So, I saw Cowboys and Aliens last night. I guess I gotta review it now...
So... Cowboys & Aliens, eh? I know a lot of people were looking forward to this one. Truth be told, once I saw the first trailer, I wasn't. It looked too serious, when something with a title like "Cowboys & Aliens" seemed like it should be incredibly campy. Unfortunately, we never got a campy movie about Cowboys & Aliens. We got a serious movie about Cowboys & Aliens instead. To be perfectly honest though, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.
Wow, the new season of Two & a Half men is weird.
The story is fairly predictable. The movie starts with Daniel Craig waking in the middle of nowhere, wearing only an undershirt, suspenders, and a strange mechanical bracelet thingy on his arm. He is also apparently wounded, but what wounded him and why remains a mystery. He meets up with a delightful group of bounty hunters who, seeing him shot and with what looks to be part of a handcuff on his wrist, assume he is a wanted criminal (which is a better guess than you might think) and try to take him in. This doesn't go so well, as he proceeds to kill all of them. He takes their clothes and guns guns, steals one of their horses, and rides it however many miles to the nearest town. There he meets up with a preacher who fixes his wound, puts the son of a young cattle-baron in his place, and promptly gets arrested. When his being put on the stagecoach to Santa Fe, Aliens attack the town, capturing a large number of the population. Local cattle baron Harrison Ford does not stand this, and rounds up a posse of the remaining townsfolk to find the missing people. Daniel Craig and some women who kind of looks like a female Robert Z'dar and with knowledge of Craig's past, decide to tag along as well. Things go pretty much as you expect from there. More aliens attack, they encounter Indians, and blow up the alien mother ship. Overall, the writing is fairly decent. There are some fairly obvious plot holes here and there, but they didn't stop me from enjoying the movie.
Great American heroes, or greatest American heroes?
The special effects and action sequences hold up nicely too. Everything is well choreographed and looks fine. You can actually tell what is going on, which is a big plus. Lots of lasers, people getting torn apart by alien-gorilla things, alien-gorilla thing getting there skulls caved in by shotgun blasts. The aliens themselves look great. They have a pretty unique design (a chest cavity that opens to reveal two fleshy, moist arms? Awesome!) and do what they are supposed to do (kill people and generally look menacing) well.
Like a deer caught in the headlights.
The acting isn't even half bad either. Harrison Ford has probably the most memorable performance and the best character in the entire movie as Woodrow Dolarhyde, a crotchety old cattle baron who doesn't take crap from anyone and never gives up. Daniel Craig, on the other hand, doesn't give as strong of a performance. His character seems rather lifeless and emotionless. That could just be the writing, but to be honest, Daniel Craig doesn't seem to do much with what he is given either. The performances from most of the other people involved are solid as well, but nothing particularly special.
Craig and Fords' reaction to the Rotten Tomatoes page for the movie.
TL;DR: There are worse ways to spend $10 dollars at the movies this summer, but there are also better too. While the movie is pretty decent, it doesn't really stand out. If you want to see cowboys fighting aliens, you will get plenty of that, but that is pretty much it.