Review: Cowboys and Aliens
It's a simple title, maybe even prosaic. But it sounds like fun. It's Cowboys, And Aliens. Can't argue with that. Except it doesn't say is that this is the dullest cowboy film ever made, mixed with dull aliens building towards a just about passable Predator climax.
There are two basic flaws with the films: it's looks horrible and the cast are underwhelming, and the film loses no time in revealing its flaws.
The opening shot pans across one of the most pitiful and bedraggled bits of prairie land ever put on film eventually alighting on Daniel Craig as the Man with No Name, No Memory and Not Even a Passing Resemblance to a Convincing Cowboy.
Now Craig is a fine actor and, contrary to all expectations, a magnificent Bond but I'm not sure he's a movie star, someone who can just turn up and infuse an audience just by his presence. He scowls and squints and acts tough but he's no Clint Eastwood.
It's not just him though; almost everybody in this film seems awkward.
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You can understand Craig not being convincing, but Harrison Ford ought to be a natural. Even Keith Carradine, who has been in some classic westerns, doesn't look the part.
The entire cast look like they were all a bunch of rich friends indulging in an elaborate western roleplay stag weekend, something out of Westworld.
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After the opening scene most of the first half of the film takes place in grungy darkness, where even the daylight scenes are murky.
It's like watching a 2D film through 3D glasses. Even when a little sunlight is shed on events in the second hour, it all takes place in some unexciting locations. Not every western has to be in Monument Valley but this looks like it could have been shot on some old Alias Smith and Jones sets.
Apart from a few strained attempts at humour, this film is just no fun. Craig and Ford both approach it with their long faces on and even the alien menace seems to be taking it all a bit too seriously, being more horror film nasty than laser popping Independence Day nasty.
COWBOYS AND ALIENS (12A)
Director: Jon Favreau
Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Adam Beach, Paul Dano
Length: 118 mins