30 July 2011 | devcybiko
Not a great western, not great sci fi. What's left?
ONE LINE REVIEW: not a great western, not great sci fi. What's left?
RATING: Wait for the instant download. (rating system: "see it in theaters", "wait for the instant download", "don't waste you're time")
Cowboys and Aliens opens with our hero Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) waking up alone in the desert wearing an alien bracelet and a fractured memory. He saunters into town and meets Ella Swensen (Olivia Wilde) who seems to know him. The aliens appear and abduct half the town, including the son of cattle man Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). Now the remaining townspeople must muster courage to find the aliens and retrieve their loved ones. Our three heroes are joined by a doctor, a boy, and an Indian aid. Jake has a flashback that lets him remember that the aliens killed his wife, and now he wants revenge. With our team established and filled with sufficient resolve, they begin their trek to find the aliens, retrieve their kin, and destroy the alien invaders.
This story reminds me of the old-time westerns where Indians would raid the white man's town and make off with their womenfolk. Then, the men folk would form a posse and go retrieve their families. Only here, Indians are replaced with aliens.
So, this movie really offers us a story that was retired decades ago. But with sufficient star power and CGI, will it be entertaining to a modern audience? Let's find out...
Daniel Craig is the new "Bond". You'd think he might deliver a presence as the central character that carries the film. But no. In fact, he has very few lines (delivered in an American accent) and delivers them with complete solemnity. He spends most of his time brooding and taking his hat off or putting it on.
Harrison Ford is very believable as the hard-nosed cattle man with a past that includes fighting for the South in the Civil War. He's good... He's Harrison Ford, after all. His character goes through some important changes as a result of this journey. But that is usually what the lead is supposed to do. As good as Ford is, he cannot carry this film playing second fiddle.
Olivia Wilde is everywhere these days. She took a year off from "House" to make movies and she has put the time to good use (Tron, On the Inside, The Change Up). She is a smart and beautiful actor and I'm looking forward to seeing her in a lead role. However, the scriptwriters and director did not put her to good use in this film. She spends most of her time in the background watching everything else happen. We never get invested in her - nor does anyone else.
The special effects in this film are quite good. The aliens are pretty cool. They did seem to borrow from Aliens and Predator, however. The fighter ships that abduct the townspeople have a unique design. However the Mother ship resembles a vertical cigar. As for other special effects, a particular explosion was too reminiscent of the Challenger disaster for me. Too soon, I guess.
Overall this is a pretty unimpressive movie with under-powered performances and a stale story. I can't recommend you spend $10 on it, but you might enjoy it at home if you "Wait for the instant download"