When I first heard that title I was thinking “dear lord what can be expected from that?!”. Then I read that Jon Favreau is the director. This guy is pretty good in what he’s doing. The Iron Man movies are entertaining and not too stupid. The first one much better though. Beside that we also have some of Hollywood’s best producers and writers on this movie. Now what’s Cowboys & Aliens about?
It’s about a guy who wakes up alone in the desert. He is not able to remember anything. From then on we follow him trying to remember his past. Soon enough first things clear up when he manages to get into a small town. Last but not least some aliens show up and abduct people from the town. Then our hero and some of the town folks move on to get their beloved friends and family members back.
Yes, the aliens appear out of nowhere without much of an explanation. Until the end of the movie we don’t learn why these creatures are actually on earth. So it’s best you go into the movie without anything… no expectations at all. The title pretty much tells you upfront that it’s pure enterainment and nothing to make your brain think. Much of that can also be found in the screenwriting. There was some weird dialogue happening at certain points that partly took me out of the movie. I was thinking “Who in the world is talking that way?”. Some weird choices there.
Daniel Craig is the main character and I admit he nails his character. He’s the ultimate badass. Kinda like his James Bond interpretation. Then we have Harrison Ford. One of my all-time favs. I grew up with this guy swinging laser guns and whips at bad guys. He’s one of my heroes! Well, in this movie not so much. At first he’s written like a bad guy characters. He kinda gets together with our hero to rescue his son from the aliens. So his character leaves a weird impression and has a strange story arc overall. Sam Rockwell is the only actor in this movie who plays a character I was able to kind of connect to. He plays a saloon owner who is also a doctor. When the aliens come in, they abduct his wife. He wants her back! Beside that he’s just an awesome actor. Adam Beach left a good impression too. This guy should get casted for other movies too. He’s got some potential to do some more heavy lifting roles. Last but not least we have Olivia Wilde. She’s basically only there to be sexy and does that nicely. Ultimately the weird writing of the partly hokey dialogue leaves an overall strange impression of all the characters. I can imagine they had some serious problems to give these characters something to say at all. I bet you could do this movie without a single spoken line!
The VFX work is overall very solid. ILM certainly did a fine job there. When it comes to the concept work for the aliens and related things then it’s also well done and works in context of the movie. But then again I always wonder why the aliens always have to look like us? By that I mean you can clearly recognize a head, two arms and two legs. Star Trek aliens so to speak. I know it would be very difficult to go for a more insectoid or whatever approach… but meh… a little more originality wouldn’t hurt in that department. And don’t get me wrong. I know for certain how much work goes into the design of these aliens. I highly respect the work.
In the end it is a fairly simple movie. Nothing that keeps your brain too busy. It’s popcorn entertainment. Is it good? Well… it’s entertaining for sure! And hey, Olivia Wilde is a cutie in her own way and looks good on the screen. So you want some humans kicking alien ass? Go for this movie.