This is Close Encounters of the Terrible Kind! I don’t understand how a project that has such big named producers and creators along with a star studded talented cast can end up being such a boring, convoluted genre mess ripe with every western and sci-fi trope shoved down the audience’s throats. This was a film that I anticipated for this summer. The trailer looked good and even though I have never read the source material, my understanding of its premise made this Hollywood venture seem promising. What is sad is the trailers for this film seemed better edited and produced than the film itself.
Daniel Craig gives a forgettable leading man performance playing up the stranger with no name western trope that had potential to be great and just fell flat. Harrison Ford is shifted in the beginning of this film from the usual hero leading man he plays to the western trope of evil cattle baron. However, rather than sticking to that he quickly evolves with little resistance to the good guy hero type of the sci-fi genre trope. Olivia Wilde plays a cardboard lifeless character that could have been interesting based on what she was supposed to be, but ends up becoming one of the most boring parts of the film.
Cowboys & Aliens is a genre mash up that suffers from the classic Hollywood machine where we are just expected to throw down our 10 bucks, eat some popcorn and turn into mindless zombies for 2+ hours. The aliens in this film are a joke. We do not feel any true sense of danger from them. The CG of this film is so lackluster; it made me yearn for the sci-fi effects of 1950’s B sci-fi movies. The film has plot holes big enough to drive a herd of cattle through and the interaction between the characters is bizarre at best and uninteresting. The Indians in this film make no sense. They feel that the white man brought this evil down on earth and are ready to kill for that reason, but forgive this in a matter of seconds when Wilde’s character has her big reveal scene. That scene in my opinion would have driven the Indians into even more of a frenzy of superstition, but no, they just accept it. This makes no sense just like the rest of this film.
This film is way too long, there are way too many drawn out boring scenes. How many times do we have to watch them ride through the dessert? Jon Favreau has not made a classic genre film as hoped. Instead we got a mess that I dare say wastes time of everyone involved including the audience. This is another cookie cutter Hollywood assembly line made film. I had a better reaction to ‘Wild Wild West’ than to this film if that tells you anything.
I give this film 1.5 stars out of 5. Avoid this film if you can. If you feel you must see it, wait until it is streaming on Netflix.
Listen to what these nerds heard: