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I have yet to see a movie that made me sit up and go “Oh, oh my I need to buy the super directors cut, 2 dis!, blu ray right now." To put in a less roundabout way I have yet to see a movie this summer that I would really want to see twice, or add it to my still small collection o# “things I am willing to pay money #or" collection. Then I saw Cowboys and Aliens. This movie was promising, it was directed by a director I li!e, staring actors I really li!e, and based o# a comic boo! that I !ind o# li!ed. At the same time though I was a little bit cautious, #or one it was the title. I !now it was ta!en #rom the comic boo! but they could have changed it because it$s a crap title. %ure it states that this is a clever twist on two old ideas but I$m not a big #an o# titles that have to spell things out #or the audience. A good e&le o# how to name your clever retread o# an old idea lies in the wor!s o# 'ar! 'iller who wrote a comic boo! about an alternate (should it be alternate alternate)* universe where superman landed in communist +ussia instead o# ,ansas. -e titled it +ed %on. There, a clever title that while not spelling it out, but can easily be deciphered. I# I seem to be spending much more time on this sub.ect than I should it is because I want to recommend all o# 'ar! 'illers original wor!s because they are all stand outs in the cluttered realm that is comic boo!s and because a title is a pretty #uc!ing hard thing to mess up. The other thing that made me cautious is the source material. As I said be#ore I only !ind o# en.oyed the comic boo!. (written by %cott 'itchell +osenberg who is !nown to hang out with // Abrams*0hile it was a clever retread o# an old genre and !ept a lot o# charm #orm the old west it su##ered #orm being very poorly written. A mista!e I was hoping that director /ohn 1avreau (Iron Man* and writers 'ar! 1ergus, and -aw! Otsby (also wor!ed on Iron man* would correct. %o did it pull they o##) I guess you$ll have to sit through more misused commas, to #ind, out. Our hero #or this genre mash up is /a!e 2onergan (3aniel Craig* who wa!es up in the desert with a case o# amnesia and an alien device on his arm. /a!e channels /ason 4ourne by way o# the man with no name and it wor!s. The parts o# the movie dealing with his amnesia and abduction are interesting enough despite a large chun! o# the mystery being given away in that #uc!ing title. /a!e ma!es his way into a small town where he teaches a wimpy pun! a lesson. That wimpy pun! turns out to be the son o# 0oodrow 3olarhyde (-arrison 1ord* a tyrannical #ormer coronal turned cattle rancher who is the reason the small town still has any money to live o## o#. The town than!s /a!e #or the service but be#ore he can sit and drin! in peace he is ta!en into custody #or robbery and murder. 0oodrow shows up in town to deal with his son when he too recogni5es /a!e as the man who stole a large amount o# gold #rom him sometime be#ore the opening credits. 4e#ore the two men can resolve their di##erences, presumably by sitting down over some hot coco, aliens attac! the town, abduct some o# the town$s #ol! and it$s up to /a!e, 0oodrow and the other western characters to mount a rescue. 6ow a lot o# “space westerns" have come be#ore this. Cowboy 4ebop, 1ire#ly, %tar 0ars #or e&le. Two important things that every title in that list has in common 7 #irstly that all those e&les are incredibly good and each are included in the “things I
.ust incase you thought this sentence was going to end on a positive note I have to tell you that these great per#ormances are brought down by won!y character arch$s. I can$t in good consense blame the director because I$m not sure how much in#luence he might have actually have had in this process. -er character grows and changes but never in . which normally is per#ectly acceptable character development but the idea is that this relationship starts at the heartless . that$s a little odd.ust smash two set pieces #orm two genres together and see what happens. I !now I can$t blame the actors because the day I critici5e -arrison 1ords acting is the same day I o##icially have lost all sense o# right and wrong. %adly he #lits ine&pertly #orm bad ass to !indly old man at random points in the story.ust too many odd ball moments that !eep me #orm getting totally immersed.ob o# drawing you in and even when the aliens show up it doesn$t crac! the immersion but there are . As #or 3aniel Craig$s per#ormance.. The best e&le o# this is with -arrison #ords character. At times the cornel plays it as a straight bad ass who could care less. cool:. On the acting side o# things we some very good actors per#orming at their best but .ust going to describe my thought process through the #irst hour9 Oh loo! its /ames 4ond e&cept American and na!ed.er! and end with him becoming a hero to us and the !id. This is easily the most biased review I had ever done. he is competent but strangely bland. I e&pected my mind to be blown and to shut all those ignorant . I might be able to blame the writers their wac!y ideas o# character development and the rough transitions in tone could easily be there #ault.. I might end up having to . This is arguably the #irst attempt to .dope de doo oh classic old west characters and street #ights sweet this is getting pretty immersive I$m going to start turning o## my brain and get #ully absorbed in the story:oh sweet aliens. 0ait why do these clich8s !eep coming and going be#ore any development can happen) 0ait what the #uc! is that humming bird doing there) (At this point my immersion shatters and I start !ic!ing the chair in #ront o# me #or entertainment* The movie does do a pretty good .wait why did -an %olo$s character suddenly change drastically. %cott 'ichael +osenberg #or creating poor source material but I can$t do that ether because all he had to do was sign a sheet o# paper telling <niversal that they could ma!e this movie. but at arbitrary times turns into a heart#elt mentor. This is a very immersion brea!ing process that can ruin an otherwise #antastic movie. the !ey word being mostly. 0hen you do something li!e that it isn$t a grantee that the movie will be bad but you are going to have to try really hard to avoid what I call “!a chun!" moments (!a chun! being onomatopoeia #or the sound o# a big heavy lever switching positions* where a movie will try to #lit in e&plicably between to tones without any attempt to transition smoothly between the two. The mean tough military man is attempting to get his son bac! #rom the aliens and on the way there he starts to connect with the son o# the sheri## who is loo!ing to get is dad bac! #orm the aliens. I don$t even !now who to blame. Cowboys and Aliens is mostly success#ul in this respect. The most standout per#ormance goes to Oliva 0ild whose character is by #ar the most interesting and competently e&ecuted. I$m .er!s who have been blasting this movie ever since the #irst trailer.er!y moment by moment ways. 0hile the #latness o# his character does get a lot better by the end he is still the most uninteresting one in the bunch.would pay money #or" category and secondly they all too! they rout o# mi&ing themes and clich8s$ #orm the two genres in a more sophisticated way. I !now who I want to blame.
blame my sel# #or being an unappeasable . . I would compare watching this movie to reading a really good boo! on a buss7 every time you #ind yoursel# getting really involved in the story some #at guy sits ne&t to you or some homeless dude vomits on your shoes somewhat souring your e&perience.er! because despite what I$ve said this movie still has plenty o# charm but its all hidden under immersion brea!ing shi#ts and bumps.
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