Home > Movies > COWBOYS AND ALIENS – Movie Review


A title like Cowboys and Aliens sounds like it would promise for great entertainment.  And when you throw director Jon Favreau, producer Steven Spielberg, and actors Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford into the mix, I’m already waiting in line to buy a ticket.  However, when something like this sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

The film follows a man named Jake (Craig), who wakes up in the middle of the desert, not remembering who he is.  To add to the confusion, he has a strange wristband stuck around his arm, and discovers that he is a wanted man when wandering into a nearby town.  However, one night, when Jake’s wristband lights up, aliens invade the town and abduct a number of the residents, leaving it up to Jake and the rest of the town to get their people back and defeat the aliens.

If I were to praise the movie for anything, it would be for the performances.  Daniel Craig, channeling the classic “man with no name” character-type, and Harrison Ford, playing the cranky, old town sheriff, both do a nice job of bringing out their inner western action hero and kicking some butt the old-fashioned way.

The movie also gets off to a pretty decent start, giving us an entertaining insight into the character of Jake and the town he wanders into.  However once the aliens arrive, so do the film’s problems.

The biggest flaw with the film is that the tired action sequences and dialogue don’t live up to the movie’s unique premise.  Everything is done in a very clichéd way, and while there are some creative, entertaining moments (i.e. when Jake takes on five guys in a bar towards the beginning of the movie), we get a lot of uninspired shootouts, monologues, and alien battles that leave the viewer wanting so much more.

The film also has an uneven tone, sometimes playing like an action comedy, and other times being too overly serious to warrant the title Cowboys and Aliens.  This confuses the viewer when perplexing and unsatisfying plot revelations occur, one of which explaining the aliens’ motive for invading the town.  Now, I say it confuses the viewer because they aren’t sure whether or not to take the silly reveals seriously.  Nevertheless, the twists are also lackluster.

Finally, the film also gives us one-dimensional characters that don’t give the audience any real reason to root for them, other than the fact that they are clearly the good guys and the aliens are clearly the bad guys.

Overall, the film is a very mild recommendation, however had it had a simpler, lighter script, a shorter running time, and better character development, Favreau might have struck better blockbuster success, as he did with Iron Man a few years back.


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