Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Review of "Cowboys and Aliens" (the movie)
I have really got to stop my impulse-buying of new movies on DVD.
I mean, I go into Barnes and Noble, and browsing through the new stuff I notice DVD releases of movies I had maybe a little bit of interest in going to the theater to see some five or six months earlier. The fact that I DIDN'T go to see them at the theater should give me the first warning that maybe it's a good idea to not buy the DVD… but hey, like many of us, I get seduced by packaging.
So it was a few days ago when I picked up the DVD release of "Cowboys and Aliens", which I watched last night. I should not have expected too much, given that two of the people credited with writing the screenplay were Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who were also responsible for writing the execrable "Star Trek" movie (or, as I like to call it, "that sci-fi flick somebody mistakenly titled "Star Trek"") which came out in 2009. But -- it stars Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, and it's directed by John "Iron Man" Favreau… it couldn't be THAT bad, could it?
Yes, it could. And it is.
While looking on amazon.com to confirm the names of the screenwriters, I noticed that there is actually an extended version of the movie, which adds about eighteen minutes to the regular version's running time. Gack! I can't imagine sitting through even a few more minutes of the interminable "action", the infantile character relationships, the parade of "Western" movie stereotypes and cliches, and the just plain ol' stupidity of this movie.
Wait a minute -- maybe I am looking at this the wrong way. Maybe those extra eighteen minutes turn this movie from one that I fast-forwarded through half of into a really good, well-thought-out, exciting science fiction/adventure film with characters I might care about and a story that made sense.
I guess I'll never know… because watching the regular version last night was almost painful, and too unpleasant to even consider wasting another two hours or so sitting through it again. I won't deny that the effects weren't nicely done -- they were -- but these days, it's hard to see a big-budget flick of this type where the effects AREN'T done well.
There is so much that is dopey about this movie that I don't have the time (or energy) to touch on everything, but I will point out perhaps the most ridiculous bit of all -- the rationale for the aliens' coming to Earth: They want our gold.
They want our gold because… umm… because… let's see… because... they want it!
(Now, to be fair, there may have been an logical explanation for a starfaring species' ravenous desire for Earth's gold, one which I missed because of my fast-forwarding, and if somebody knows what that is and wants to inform me, I'm all ears. Maybe it's included in the "extended cut" of the movie.)
It's not quite as idiotic as the aliens coming to Earth because they want our water (as seen in the original "V" television miniseries), but it's pretty close. -- PL