Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens review

Cowboys and Aliens is the latest from director Jon Favreau. He directed both Iron Man films so I went in with high expectations. The first hour of Cowboys and Aliens is intense, engaging, and really fun. But then it starts to slow down and then it just loses any sense of plot or fun. Daniel Craig is Jake Lonergan, a cowboy who wakes up with a shackle around his wrist and his memory wiped clean. He wanders into a town called Absolution where he is arrested by the sheriff along with Percy (Paul Dano), the son of  town chief Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). Dolarhyde rides into town to bail Percy out. Then the aliens attack and kidnap several people. So Lonergan, Dolarhyde, and Ella (Olivia Wilde) team up to find the aliens and rescue their friends and family.

It's an interesting premise but Favreau makes some parts so slow it loses your interest. It could have cut twenty minutes from the movie if Dolarhyde and Lonergan would have taken more people to start with. Instead they go for the slower route and spend pointless time talking to Apache Indians and Jake's old gang, trying to get them to join them. The Apache serve a better purpose, they help Jake get his memory back and help him remember his experience with the aliens. The acting and supporting cast is solid. Doc (Sam Rockwell) and Emmett (Noah Ringer) are good characters who help the story and bring a small bit of comic relief. Ringer's acting was much better than it was in the terrible The Last Airbender. Craig is good as Lonergan and Ford is good as Dolarhyde. But neither smile once the whole movie. And I'm not exaggerating.

The movie is good up until a completely unnecessary plot twist. I won't say what it is but it made say "Oh, come on! Really!". Then it gets caught up in all this other junk that we have seen a million times in other sci-fi movies. For the first time this summer my attention was not always focused on the screen. I talked more than I had in any movie this summer. At some points you just did not really care what happened. Favreau tried to create a good original film and I give him props for that in the summer of the sequel and the superhero. But I hate to say he did not make a good original movie. He made a poor original movie.


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