‘Cowboys and Aliens’ DVD Review
A Review by G-Funk!
Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde
Plot: There’s a bunch of cowboys and a bunch of aliens. They have a disagreement.
Review: I think there was a mix-up during the casting of this movie. Both Ford and Craig were accidentally given the same character sheet. This is evident from that fact that they both play interchangeable gruff, rugged cowboy types. As a matter of fact, only Sam Rockwell seems to playing anything different from this stereotype. Given what a large group of people you’ve got in this movie you really needed a bit more variation. This is especially important when you’re marketing your film based on the lead actors. When you’ve got James Bond and Indiana Jones in the same movie you expect something awesome to happen, like finding the Holy Grail, not two grizzled cowboys having a mumbling competition.
Going into the movie I wasn’t very familiar with the material, aside from knowing it was based on a comic book. The trailers didn’t make it clear what the tone of the movie was going to be as it could be crazy cartoon fun time or series Western movie with a sci-fi twist. The opening scenes lead the viewer to believe that they are watching the latter, and the actors all play it like a slightly more family version of Deadwood. This is stark juxtaposition to the somewhat goofy looking aliens. They had a very Men in Black vibe to them and whilst they are supposed to look out of place in the setting, they look more like something designed by George Lucas.
The pacing of the movie is also something that is mishandled. The vast majority of the movie involves the characters going from one place to the next and talking to another group of people. The character and plot development is plodding, predictable and ultimately isn’t engaging. By the time the final confrontation came about I’d all but lost interest. Given the simple and straightforward premise (“they are cowboys, right? And aliens!) it did not need such a long build-up or such in-depth motivation for the characters.
Finally, there’s the aliens motivation. Turns out that they’re killing cattle, abducting people and generally hanging around Earth because they want to mine gold. Gold? Why? “Because it’s just as rare on their planet as it is here” one character helpfully explains. What the hell does that matter?! They’re an advanced species capable of traveling through space with tractor beams and awesome lasers and they come all this way to get gold because it’s a collectors item or something? We need a little more reason than that! Here’s three of the top of my head that would’ve sufficed, been explained in a heartbeat and made the film that little bit more logical: they need it to fuel their ships, they need it to stop a plague threatening their home world, they need it as a tribute to their gods. There – take your pick.
Score: THREE outta TEN