Cowboys & Aliens (2011) – 3/5

A mediocre film by a mediocre filmmaker, except his Iron Man 2 which I really enjoyed for some reason. But this is nothing special, not even as an action movie. It looks pretty good, at least, and the special effects are nice, except the aliens which look like the typical overly bright cartoony crap Hollywood tries to pass off as innovative and realistic these days. And the story isn’t entirely horrible, though it’s nothing special, and at times is actually quite idiotic/nonsensical, especially when it focuses on the “alien” aspect of the plot, which is, you know, half the title and most of the film.

The movie just isn’t very interesting despite its wacky mishmash of two opposing, unrelated genres. It feels at times like it probably would have worked better as a straight out Western, as the film sets the groundwork for an interesting conflict between our main character, Daniel Craig, and the many human forces out to do him in. Unfortunately any semblance of an interesting plot is abandoned once the aliens force themselves into the picture and blow up/kidnap what little intelligence the movie had to begin with.

I can’t remember the last time a movie abandoned the somewhat complex world it so painstakingly spent the first 30 minutes or so of its story establishing in favor of a silly, one-dimensional alien invasion tale. I understand that the aliens are the hook for the film and everything, but at least make them tie together with the first act a little better, or at least make their motives for coming down to earth in the first place be something more complicated than ***SPOILERS** oh, they wanted gold. Really? Your race traveled millions of miles across time and space just to have access to some shiny useless metal you probably could have easily reverse engineered yourself given your extremely advanced technology? And what was with Olivia Wilde’s character? She’s an alien too, huh? How do they just gloss over that with a quick 10 second explanation? And then she dies at the end and that’s that? What? We need closure, people. Closure. She’s in a better place, really? Screw you, Harrison. ***END SPOILERS**

Overall, stupid movie, stupid plot, and man Daniel Craig looked thin in this. The guy needs to eat. He’s also one of the only actors I can think of that always comes off as the quiet type in his films, even when he has a lot to say, like in this. How does he do it? The film does have its moments, though; it looks nice, and some of the action scenes are okay. Just don’t expect anything great, or even good.

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