It's time for a review of another of summer's biggest blockbusters, Cowboys & Aliens. Now I'm one who appreciates Jon Favreau's unabashed geeky fervor when it comes to promoting his movies to the masses. Because of that enthusiasm, call me a fan of the man and his work. I'll go see anything he directs, good reviews or bad, simply because I believe he enjoys what he's doing. Yes, the more cynical will always roll their eyes and claim he's faking it just for that very reason, but they can just go screw themselves. Being a cynical douchebag has to be exhausting, what with all of the disgusted sighing and tongue clucking they do.
That said, I really wanted to like Cowboys & Aliens more than I did. I didn’t hate it. Again, that requires a bit more unnecessary energy than I’m willing to put forward for such a futile act, but it just didn’t connect with me in the way that I expected it to. With a team of talented writers and a top notch cast, not to mention Favreau’s keen directorial eye, the film seemed to trundle on from character scene to character scene in between the explosive action parts that didn’t seem to have the necessary urgency you’d expect. Of course, the urgency should come from the characters we meet and their desire to get back their family members, but that felt mostly like an afterthought. Despite having so many great writers on the team, it felt like they were each given one or two cowboys a piece and told to write their arc and then they would meet somewhere in the middle by the end of the movie when stuff blows up and the cowboys take on the aliens. And the actors… so many great actors who did great things with their seemingly small parts… Graig was cool as hell. Ford was ornery and gruff. Rockwell sympathetic and funny. And Wilde once again played the hot lynchpin in the umpteenth movie she’s filmed during her House break. But all of them felt like they were guest starring in their own movie, deftly delivering well-written lines that felt like they could have been written for any other movie they’ve starred in over the past few years. Don’t get me wrong, if James Bond and Indiana Jones showed up in the same movie again, I’m there, with or without cowboys, aliens, secret agents, or Nazis. There’s an idea – make Daniel Craig the villain in the next Indiana Jones movie… He could kill Shia Labeouf‘s character. Craig excels at being a cold and aloof badass, even when he’s the good guy. Imagine him as a bad guy.
So what I’m saying is that even with so many talented people involved, in front of and behind the camera, you still need a central story that will draw the audience in beyond their desire to see cowboys fight aliens. What Favreau did for us in Iron Man, taking a self-involved jerk like Tony Stark and making him sympathetic, making us WANT to be him, thereby getting us invested in his story, made that film great. I honestly didn’t want to be any of these people in Cowboys & Aliens, even if it meant hanging out with Olivia Wilde a whole bunch.
But that’s enough out of me. What did our own video reviewer, Luis Calderon, have to say on the matter? Did he love it or hate it or did it drop somewhere in between? Click below to find out…