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Cowboys & Aliens

by

Jeff Nelson

Despite the very well-known and talented names involved, Cowboys & Aliens is a little under mediocre.

Cowboys & Aliens
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There are plenty of movies out there that audiences attend due to the people behind the project. However, viewers should become more aware nowadays that they can't depend on big names to guarantee a well-crafted motion picture. Cowboys & Aliens is such a cheesy title, which I'm sure turned many people away. Those who looked a bit closer at the movie became aware of the big names involved on and off the screen. Despite the title and questionable plot, the viewers that did decide to check out the movie primarily due to the cast and crew. I was initially part of this group of people. Once early buzz was released, it was mostly negative. I took the advice of those individuals and waited for the Blu-ray release to rent it from Netflix. I'm very glad that I decided to wait for the Blu-ray release and didn't spend money on this in the theaters.

Amnesiac gunslinger, Jake Lonergan, stumbles into the Wild West town of Absolution, where he's confronted by potent enemy Col. Dolarhyde and a terrifying problem. There are invading aliens. Jake is aided by the lovely Ella and a posse of the townspeople while Dolarhyde's minions and local Apache warriors fight off the extraterrestrial threat. To be blunt, the entire screenplay is a mess. If audiences have anybody to place blame on, its the writers. Seven screenplay writers took a stab at the script, yet it simply fell apart. The film lacks a core. It has a lot of fluff and nothing underneath it all. To be honest, it isn't even very much fun. The entire point of an action sci-fi flick is generally to be fun, whether the script is good or not. However, Cowboys & Aliens fails at both of those tasks. One of the biggest issues with the film is that it tries too hard. The trailer certainly builds the movie up to be something it's not. It definitely isn't as epic as the teasers built it up to be. Not only do we not really care about what happens to the characters, but the 'epic' final battle is anti-climatic and disappointing. Cowboys & Aliens is all talk. It promises to have incredible action sequences and has merely mediocre fight scenes.

To simply name a few actors that I was excited to see in this science fiction flick are Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, and Sam Rockwell. These are generally crowd pleasing actors that I'm quite surprised that they chose to star in this movie. It leads me to wonder whether or not they actually read the final script or if they entered the project by who's involved behind the camera. However, the cast does their best with what they have been given. The dialogue isn't very good to start with, so they couldn't polish it very much. The performances aren't awful, but there isn't much that could have been done.

Director Jon Favreau has proven to do quite well behind the camera when he directed the first Iron Man. It appears that his heart wasn't in Cowboys & Aliens very much. I expected a lot more from the visual effects. The CGI used on the aliens is disappointing. I didn't even like the design of them, I've seen this type of creature way too many times in different movies over the years. However, the audio transfer is the complete opposite. The audio transfer couldn't be any stronger. The sound stage utterly immerses its audiences. The dialogue is loud and clear, the sound transitions from speaker to speaker has an incredible amount of clarity. Each of the surround speakers are excellent. The bass is powerful, yet has control. It doesn't overpower the dialogue, but certainly makes its presence known. It would be nice if the film itself could have been as strong as the audio presentation.

Despite the very well-known and talented names involved, Cowboys & Aliens is a little under mediocre. It isn't absolutely horrid, but it isn't good. Some critics exaggerated just how bad it really is. The script is a mess, but the actors perform their best and the audio transfer is brilliant. Those who spent money to see this on the big screen I'm sure were disappointed and didn't feel they got his or her money's worth. I see this movie as a rental flick. Something that may be worth watching merely as a rental and not spending money on a movie ticket. However, even then, you may feel disappointed. Cowboys & Aliens could have been much better as my final verdict is that it's a bit below mediocracy.

My Rating = Two Stars

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