When a film like ‘Cowboys and Aliens’ releases, it is a safe bet that audiences plan to spend two hours in the movie hall enjoying the sci-fi film. But that failed to be the case with this flick.
What they may hope to see, however, is a film that fuses those two familiar pop-movie elements into a genre mash-up that’s greater than the sum of its clichés.
The film started of very well and the first half hour of ‘Cowboys and Aliens’ was a highly promising treat to the viewers. The gifted director Jon Favreau, coming off the two ‘Iron Man’ films, stages a kind of mini-Rio Bravo set in a dusty mining town ruled over by a snarling boss played by Harrison Ford.
Into this Old West town walks a man with no name, or, rather, a steel-blue-eyed gunslinger played by Daniel Craig who can’t remember his name or anything else, for that matter. He has no idea how he landed in the desert with a stab wound in his side and a weird metal bracelet locked onto his wrist, but he sure knows how to stare down the local cutthroats.
Just as the barroom hokum gets going, a spaceship lit up like something out of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ looms in the night sky. There’s nothing friendly about these visitors, and nothing audiences haven’t seen before, either, in a hundred alien-invasion potboilers.
‘Cowboys and Aliens’ doesn’t treat its war of the worlds as spectacular comedy or as innovative action, and the whole aliens-on-the-frontier incongruity never comes to much.
What ‘Cowboys and Aliens’ particularly lacks is a good story. Basically, the characters must put aside their differences to form a posse and defeat the invaders. Even with Daniel Craig’s edgy charisma, it’s hard to care about anyone on the screen. The movie has fun moments, but it’s a plodding entertainment because it mostly tastes like leftovers.
Rating : Two cheers for this one!