REVIEW: "Cowboys And Aliens" An Odd Mashup
In fact, if you’ve seen the trailer, then you pretty much know what to expect, and so long as your expectations don’t exceed what’s listed in the title, you’re in for a fun, action packed adventure.
The cowboys, played by Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and an ensemble cast of other excellent talent, colors within the lines when it comes to Western film clichés. A lone man rides into town, wanders into a bar, and engages in a shootout/brawl.
Pretty straightforward. You could almost forget that aliens were ever mentioned in the title. But then they show up, and, like the first plunge of a roller coaster, you suddenly realize there’s no going back.
In fact, this film may have ruined the genre forever, because now every time a Western starts to drag, audiences are going to start wishing aliens would invade. Or vampires. Or a Bollywood musical number. Because with mashups, anything is possible.
While the pairing may be entertaining, "Cowboys and Aliens" limits its appeal by failing to do anything truly new, rather like eating dessert before dinner to change things up instead of actually changing the menu. Moreover, the clichés it relies upon have all been done before and been done better.
Daniel Craig’s blue-eyed stare, for example, wants so hard to be Paul Newman’s Butch Cassidy, but while Craig’s character might be a quick draw, he is not a quick wit, and in fact has to knock one of his own men unconscious so he can ‘think.’ So don’t hold out for snappy dialog.
The aliens are big, slimy, and spend the first half of the movie lurking in shadow or just off camera to make them seem scarier. Despite having arrived in spaceships and wielding zap guns, they decide to take on the cowboys with their bare hands, resulting in an Ewoks vs Empire style battle minus all the cool booby traps.
It’s a bit hard to categorize this as a period piece (which it is) since it has spaceships in it. But the writers do a respectable job of occasionally reminding the audiences that the settlers of 1873 would have no idea what to even call these invaders (demons is the best they come up with), or how to wrap their minds around something as soon-to-be-commonplace as air travel.
But if you want to see a movie that pits cowboys against aliens, or even if you just like the idea of James Bond and Indiana Jones in the same film, then this film is still worth seeing.
And if you accidently slip up and call the movie ‘Cowboys and Indians,’ don’t worry, you’re still describing the film correctly, albeit, less colorfully.
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