I’ve been looking forward to the release of ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ with a lot of anticipation ever since the teaser trailer began running over a year ago. The unique genre-blending concept grabbed my attention and never let go. Unfortunately, I let my excitement get the best of me. My expectations were sky high, so high that the movie itself turned out to be a bit of a let-down. But what did I expect from an alien invasion flick set during the Wild West?
‘Cowboys & Aliens’ follows the form of a traditional Western. An outlaw (Daniel Craig) gets caught in a small town. A local oppressive bully (Harrison Ford) gets tied in with the anti-hero, and they must work together with a misfit group to bring down a larger evil. In this case, that evil is a group of kidnapping and murdering aliens.
While ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ opens with amnesiac Daniel Craig violently going James Bond all over a posse’s ass, it quickly turns into more of a straightforward Western than the genre-bender advertised. Sure, the aliens pop up here and there, but not nearly enough to earn a nod in the film’s title. Not until the final act do we get the alien goods we came for. The uber-graphic end battle is so bloody and violent that, if it weren’t for the popping heads resting on alien shoulders, ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ would be have received a hard R-rating for graphic violence.
I went out of my way to not see any footage beyond the original teaser to keep the movie fresh. After seeing it, I’m shocked at how much the ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ TV spots reveal. If you haven’t seen them, avoid them at all cost unless you want major plot points spoiled.
Despite letting me down, ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ is still a fun popcorn movie. I’m fully aware that my mediocre rating possibly stems from being let down, so I plan to see it again this weekend to give it full justice. It’s for this reason that I wish some films were screened for press more than once.