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Movie Review: Cowboys and Aliens

[ COWBOYS AND ALIENS POSTER ]This was on TV the other day and it was the only thing I could find. Couple that with the fact I was too lazy to get out of my bed to put in a movie of my own and that’s how you get a Cowboys and Aliens movie review.

Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the middle of the desert and doesn’t remember anything, not even his name. Adding insult to injury, he has a large metal object on his wrist and he can’t get it off.

I still remember seeing this film in theaters and I was moderately excited after the trailer. It was an interesting concept, putting aliens and cowboys together, although I wasn’t sure how that was going to become a fair fight, but isn’t that why we see movies, so we can see what happens?

Daniel Craig’s a solid actor and then you have the great Harrison Ford doing his rough ‘n ready charade which while clichéd at least he’s trying.

The action scenes are average as are the visuals and there’s not enough of either. I just don’t feel like this film is going beyond the basics here, which is unusual for a Jon Favreau film. Elf, the Iron Man films, and Zathura are all fun to watch and experience time and time again, (the first two more so than the latter) but this just isn’t. The plot struggles because once again, the main character doesn’t know who he is.

I don’t know who came up with the idea of having a main character who doesn’t know who he is, but it just doesn’t work. If the main character doesn’t know who he is, the audience’s time is wasted while the plot directs the character to all of his main attributes and helps the character figure out who he is, something the script should have been able to tell the actor portraying him when he signed up for the role. That’s what screenwriters are for, writing the characters. When you write characters, then you have the potential for, I don’t know, a story or an actual plot that goes somewhere relevant. This movie has the same problem that Total Recall had and the same problem that the Bourne films have, something I will be sure to note when I review them. If the main character doesn’t know himself, how can I get to know him?

I want to connect to the characters but it’s really hard to when Craig doesn’t know the difference between up and down and Ford’s fighting to create anything original with an unoriginal character, literally an impossible task. The screenwriters barely scratch the surface of the characters and if Ford can’t make the character come alive then it’s probably because there is nothing there to liven in the first place. Try as he might, there’s just no substance there. As for Craig’s character, Jake Lonergan, I can’t tell you much more about the character at the end of the movie that I didn’t already know in the first 15 minutes. There’s no dynamic change here, nor does the film ever cite a reasonable reason for why Jake made a volatile shift in character and morality.

Olivia Wilde’s succeeding as eye candy and not much else because the dialogue that goes through her is corny. Speaking of which, this whole film is corny, only taking away from a film that’s trying to be serious but just can’t pull it off.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (The Secret Life of Walter MittyThe Green MileThe Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Mission Impossible)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Iron ManLone SurvivorThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingThe Next Three DaysBasic)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (21 Jump StreetEscape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the DeadFlyboys)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (AliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThorYou’re Next)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Patriot GamesThe Great GatsbyPitch BlackAlienSerendipity)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The ContractPride and PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3Open Grave)

My score for Cowboys and Aliens: 49.

An intriguing premise, Cowboys and Aliens falters in its execution. The action is over-hyped, the dialogue lacking, and the plot is stretched thin over a movie that outlasts its welcome with its 135-minute running time.

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