?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Movie review: Cowboys & Aliens

Okay, so I admit it. I am a tool of Hollywood. Every now and then, a movie comes out which I know I will see, despite the fact that my higher self is screaming at me in disgust and loathing for even considering the prospect.

Like the new Star Trek reboot, for example. I went to see it knowing it was going to be a travesty, and I was right. When the sequel comes out, I will see it, too, even though I know it's going to be a disaster of a movie and I'm probably going to detest the whole shambling thing.

I saw the latest incarnation of the Indiana Jones saga adventure money machine, expecting it to be bad, and it turned out to be even worse than I could ever have dreamed. And if another one comes out, I'll probably see it, too (and say snarky thins about it on my blog).

It was with that feeling I went to see a cheap matinee of Cowboys and Aliens.



It's a gritty Western in which a rugged group of cowboys in a small Western town take on a rampaging group of aliens with spaceships and stuff. With a premise like that, how could it possibly go right? I mean, seriously, think Battlefield Earth for a prime example of what this idea is likely to lead to.

I was surprised.

And pleasantly so, which is a bit of a rarity. (That's one of the downsides of being an optimist; an optimist is almost never pleasantly surprised.) The plot--there was one! I'm totally using that word non-ironically!--was surprisingly strong, and the move really was a whole lot better than it had any right to be. All it really needed was dialog, and it'd have been awesome indeed.

The film goes something like this:

COWBOY #1 wakes up in the middle of a DESERT
COWBOY #1 looks around with a STEELY GAZE
COWBOY #1: Hm.
COWBOY #1 looks at a GIZMO locked onto his WRIST with a STEELY GAZE
COWBOY #1: Hm.
COWBOY #1 hits the GIZMO with a ROCK. It FAILS to FALL OFF
COWBOY #1: Hm.
COWBOY #1 hits the GIZMO with a ROCK AGAIN. It still FAILS to FALL OFF
COWBOY #1: Hm.

A band of RUFFIANS shows up
RUFFIAN #1: How far to the nearest town?
COWBOY #1: Hm.
RUFFIAN #1: Today is not your lucky day.
COWBOY #1 kills all the RUFFIANS and steals their CLOTHES and their HORSES and their DOG
AUDIENCE: This would be a great opportunity for some witty dialog!
JON FAVREAU: I'm too busy counting my money to write any dialog.
AUDIENCE: With all that money, you could hire Steven Moffat to write it for you!
JON FAVREAU: Steven who?
AUDIENCE: ...
SMALL-TOWN PREACHER: Put your hands up.
COWBOY #1: I've been shot.
SMALL-TOWN PREACHER: Are you a good guy or a bad guy?
COWBOY #1: Beats me. I'm the guy on the movie poster, how's that?
SMALL-TOWN PREACHER: OK, I'll stitch you up, but I'll make sure it hurts. By the way, you haven't been shot.
COWBOY #1: Oh.
An ASSHOLE KID starts SHOOTING UP THE TOWN
BARKEEP: You shouldn't shoot up the town. Plus, you owe me money.
ASSHOLE KID: My dad is Harrison Ford.
COWBOY #1 fixes the ASSHOLE KID with a STEELY GAZE
ASSHOLE KID: Give me money.
COWBOY #1: No.
COWBOY #1 sucker-punches the ASSHOLE KID in the NADS
ASSHOLE KID: Ow! You punched me in the nads! That hurt! Plus, my dad is Harrison Ford!
The ASSHOLE KID shoots some RANDOM PERSON
SHERIFF: I have to arrest you now.
TONTO: You should not arrest him. His dad is Harrison Ford.
The SHERIFF arrests the ASSHOLE KID
TONTO: I'm totally going to tell Harrison Ford you did that.
SHERIFF: Okay.
COWHAND #1: I don't like Harrison Ford. I hear he shot a bounty hunter in a bar once.
COWHAND #2: STFU.
COWHAND #3: Yeah, STFU. Everyone knows the bounty hunter shot first.
SPACE ALIENS swoop down and kill ALL THE COWS and ALL THE COWHANDS except COWHAND #1
COWHAND #1: ...
COWBOY #1 drinks a lot of WHISKEY
WEIRD CHICK: Hi.
COWBOY #1: Go away.
WEIRD CHICK: How come you don't like me?
COWBOY #1: I'm a cowboy. This is a cowboy movie. You figure it out.
WEIRD CHICK: ...
WEIRD CHICK: I didn't know this was that kind of cowboy movie.
SHERIFF: We are all going to arrest you now.
COWBOY #1: Go away.
SHERIFF: No.
WEIRD CHICK: Okay.
They all ARREST COWBOY #1
HARRISON FORD: Where are my cows?
COWHAND #1: Would you believe space aliens?
HARRISON FORD: No.
TONTO: The sheriff arrested your asshole son.
SHERIFF: I am going to take the Asshole Kid and Cowboy #1 to the Federal marshals.
HARRISON FORD: No you aren't.
SHERIFF: Yes I am.
HARRISON FORD: No you aren't.
The GIZMO starts to BEEP
AUDIENCE: Woohoo!
The AUDIENCE starts MUNCHING POPCORN in anticipation of ALIEN-ON-COWBOY MAYHEM
ALIEN SPACESHIPS start SHOOTING THINGS and SNATCHING PEOPLE
COWBOY #1: Hm.
COWBOY #1 fixes an ALIEN SPACESHIP with a STEELY GAZE
COWBOY #1 shoots down the ALIEN SPACESHIP
AUDIENCE: Some clever dialog here would rock.
JON FAVREAU: STFU.
A SPACE ALIEN runs away
HARRISON FORD: Let's all chase the space alien.
WEIRD CHICK: You should totally go with Harrison Ford.
COWBOY #1: No.
COWBOY #1 has a vision of a SPACE ALIEN snatching his GIRLFRIEND and stealing his GOLD
COWBOY #1: Oh. Right. I should totally go with Harrison Ford.
TONTO: The space alien is going toward that upside-down steamship that's sitting in the desert.
HARRISON FORD: Let's camp inside that upside-down steamship that's sitting in the desert.
AUDIENCE: ...
SPACE ALIEN: Brrrraaaraaaraaar!
HARRISON FORD: The space alien was inside the upside-down steamship sitting out in the desert? I totally didn't see that coming.
TONTO: The space alien is going into that canyon.
HARRISON FORD: Hey, young boy, this reminds me of this time I was your age and I went into a bar in Mos Eisley.
YOUNG BOY: What did you do?
HARRISON FORD: I shot Greedo in the face.
YOUNG BOY: I thought he shot first.
HARRISON FORD: You are naive. You have only seen the remastered version. When you are a man, you will understand.
BANDIT #1: This is a holdup!
COWBOY #1 fixes BANDIT #1 with a STEELY GAZE
BANDIT #1: Boss? Is that you?
COWBOY #1: Yep.
BANDIT #2: You're not the boss of me!
The BANDITS chase COWBOY #1 and HARRISON FORD and the WEIRD CHICK and the YOUNG BOY and TONTO
The SPACE ALIENS attack the BANDITS and the COWBOYS and HARRISON FORD and the WEIRD CHICK and the YOUNG BOY and TONTO
COWBOY #1: Hm.
The SPACE ALIENS snatch the WEIRD CHICK
COWBOY #1 jumps on the SPACESHIP that snatched the WEIRD CHICK
COWBOY #1: Can you swim?
WEIRD CHICK: Um...maybe?
COWBOY #1 shoots down the ALIEN SPACESHIP while he and the WEIRD CHICK are still on it.
They fall into the WATER
AUDIENCE You should get out of the water now.
COWBOY #1: I think we should hang out here in the water for a while and chat.
SPACE ALIEN: Raaaaraaaraagh!
The SPACE ALIEN stabs the WEIRD CHICK
COWBOY #1: The space alien fell in the water too? I totally didn't see that coming.
COWBOY #1 shoots the SPACE ALIEN
COWBOY #1: You're going to be okay.
WEIRD CHICK: Whew! That's a relief.
The WEIRD CHICK dies
APACHE CHIEF: You are all my prisoners.
HARRISON FORD: You should let us go.
APACHE CHIEF: 403 Forbidden.
HARRISON FORD: Huh?
APACHE CHIEF: Sorry, geek humor. No.
The APACHE CHIEF sets the WEIRD CHICK on FIRE to show that he means BUSINESS
HARRISON FORD: I'm Harrison Ford. I killed a whole bunch of you in...oh, wait, that was probably the wrong thing to say, wasn't it?
TONTO: Yeah, probably.
The WEIRD CHICK comes BACK TO LIFE and walks around NAKED
AUDIENCE: Turn around!
WEIRD CHICK: I can't. This movie is rated PG-13.
AUDIENCE: ...
WEIRD CHICK: Surprise! I'm a space alien.
COWBOY #1 fixes the WEIRD CHICK with a STEELY GAZE
COWBOY #1: Hm.
WEIRD CHICK: You know where the space aliens are.
COWBOY #1: No I don't.
WEIRD CHICK: Yes you do.
COWBOY #1: No I don't.
WEIRD CHICK: You totally do.
COWBOY #1: I totally don't. I don't remember a thing. I have this thing called...damn, I forget.
APACHE CHIEF: We can help with that.
COWBOY #1: You're not going to hit me on the head with a rock like on that one episode of Scooby Doo, are you?
APACHE CHIEF: Yep.
COWBOY #1: ...
APACHE CHIEF: I'm just fucking with you. We're going to drug you and make you trip balls for, like, three days.
COWBOY #1: Okay.
COWBOY #1 TRIPS BALLS. He has VISIONS of UNICORNS and PONIES and RAINBOWS and the SPACE ALIENS killing his GIRLFRIEND
COWBOY #1: Oh, that's right, I know where the space aliens are.
They go to the ALIEN SPACESHIP
HARRISON FORD: That's a mighty big fort.
OBI-WAN KENOBI: That's no fort, it's a space station!
SPACE ALIEN #1: We three kings be stealing the gold!
SPACE ALIEN #2: Wrong movie, numbnuts.
HARRISON FORD: Let's attack the alien spaceship and kill all the aliens and free the villagers.
APACHE CHIEF: Are you nuts? We know what happens when a Bronze Age society goes up against an industrial society, and that's only, like, what, four tech levels higher? These guys are seven or eight tech levels above you.
APACHE CHIEF: Plus, they have spaceships. With lasers and stuff.
HARRISON FORD: Did I mention that I'm Harrison Ford?
APACHE CHIEF: Oh, right. Okay, we're in.
GEORGE LUCAS: Hey, Harrison, remember to wait for the space aliens to shoot at you before you shoot at them!
HARRISON FORD: Fuck you, George.
HARRISON FORD starts SHOOTING at the SPACE ALIENS
WEIRD CHICK: Don't look at the light.
COWBOY #1: Okay.
COWBOY #1 looks at the LIGHT and ZONES OUT
WEIRD CHICK: I said DON'T look at the light.
COWBOY #1: Oh, right.
There are EXPLOSIONS and GUNFIGHTS and THINGS BLOWING UP
WEIRD CHICK: Give me the gizmo and I'll blow myself up.
COWBOY #1: No.
WEIRD CHICK: I'll kiss you if you do.
COWBOY #1: Okay.
The WEIRD CHICK blows up HERSELF and the SPACESHIP and all the SPACE ALIENS
HARRISON FORD: I sure could use a good man 'round here.
AUDIENCE: Can we have some good dialog now please?
JON FAVREAU: We've discussed this already. The answer is no.
The movie ENDS


Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
chaosdancer
Aug. 7th, 2011 10:37 pm (UTC)
Hee!! That was Cleolinda-worthy. :) I so hope at some point soon I have a car and money at the same time, so I can go see that. There's three movies I want to see in theaters at the same time - this, Captain America and the Apes one. It's been years since that's happened, so this is extremely cool.
james_the_evil1
Aug. 7th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure how the movie can live up to this.
(Deleted comment)
flamingnerd
Aug. 7th, 2011 11:45 pm (UTC)
LOL
(Deleted comment)
mouser
Aug. 8th, 2011 01:13 am (UTC)
Waaaaait a minute1

Wait!

Wait!

Wait!

Wait!

He steals their dog?
ashbet
Aug. 9th, 2011 03:42 am (UTC)
I just saw the movie, and your review is dead-on -- I SO approve :D :D :D

-- A <3
blogtodiffer
Aug. 10th, 2011 03:15 pm (UTC)
WEIRD CHICK: How come you don't like me?
COWBOY #1: I'm a cowboy. This is a cowboy movie. You figure it out.
WEIRD CHICK: ...

Awesome plot summary - and I was pleasantly surprised by the movie as well.

There was a plot, Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, some hot chick, Tonto and the dog. I mean, what more could one ask for? Although you're right - until you pointed it out I couldn't put my finger on what was missing. DIALOG. But you can always replace good DIALOG with a STEELY GAZE, right?
rain_herself
Aug. 14th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
Yup, that was pretty much it.
chaos5023
Aug. 22nd, 2011 04:03 pm (UTC)
In the comic book, there was an actual moment for the Subtle Irony™ of the aliens being a comparable number of tech levels above the white people that the white people were above the natives. Clearly that moment was too heavy-handed for Jon Favreau.

I want to kind of point out here that the love interest chick successfully sacrificed herself heroically and was not at any time rescued, prevented, or even discouraged from doing so. I don't know what's more encouraging, that it happened or that people largely seem to have not noticed how transgressive that was.
tommy50702
Dec. 22nd, 2014 01:55 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed this movie. It mostly delivers on its promise of an exciting genre mash-up.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )