Cowboys and Aliens – The Review

Movie poster for Cowboys and AliensAfter seeing the extended trailer for Cowboys and Aliens, I was bound and determined to see this summer’s blockbuster.  I was bouncing off the walls when I won free passes, and arrived 2 1/2 hours before show time to guarantee a seat (and that got me into the 2nd wave of people getting in!) Fortunately, I was with a great friend, and we had a wonderful time catching up as we waited.

Just so you know where I’m coming from, I LOVE westerns.  Just finished watching the final episode of Deadwood, and was tickled to see that Keith Carradine (who plays Wild Bill Hickok, along side other historical notables of Calamity Jane and Wyatt Earp) was part of this huge ensemble cast.  I also LOVE Sci Fi, having watched an episode of Falling Skies Monday.

Combining these two seemed like such a clever concept [I would have loved to have heard this idea first getting pitched – it has cowboys AND aliens … what should we call it?]  Add in top Hollywood talent and a seemingly limitless special effects budget, what could go wrong?!?!?

I walked out of there wanting more… and unfortunately it wasn’t in the “Oh my goodness!  Have they started filming the sequel?” kind of way.  Nope, as in the “Hmmmmmmm.  What exactly was that missing?” kind of way.

Don’t get me wrong: It was an enjoyable film. Everything came together in the end… but in a very orchestrated, Hollywood kind of way, but with a twist – I am NOT a movie spoiler! Suspension of Disbelief?  As my friend said, “That went out the window with the title!”  If they had scaled down the CGI budget and paid for a script or even some dialog, that would have helped.  Also, the Aliens were disappointing.  They looked like the second cousins of the skitters from the aforementioned Falling Skies.  I blame that criticism on movie technology getting better.  We expect  more and more.  I grew up with Land of the Lost and was afraid of the dinosaurs!  But now that I’m not 5 (and having re-watched some episodes lately I realized that show is better left in one’s mind for nostalgia purposes than ruining it by seeing it in today’s light – it doesn’t age well!) and have been trained to expect more than what I got.

I’m trying to think of the right analogy for this: It is like Independence Day without the camp.  It is like Battlefield: Los Angeles without the shaky camera and on horseback.  It’s like Blazing Saddles without the … no, it’s not like Blazing Saddles at all.

Basically, if you don’t go in thinking it is going to be the best movie of the summer (Super 8 is so far IMHO), it is a fun ride.  Be prepared to say “Whoa! What?!?!?!” a few times, but if you are there to see Daniel Craig without his shirt on (or Olivia Wilde doing a full backal – what is the opposite of “frontal”?), you won’t be disappointed.  Lower your expectations and enjoy the show ladies and gentleman … and wait for a matinee.

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