I was really looking forward to seeing “Cowboys & Aliens”, but the movie just didn’t work very well. It was a big disappointment. The movie has a great cast. Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, and Paul Dano. The movie also has a pretty good director, Jon Favreau. He is best known for his comedies like elf, and his superhero movies, like Iron Man one and two. This is no superhero movie, and there is really no comedy in this movie. So this is a different type of movie for him. You know when you heard about this movie, you really wanted to see it, I mean it’s a western with Sci-Fi thrown in. That seems cool. It is sort of cool, but that idea needed to be in a better movie. You probably already know the plot from the title. It’s Cowboys vs Aliens, well that is what the movie revolves around. So I will go in a little more detail.
The movie starts off in Arizona 1873 when an unnamed man (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the Wild West with a strange device on his wrist. He has completely no memory of who he is or where he is. He than wanders into the nearby desert town of Absolution. He very quickly finds out that the people of that town don’t welcome strangers with open arms, and nobody even thinks about moving on the street’s unless they are ordered to do so by the very grumpy Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). This is a town that lives in fear, but is nothing compared to the fear the town gets when aliens come attacking their town, and kidnapping many of the town’s people. The man who woke up in the desert is finally starting to remember more of his past. He comes to realize that he holds a secret that could give them a fighting chance against the aliens.
Like I said, great cast, and Ford and Craig are very good here. They still can’t save this movie though. The movie has a great and fun concept, but it has no content of any kind. I don’t really like the aliens either, they are okay looking. There are not even scary and aren’t fun to watch. The aliens are just not that smart and have no depth to them, they just run around killing people. The best movie to do alines right was District 9. It is nice that the movie tried to develop the characters instead of just throwing them in tons of action in the beginning. Overall, the character buildup just isn’t that strong, it doesn’t work that well. It is not totally bad though.
The script was okay, but there were no memorable lines. It was just another average script. Surprisingly, the special effects were not that great at all. Now the cinematography on the other hand was great. That was the main highlight of the movie. I think the movie would have been better if it was just Cowboys, and none of the aliens. The beginning scenes that contained the western part was decent, and had the potential to be it’s own decent movie. When it starts to get into all the Sci-Fi stuff the movie just starts to go downhill very quickly. I actually mostly enjoyed the western part. There is just way more of the Sci-Fi parts, you only get around 15 min. of the pure western stuff. The movie has some good moments in the mix of all the bad, the movie just had so much untapped potential.
If the movie had a little better script and better special effects, that alone would have made it a lot better. Most of the action scenes are just okay to watch, and that is a big disappointment for a movie like this. Jon Favreau is a good director, but he didn’t bring his A game here. He should have been able to give us a good fun action movie at least. I do really think that Ford and Craig were perfectly cast for their roles, and they were both good. I do hope they make another western together someday, but just a western.