biggest problem with a movie whose title is a one-gag premise is that it
severely limits what you can do with the film. Either you milk that
single-joke mercilessly for the length of the film, or you softly chuckle
over your cleverness and then play it straight.
Cowboys and Aliens
takes the second option.
Okay, it has a catchy title, what now?
Therefore, the film takes its slightly silly idea and runs with it, making
an awkward mash-up of old-school western and futuristic sci-fi.
Honestly, it’s an uncomfortable fit.
is rather hard to take the whole idea seriously, and it all ends up seeming
kind of silly.
Therefore, despite the presence of two action film icons – Indiana Jones
meets James Bond! – the film lurches along unsurely, not positive what it is
supposed to be. Is it an old-fashioned oater or is it a newfangled space
not nearly good enough in either direction.
Daniel Craig (Casino Royale) plays Jake Lonergan, a tough hombre who
awakes in the midst of a desert prairie with no memory and an odd metal
bracelet which won’t come off. He rides into the nearest town – a town run
with an iron fist by a local rancher named Woodrow Dolarhyde
(Harrison Ford). When Jake
runs afoul of Dolarhyde’s spoiled, out-of-control son (Paul Dano), a
showdown is set in motion.
Unfortunately, before that showdown quite has time to play out, the small
town is attacked by a group of murderous spaceships.
Hmm… Holy plot twist! We’re swimming in high-concept waters now.
a big part of the problem here is that it is quite clear from the very start
that if they really wanted to, these killer aliens and their ray guns could
wipe out this rag-tag bunch – armed with knives, six shooters and dynamite –
pretty much at will.
Therefore, the fact that the heroes – which eventually is made up of an odd
mix of the law, the criminals, cowboys and Indians – survived to fight at
all feels like a bit of a cheat. A single good alien – who eventually makes
its presence known to help fight the good fight – makes it quite clear
that these are brutal intruders who had destroyed its home planet and
killed everyone in their path.
why let these ones live to fight back?
Also, oddly for a film whose entire premise is based upon a pun, Cowboys
and Aliens is a strangely humorless film. I understand the filmmakers
didn’t want to be taken as a joke, but that doesn’t mean they had to be
idea in itself calls for a little goofiness. There is no real way to make
it work otherwise.
sadly, Cowboys and Aliens really doesn’t work.
Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: July 29, 2011.