Movie Review: Cowboys & Aliens

Movie Review: Cowboys & Aliens

July 30th, 2011  |  YahaWaha Published in Bollywood Movie Reviews  |  95 Comments

Cowboys & Aliens: Cliche ridden bland film
Rating: 2.5 out of 5*
Starring: Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde and Abigail Spencer
Director: Jon Favreau
By – Saumil Bhanshali
A western sci-fi movie. That’s a first.
Pairing the current James Bond with Indiana Jones, that’s also a first..
Unfortunately the movie doesn’t live up to the first-rate prospects on paper….
Set in 1875 against the backdrop of the town of Absolution which has fallen on hard times, the trailers of this movie had fans like me salivating for more. While the movie builds up really well it’s the sci-fi part that doesn’t really mesh. The aliens seem completely unnecessary and clichéd, to use a cliché, like a third wheel on a bicycle. And obviously since its Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford playing the cowboys, the aliens pale in comparison.
As the movie begins, a stranger (Craig channeling Eastwood’s signature man-with-no-name) stumbles into the New Mexico Town, with a mysterious shackle around his wrist and an intriguing case of amnesia. This town is run by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford playing a no-nonsense gruff guy). When the town is attacked by mysterious marauders from the sky, no doubt the two unite to fight.
So far so good, but the second half is riddled with clichés, bullets, more clichés, inconsistencies and still more clichés. “Let’s be friends” – check, “Rag-tag search group” – check, “Cut off by bandits” – check, “Surrounded by Indians” – check, “Clichéd alien intelligence” – check and so on.., culminating in a completely predictable battle at the end. Olivia Wilde who plays the love interest looks good but sadly the good part ends there. Her role is very poorly written and she seems out of her depth in the presence of the veterans.
Jon Favreau who previously helmed Iron Man may have the right ingredients but doesn’t mix them properly resulting in wastage and an unsatisfied audience. Maybe it’s a case of too many cooks spoiling the you-know-what as the story is credited to no less than six writers !!!
Rosenberg’s graphic novel on which this movie is based does come to life in the scenes of the Wild West shot lovingly and realistically on location by Matthew Libatique, but sadly the alien CGI seems outdated and generic. In fact the alien of Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie is much more menacing. So while the concept suggests something out of this world the result is definitely terrestrial.
While we all know the fact that science fiction killed off the western genre in Hollywood, so this movie where the roles seem to be reversed is definitely a good idea. But an idea is only as good as its execution. (“If you had invented Facebook, you would have invented Facebook” – Zuckerberg to the twins). The movie seems to play out like a rough draft and I’m sure could be remade and reworked to be brilliant.
If a movie at the multiplex costs Rs. 300, I would pay only Rs. 150 to watch this one. Watch it only for the Cowboy part !!!!!

Cowboys & Aliens: A cliche ridden bland film

Rating: 2.5 out of 5*

Starring: Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde and Abigail Spencer

Director: Jon Favreau

By – Saumil Bhanshali

A western sci-fi movie. That’s a first.
Pairing the current James Bond with Indiana Jones, that’s also a first..
Unfortunately the movie doesn’t live up to the first-rate prospects on paper….

Set in 1875 against the backdrop of the town of Absolution which has fallen on hard times, the trailers of this movie had fans like me salivating for more. While the movie builds up really well it’s the sci-fi part that doesn’t really mesh. The aliens seem completely unnecessary and clichéd, to use a cliché, like a third wheel on a bicycle. And obviously since its Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford playing the cowboys, the aliens pale in comparison.

As the movie begins, a stranger (Craig channeling Eastwood’s signature man-with-no-name) stumbles into the New Mexico Town, with a mysterious shackle around his wrist and an intriguing case of amnesia. This town is run by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford playing a no-nonsense gruff guy). When the town is attacked by mysterious marauders from the sky, no doubt the two unite to fight.

So far so good, but the second half is riddled with clichés, bullets, more clichés, inconsistencies and still more clichés. “Let’s be friends” – check, “Rag-tag search group” – check, “Cut off by bandits” – check, “Surrounded by Indians” – check, “Clichéd alien intelligence” – check and so on.., culminating in a completely predictable battle at the end. Olivia Wilde who plays the love interest looks good but sadly the good part ends there. Her role is very poorly written and she seems out of her depth in the presence of the veterans.

Jon Favreau who previously helmed Iron Man may have the right ingredients but doesn’t mix them properly resulting in wastage and an unsatisfied audience. Maybe it’s a case of too many cooks spoiling the you-know-what as the story is credited to no less than six writers !!!

Rosenberg’s graphic novel on which this movie is based does come to life in the scenes of the Wild West shot lovingly and realistically on location by Matthew Libatique, but sadly the alien CGI seems outdated and generic. In fact the alien of Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie is much more menacing. So while the concept suggests something out of this world the result is definitely terrestrial.

While we all know the fact that science fiction killed off the western genre in Hollywood, so this movie where the roles seem to be reversed is definitely a good idea. But an idea is only as good as its execution. (“If you had invented Facebook, you would have invented Facebook” – Zuckerberg to the twins). The movie seems to play out like a rough draft and I’m sure could be remade and reworked to be brilliant.

If a movie at the multiplex costs Rs. 300, I would pay only Rs. 150 to watch this one. Watch it only for the Cowboy part !!!!!

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