Thursday, August 18, 2011

Movie Review - Cowboys and Aliens, what the heck could that be about ?

There are certain criteria that Mrs Stuffy looks for when selecting a film that she thinks she will enjoy, for a start it helps if it has Daniel Craig in it, that's it really, she's not too bothered about the artistic lineage of the director, the quality of the remaining cast, the writing, direction o
r production. She is pretty definitive about the presence of Daniel Craig, so she enjoyed this, as long as Daniel Craig was on-screen. She didn't like the aliens which were, to be honest pretty scary, very yucky and surprisingly bad, (as galaxy-crossing alien warriors with awesome super weapons tend to be) at killing plucky earthlings.

The film started well for me, a bit of mystery (you have to imagine you haven't seen the trailer, or read the title come to that) some atmospheric cowboy stuff, classic western main street hero confrontation, etched deep in our psyche from High Noon, through the Magnificent Seven, everything Sergio Leone did, Silverado and the Outlaw Josie Wales. Credit to John Favreau, (the director) for a very nicely shot movie, the scenery and the action scenes were excellent and the little characterisation he squeezed into the limited time between the all-action alien mayhem was well, but briefly, done. Sam Rockwell deserves an honourable mention and it would have been nice to see Harrison Ford and the exalted Daniel spending more screen time together. It would also have been nice to see Walton Goggins, (great name, fine actor), get a bigger part.

Actors who can make you believe in them are rare and this cast list had many of them, however, this movie was full of incomplete storylines, ludicrous concepts and there were multiple hole-riddled plots to expound so, inevitably, too little time for exploring the people and their stories.

It sounds simple, cowboys versus aliens, "two genres, two sets of conventions, let's mash them up " but if there is one thing that I came away from this film with it's that there were too many different threads to keep track of, the Olivia Wilde character was (obviously very, very attractive) but poorly explained, despite a lot of clues, they didn't add up, I'm not sure about the humming bird, I still don't understand what the aliens were really after, gold ? scouting for an invasion? cow-tipping? fresh bipedal snack items?
Who can tell... Not me and not Mrs Stuffy, obviously.

Good things, well (Daniel Craig apparently) and despite the telegraphed inevitability of each scary moment they still managed to make Mrs S jump each time, so precious little snoozing occurred.
And for me, an entertaining romp, not a coherent story but some ok action, a wasted first-class cast, a little humour, (could have done with more) but let's face it, if you go to see a film called Cowboys and Aliens with high expectations you're asking to be let down.
I had set a lower bar and this was, by no means, a disappointment.

A hybrid haiku

After aeons of
conquest, the aliens
never learnt to shoot?



At 4:35 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, hardly a must see, but probably entertaining enough to get the DVD out then.

Interestingly (or not) the original Star Trek series was described as 'Cowboys and Indians in space' by someone. So, the idea isn't completely new and I'm sure there was at least one episode where Captain Kirk and his team got to dress up in chaps (ahem).


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