice guy who doesn't talk much and who just did some bad things). Harrison Ford shows up as the local mob boss who runs the town and wants his money back that Craig stole. Yada, yada yada, aliens invade the town and snatch up all their loved ones and it's up to both cranky pants and mutey to band with outlaws and Indians to save the day!
It all sounds awesome, but it gets real messy after the first aliens attack. Not only do they ride out in search of the kidnapped, but they decide it's a great idea to take the prisoner (Craig) and set him free because he has that weapon bracelet thingy. And they take a kid with them because apparently no one wants to take care of him back home. The frontier is harsh, man. Then they find out (SPOILER!) that Olivia Wilde is an alien herself, sent to warn the humans about the other aliens. Who, BTW, are just here to take all of our gold. And apparently research us because they want to know our weaknesses. It's all just a bit too ridiculous for me to swallow. Oh the moviemakers definitely wanted a sequel to happen - Wilde warned everyone that this is a just a scouting party. She mentions that if they stop them and destroy their ship, they'll all be safe. Umm, no, wouldn't that just make the other aliens mad to know their scouting party never came back? So I'm guessing that's the sequel (which will probably never happen after its miserable performance at the box office). (END OF SPOLERS!)
Plus, the climactic battle at the end is all sorts of messy. They go down into battle and the aliens are killing all of them (they only had about 50 humans, but it seemed like they had 150 by the time everything was over - so many people died!) and after one of the main guys gets killed, Harrison Ford gets off his horse and cradles the dude and sheds a tear for him! So did all the aliens just leave the area or did they all just stop killing the humans so we could all share this touching scene? It was weird and that happened more than once (not Harrison Ford crying, just spontaneously stopping the battle).
Another thing - I'm getting sick of aliens looking the same in all the movies - they're slimy and have scaly, reptile skin,. Their limbs are backwards and all the aliens look the same. It's like this in almost every alien movie lately - Super 8, District 9, Battle: Los Angeles. Don't get me wrong I love those movies, but can't we get someone new to design these aliens? And on top of that, the climactic battle scene was so chaotic I really could not tell what was happening half the time because the CGI aliens were too blurry.
I still have lingering questions about the movie. So if the aliens are here to steal our gold, is this the whole alien race going after gold on distant planets. Or is this a corporation on the alien homeworld seeking wealth? Do they have a government and do you think they have these liberal aliens who are against the mining and destroying of other civilizations? That's probably the only worth wile conversation I will get out of the movie and it sounds really, really silly. But I wonder...no! no! Colin, just stop! Stop it!
It's a shame to see such a highly anticipated movie come out such a turd. I had it ranked number 3 and this is clearly the most disappointing movie so far this year. I thought having all that talent behind the movie would only make it that much better, but in the end it ends up being okay. The action was okay, the plot was okay. It's really only worth renting if you can get it free.
Rating: Not Worth Paying For!