Movie Review: Cowboys and Aliens (2011)

Posted: April 15, 2012 in Drama
Tags: ,


It is 1873 in the town of Absolution Arizona.  Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the desert with amnesia and a metal bracelet around his wrist. Jake gets to town and witnesses a shooting of a sheriff’s deputy by Percy Dolarhyde (Paul Dano) Percy’s dad, Woodrow (Harrison Ford) has a stranglehold on the townsfolk, and Woodrow is coming into town to bail him out. Meanwhile the sheriff, John Taggert, (Keith Caradine) has arrested Jake for being a bank robber.  A mystery woman, Ella Swenson, (Olivia Wilde) says she needs Jake’s help.  Suddenly, the sleepy Western town is attacked by space aliens.  Woodrow, Jake and Ella fend off the first attack, with the help of Jake’s metal armband, but these are only scouts and they’re only probing this town for weaknesses.  Just when things couldn’t get worse, Native Americans attack the town.  Can things get any worse for the members of this town?

Cowboys and Aliens is a tale of two movies.  The first half of the movie is a rollicking action filled summer popcorn flick.  But then it quickly devolves into a cavalcade of clichés and predictability.  There are cliché’s about alien probes, aliens despoiling the natural resources of the earth.  If that’s not enough, there’s clichés about former enemies coming together and joining forces to fight a common enemy and finally clichés about the savagery of Native Americans.  There were two basic questions in this movie, why did the aliens come? Who is Ella, and why does she need Jake’s help?  I figured out both answers before the reveal, so the script was not made for geniuses.  All the clichés and simplistic script ruin what were really good performances by Daniel Craig.  Craig is very good as a tough as shoe leather alpha male anti-hero.  Harrison Ford is also very good as a grumpy curmudgeon, ok hr’s playing himself, but it works well  here.  Only Olivia Wilde is really wooden here, that should be any surprise for anyone who’s watched her in House.  Another disappointment is that this movie is done by Jon Favreau, who’s do ne two of my favorite movies, Iron Man and Elf.

Cowboys and Aliens.  Alienates its audience.

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