Cowboys & Aliens
It’s 1873 and aliens have come to Earth to mine our gold and terminate the human race. Our hero, Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig), wakes up in the middle of the desert with no idea who he is, where he’s been or why he has a strange metal bracelet on his wrist. He makes his way into a small town that is run by a cattleman named Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) who is a bit shady himself. Just when Lonergan is getting ready to be taken into possession for his past transgressions, a group of alien ships fly into town abducting the residents and Lonergan is the only one who can stop them.
COWBOYS & ALIENS had quite a few problems from beginning to end. However, before I go into what the big problems were, I’ll go ahead and tell you the few things that were enjoyable. One thing this film had going for it was the humorous one-liners that were sprinkled in throughout the movie. It seems to be a typical thing for western films to have a tongue-in-cheek kind of humor and COWBOYS & ALIENS delivered in that aspect. Harrison Ford had a lot of these particular lines, and it’s that sort of dialogue in which he shines. It wasn’t hard to believe that Ford was a tough guy in the Wild West who was a bit cranky and mean on the outside, but nothing more than a big softie underneath. It’s too bad that for the majority of the film his character was unlikeable, however come to think of it, none of the characters were really developed enough for the audience to connect with them.
One of the major problems with this film was pacing. The story was just too slow for the first hour and a half of the film, which is the point when the audience finally learns a big secret about Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde) and soon after we get to the inevitable big alien vs. cowboy fight at the end. There were easily parts of the film that could have been left out, characters that could have been deleted completely and even characters that could have been utilized more. Sam Rockwell is an excellent actor who was barely used in this film at all. Even though his character was a main player, he didn’t get nearly enough screen time, especially compared to the kid Emmett (played by Noah Ringer). The same can be said for Paul Dano who was in the film for probably a total of 15 minutes, but whose relationship with his father, Dolarhyde, could have been developed a bit more.
Overall I just found COWBOYS & ALIENS to be a disappointment. I didn’t have high expectations, but I found myself bored throughout the film and annoyed that characters and storylines were constantly being added in with no real reason or resolution. If it weren’t for the obvious jokes sprinkled throughout (which quite frankly aren’t that funny, but the audience I was with seemed to love them which made for a fun atmosphere) this would have been a tough film to get through altogether.