23 Aug 2014
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Cowboys and Aliens--Can't Miss or Miss?

Should you spend your money on this genre-bending film?

Cowboys and Aliens--Can't Miss or Miss?


Next time I see a movie, I’m going to demand that Patch allow me to choose.

Sincerely, do any of you really choose to go to these movies of your own free will, or are you just conscripted by the giant piles of cash advertisers press upon you?

What movie am I talking about? Does it really matter?

Ho-hum, well, since they do pay me to write something about what I’ve seen, I might as well break it to you: Cowboys and Aliens.

The Aliens in this particular cinematic regurgitation are a ridiculous cross between a Lord of the Rings Cave Troll and that little parasitic chest-baby Kuato from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall.

And the Cowboys? The cowboys aren’t really cowboys at all, just working class schmoes kicked around by their capitalist lords.

Seriously, this movie is like a commercial for an Ayn Rand-styled America.

Let me draw you a picture. Harrison Ford is the wealthy cattle magnate who complains that the townsfolk are ungrateful for the jobs he provides them, and the movie tacitly endorses this opinion. He also has a partially adopted non-white son (can you say Indian Reservations?) who he teaches to be a man.

He also teaches all of the Apache in this film what a great leader he is, and how he is worthy of their veneration.

Basically, Harrison Ford is the personification of the White Man’s Burden--with a 5 o’clock shadow.

In movies like this, it’s guaranteed that the big celebration at the end will include several American flags on display as the protagonists celebrate their victory. And Cowboys and Aliens does not disappoint. 

If in doubt, please see: Armageddon, Independence Day, Superman, The Day After Tomorrow, Forest Gump...

There are lots of explosions, and plenty of loud noises if you’re into demolition projects masquerading as films.

But please, save yourself some time: buy a flag; kick a minority, and give the nearest vagrant a copy of Atlas Shrugged.

It’s about the same thing.

Caviar Rating: 0



I wanted to like Cowboys and Aliens more than I did.

Daniel Craig of James Bond fame is a personal favorite. Harrison Ford is a legend. And Olivia Wilde is about as hot as they come.

Throw in Iron Man’s Jon Favreau behind the camera and it’s hard to see how the movie could miss.

But it did.

Don’t get me wrong--it didn’t miss by much. There’s a lot of great action in this movie, and the scenes with Craig and Ford are better than good. Harrison Ford has more gravity than a black hole. That guy could pull off just about any role.

All of the individual elements were there: plot, suspense, character motivation. But it felt almost like there was a checklist when they were making the movie.

The opening 10 minutes of the movie are flawless--the fight sequence rocks. Our introduction to Craig’s character sets him up as one of the great action-film mystery men.

But after that the film doesn’t quite hum.

Olivia Wilde was easy to look at, and so was Abigail Spencer--her flashback look-alike--but there wasn’t enough sexual tension between Wilde and Craig. That’s fine, of course, but if you’re going to cast Olivia Wilde in a movie it’s a waste to go without it.

The plot was well executed, and the final showdown between the Aliens and the Cowboys was a lot of fun.

It reminded me a bit of the showdown between the Ewoks and the Stormtroopers in Return of the Jedi, except the special effects were much better this time around.

If you’re in the mood for a good action flick, I certainly wouldn’t miss this one, but in a summer with some great action movies--, , Transformers--it doesn’t shine quite as bright.

Popcorn Rating: 3 1/2


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