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Nordling Wanted More From COWBOYS & ALIENS!

Nordling here.

First, the good news - Harrison Ford does good work in COWBOYS & ALIENS.  He's fun to watch and he seems to be enjoying himself.  This film is definitely in his wheelhouse and he plays to his strengths.  The cinematography by Matthew Libatique is lush and gorgeous; the film looks like they spent the money on it.  What problems the film has are centered around writing and characterization, and you'd think that with 5 credited writers that some of these fundamental issues would have been hammered out.  There are deep issues with COWBOYS & ALIENS and it can't live up to the full potential of the premise of the film.

Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the middle of the desert, wounded in the side, with no memory of who he is, and a strange metallic bracelet on his left arm.  In the nearby town of Absolution Lonergan  manages to find a local preacher (Clancy Brown) to patch him up.  Absolution is ruled by Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) a cattle baron and former army commander in the Civil War.  His son Percy (Paul Dano) embarrasses him but he stands by his family.  Turns out Lonergan and his crew robbed Dolarhyde of his gold, and Dolarhyde wants payback.  Lonergan has no memory of the robbery, and as he's being arrested and taken to the federal marshal strange glowing things appear in the night sky.  Suddenly Absolution is under attack by an alien fleet and much of the town is abducted, including Percy and the local bartender's (Sam Rockwell) wife.  Dolarhyde forms a posse to get their townspeople back, and Lonergan, with the help of a mysterious barmaid (Olivia Wilde), must try to remember his past and how to stop this seemingly insurmountable force.

I don't have any issues with the film's concept.  I like mash-ups.  The best genre films love to throw all the variables together and see what sticks.  COWBOYS & ALIENS is no different in that respect - it's certainly not the first film to use this kind of concept, and probably won't be the last.  But it's the connective tissue that needs so much work.  Characters seem to change motivation practically mid-speech.  Dolarhyde, in particular, is introduced as something of a corrupt land baron, and then once the aliens attack he's practically a teddy bear.  Lonergan seems to come from villainous stock himself, but wipe his memory and he becomes mysterious and enigmatic.  There's nothing wrong with disparate characters coming together to fight off another threat and learn to be friends in the meantime; we've seen it before many times.  But even if it seems laborious to go through those story motions it's never clearer than in COWBOYS & ALIENS that those moments matter and you can't simply rush through them.  The characters of the film don't earn the friendship - once the aliens attack, nothing else matters.

Plus, the film just isn't much fun.  Once the posse leaves Absolution to find their lost townspeople, the film becomes dour, except for a  few scenes.  One scene in particular, when Craig tries to rescue Wilde's character from an alien collector ship, is fast, scary, and thrilling, and the joy on Lonergan's face when he says, "We were flying!" is palpable.  But there's not enough moments like that.  I like the aliens and their concept, even if they don't make a lot of evolutionary sense.  I also like how Jon Favreau insists on showing the aliens as much as he can instead of keeping them in the shadows.  But there doesn't seem to be much room for humor in the film except in small amounts.

The performances vary across the board.  As I mentioned before, Harrison Ford seems to be having a good time; even when his character's all over the map tonally, Ford brings it in well.  Olivia Wilde just doesn't work.  She's Mysterious Expositional Barmaid, and her back story could have been handled much better.  Daniel Craig's Western accent took some getting used to, but he's tough when it counts and he's a very believable hero.  My favorite character was Clancy Brown's Meacham - Brown seems to get the fun of the film even if others do not.

COWBOYS & ALIENS runs hot and cold.  There's enough terrific imagery and action that I think most audiences will enjoy it, but the film feels like there's something missing and that it could have been so much more.  Jon Favreau wanted to make a classic Western, but he doesn't shake up the archetypes enough to find something new in the genre, and just shoehorning an alien invasion isn't enough.  It's not a terrible film by any means, but you can see the film struggling against its limitations and never quite breaking past them.  It's hard to say where the problem lies - too many writers, perhaps? - but the film can't seem to find a consistent tone with the plot and the characters and in the end doesn't get there.  I wish the film had brought more fun into it - as it is, COWBOYS & ALIENS takes itself too seriously for the subject matter.  It needed, in short, to lighten up.

Nordling, out.

Readers Talkback
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  • July 29, 2011, 7:59 a.m. CST


    by CreepyThinMan

  • July 29, 2011, 8:01 a.m. CST

    Plus, the film just isn't much fun.

    by jimmy_009

    This was my main concern based off the trailers. It's cowboys and aliens. Why have a somber mood piece about cowboys and aliens? It should be exciting, but also FUN. It seems so obvious to me, and it looks like they went totally in the wrong direction. A depressing summer blockbuster about cowboys and aliens. Um... pass.

  • July 29, 2011, 8:09 a.m. CST

    Bring back Moriarty... This Nordling guy is about Knowles level... not a compliment

    by greigy just wanted to say

    Seriously you know when you read something by someone who knows what the fuck they're talk about... we know who on this site... and then you read something by someone who is just trying too damn hard... Not saying anything about the opinion of the film but Jeez this is forced stuff....

  • July 29, 2011, 8:12 a.m. CST

    More does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    Nordling wanted more from Cowboys & Aliens! But did he want more cowboys or more aliens?

  • July 29, 2011, 8:14 a.m. CST

    Saw it, loved it, recommend it. Nordling don't know his Ass from a Donkey.

    by Arkhaminmate001

    It works far better played straight than done 'wacky' as Nordling likes them - he's more attune to such movies as 'Attack the Block' as is his want. If it had been done for 'fun' people would be saying they should have played it straight. In a summer of brain dead soul sapping SFX movies i'm glad that C&A is here to mix things up. If you want zero story & explosions every 2 seconds there are plenty of other movies to see.

  • July 29, 2011, 8:18 a.m. CST

    Where's the SMURFS review?

    by chrisdosmil

    That's the film I'm most interested in seeing.

  • July 29, 2011, 8:23 a.m. CST


    by CreepyThinMan

  • July 29, 2011, 8:28 a.m. CST

    Glad that Nordling singled-out the writers...

    by justmyluck

    ... because you don't have to read minds - this high concept crapola reveals what they think about audiences. They know their target Joe Popcorn will go see anything with enough hard talk, action and VFX to float the biscuit. They write within genre parameters (even for a "genre bender"), please the studio with no surprises, play the game, everyone goes home with their checks and points. Filler. 44% on RT: And filler is never a crime if you're a gatekeeper of mediocrity.

  • July 29, 2011, 8:34 a.m. CST

    brokebackmountain cowboys vs aliens

    by DarthBlart

    would have broken down so much more barriers

  • July 29, 2011, 8:42 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    Another mash-up, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. Criminals on the run road movie becomes Vampire siege movie. Personally i'd have preferred 90 minutes of Salma Hayek snake dancing. Robert Rodriguez's private whack-off reel of cutting room floor footage from that day's shoot must get a lot of play.

  • July 29, 2011, 8:47 a.m. CST

    The ultimate I-don't-give-a-shit Movie

    by Autodidact

    There are movies about which I give less of a shit. But this movie makes me forcefully, intentionally not give a shit. It seems like such a cynical marketing driven product.

  • July 29, 2011, 9:04 a.m. CST

    Never really ha

    by Mr Soze

  • July 29, 2011, 9:11 a.m. CST

    Sorry...Had a mild seizure.

    by Mr Soze

    This has never felt like a must see. Can think of a ton of other things Id rather see Craig and Ford go head to head in.

  • I suspect I'm not alone in this preoccupation with the lithe, winsome, and crazy sexy Ms. Wilde.

  • July 29, 2011, 9:21 a.m. CST

    A 20 year old good Idea twinned with Dogshit covered in glitter

    by NeonFrisbee

    Ha! Well said.

  • July 29, 2011, 9:26 a.m. CST

    I dont think this film will break $50 Mil Domestic this weekend

    by harryknowlesnothingaboutfilm

  • July 29, 2011, 9:28 a.m. CST

    I've never seen a more boring looking trailer

    by Autodidact

    Honestly it looks like Jonah Hex meets Skyline to me.

  • July 29, 2011, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Harrison Ford sounds like he is talking with a mouthful of marbles.

    by harryknowlesnothingaboutfilm

  • July 29, 2011, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Man, FUCK this movie

    by Autodidact

    Something about it really bothers me. And what really annoys me is I'm going to have to go see it next weekend, probably.

  • July 29, 2011, 9:51 a.m. CST

    well that's all fine, but what about The Smurfs?

    by K-Gin

  • July 29, 2011, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Again...the movie isn't FUN

    by doom master

    What's this BS about downplaying FUN as if it's the topic of the week to haze on? You dont like to have fun? You think fun is overrated and not worth the definition? Then go kill yourself. Good lord people are SO bitter and miserable that they take the fun out of fun.

  • July 29, 2011, 10:11 a.m. CST

    This movie needed a singular writer, somebody like...

    by Orbots Commander

    ...a William Goldman, the screenwriting great, who wrote the Gibson version of Maverick and Butch and Sundance, of course.

  • July 29, 2011, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Clancy Brown

    by BackwardGalaxy

    "Brown seems to get the fun of the film even if others do not." That's because Clancy Brown is awesome. Not to say the others aren't, but let's give credit where it's due. Clancy Brown is the man.

  • July 29, 2011, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Robert Downey Jr.

    by krabklaw

    This movie would have been a lot more interesting if Robert Downey Jr. hadn't bailed. Like him or not, Daniel Craig doesn't do fun.

  • July 29, 2011, 10:58 a.m. CST

    I'm sorry, loner-gan?

    by mikemikemotorbike

    Am i reading that right? he wakes up alone with not memory and he's.... loner-gan? Why didn't they just call him, mystery-gan, or danger-gan, cowboy-gan. hilarious.

  • July 29, 2011, 11 a.m. CST

    wait, the rich guy is DOLAR-HYDE?

    by mikemikemotorbike

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME with these names???? Richie Rich had more subtlety.

  • July 29, 2011, 11:02 a.m. CST

    Brenda Eyecandy-burg

    by mikemikemotorbike

    I'm kinda disappointed now that the girl isn't named something like that. VanTokenchick

  • July 29, 2011, 11:12 a.m. CST


    by LUIS

    KNOWELS can´t review anything without throwing his fucking personal nostalgia into it or somehow relating it to his own personal life, i liked the fountain of youth cuz i grew up in a Victorian house just like the one in the movie, i like Nacho Libre cuz i attended a few lucha libre events in Mexico, i like Superman Returns cuz like me he grew up in a farm and traveled to the city, my favorite X-men first class character is Banshee cuz he is a redhead like me. FUCK! I mean can the guy get over his lack of biographical work and do non bias reviews for once without involving his wife his hospital bed his childhood traumas. It´s like he writes as if he was contemplated when the movie´s script was written. I like green lantern cuz like me he has a lot of will power, cuz I am going through therapy WHO GIVES A FLYING FUCK about your stupid life! I want a review not passages of you HARRY.

  • July 29, 2011, 11:26 a.m. CST

    Reverse frontier bungee jumping on horseback...

    by Immortal_Fish

    With a pew-pew macguffin to even the odds. Pass.

  • July 29, 2011, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Is this the next JAWS too?

    by Jay

    I've read so many reviews of C&A about what the film isn't, or what it should have been, or how it's too serious. So many people seem to simply be caught up with the goofy title alone. I'm not saying the film looks like a misunderstood masterpiece. But whenever I see the film, I'm not going to judge it by what I want it to be. I'll judge it by what it IS and tries to be. If the film has a serious tone, I'm going to take it seriously. If I want a rollercoaster-like ride when the film is not trying to be one, than holding that against the film would be an injustice on my part. One thing I get from a lot of these reviews is that people had a lot of preconceived notions that turned out different than what they thought. I get the vibe coming from lots of reviews that people who simply don't know how they should feel. It's like the first time you see Buckaroo Banzai or Big Trouble In Little China. "Is it a comedy? Is it an action movie? Is it a Kung Fu movie? I don't know!" It is what it is.

  • July 29, 2011, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Kurtzman and Orc write another mediocre movie. Who could have guessed?

    by Fortunesfool

  • July 29, 2011, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Dogshit covered in glitter!

    by Darth Macchio

    Awesome visual! I think Lady Gaga should use it on the cover of her next release!

  • July 29, 2011, 12:22 p.m. CST

    cont_vagina: Agree with me on what?


    You must have wanted to respond in another thread.

  • July 29, 2011, 12:28 p.m. CST

    Olivia Wilde FTW

    by optimus122

    I will be checking this out this weekend for sure. I love Olivia Wilde and Harrison Ford. Daniel Craig is good in just about every movie he has ever been in.

  • July 29, 2011, 12:46 p.m. CST

    90 minutes of Olivia Wilde doing her bedtime routine

    by Autodidact

    I'd rather watch that.

  • Screw you. It's not anyone else's problem but yours. Stop bringing in preconceived notions of what you think a movie should be and you'll enjoy alot more movies. The movie wasn't enough of a western for you, it didn't try to bring anything fresh to the genre? What? Really? Don't be a douchebag. First of all, the vast majority of modern moviegoers aren't burnt out on westerns. You have to remember not everyone is a movie buff that actively see as many old movies as we do. Also, most westerns are 2 to 3 hours long. Sorry they didn't shatter the standard genre in the 1st Act for you. I'm sorry, it just feels like a really dumb complaint to me...

  • I think it's a huge risk that might not pay off, but they should definitely be applauded for trying something new. If the execution is lacking, that sucks. But I give them two thumbs up for putting out a movie that switches genres halfway through...

  • July 29, 2011, 1:06 p.m. CST

    I'd rather see 'Captain America' again.

    by SmokingRobot

    A movie whose heart is in the right place and hits all the beats. C&A looks seriously dumb from the trailers.

  • July 29, 2011, 1:29 p.m. CST

    Haven't seen the movie yet...

    by emteem

    ...but it's cowboys fighting aliens. There are cowboys. And there are aliens. And then they fight.

  • July 29, 2011, 2:30 p.m. CST

    coughlins laws - bingo.

    by Boborci

  • Especially, when each genre is treated in as formulaic a manner as possible. Orci'd!

  • July 29, 2011, 2:42 p.m. CST

    Bob Orci, I already came up with your next screenplay


    Pirates Vs. Robots! Take the two B.O. juggernauts Pirates of the Caribbean and Bayformers and combine them = B.O. Gold, I tell, ya! You're Welcome!

  • July 29, 2011, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Woody vs. Buzz

    by sweeneydave

    That's the basic conept right?

  • July 29, 2011, 2:59 p.m. CST

    What, lack of Deep Wang?

    by thecinemasnob

  • July 29, 2011, 3:05 p.m. CST

    FYI Olivia Wild got FAT

    by doom master

    She was on Jimmy Kimmel last nite and looked like she ate a few too many Cheeseburgers....

  • July 29, 2011, 3:06 p.m. CST

    What problems the film has are centered around writing and characterization

    by kwisatzhaderach

    No shit. Step forward Kurtzman and Orci. Their glorious filmography speaks for itself.

  • July 29, 2011, 3:48 p.m. CST


    by johnnyrandom

    ...are you fucking serious? Your eyes got fat, son. That is NOT a fat woman. Talk like that is what leads to people developing eating disorders. Funny thing is, I bet you're a fucking beached whale yourself.

  • July 29, 2011, 4:27 p.m. CST

    I enjoyed it.

    by Imagikafan

    It's a fun flick with great special effects. I'd give it a solid 3 out of 4 stars.

  • July 29, 2011, 4:37 p.m. CST

    Loner- man?

    by cube3

    geesh... Lonergan? Loner- man... Dolarhyde?! Dollar Hide? he makums Dollars from Cow Hides.... OK this was from the Comicbook- hack creator, not the 5 "hollywood" hack writers...righto? New characters for JJ Trek 2--- Lt. Spaseman and Capt. Ale Ion.

  • July 29, 2011, 4:46 p.m. CST

    cube3: Don't forget vampire mad scientist Dr. Acula!


    Apologies to ED WOOD and Forrest Ackerman.

  • July 29, 2011, 6:46 p.m. CST

    This movie was cool.

    by ComSamVimes

    I had a really good time watching it. Probably had a silly grin the whole time.

  • July 29, 2011, 7:07 p.m. CST

    let's not call this a "Western" pleeease you can call it...

    by cgih8r

    A fun summer blockbuster, a stellar sci fi romp true the old west etc...but please please PULEEEZ don't refer to this as an addition to the western genre. Go watch Shane, the Wild Bunch or Monte Walsh to start if you wanna see what a real western is. Of course 99.9999% of the idiots on here wouldn't appreciate a quality movie if they saw one.

  • July 29, 2011, 7:12 p.m. CST


    by successor

    <p>I liked the film, but it could have been so much better if they played it as a straight Western instead of adding a science fiction plot to it. </p> <p>And gold? That was the aliens' whole reason for being here. Gold? Are you shitting me? Why?! Do they like shiny things? They have faster than light travel, jetcraft and weapons that can fry people. And they want gold. If they are that technologically advanced, why not make their own gold? Or go to an empty world without belligerents on it and mine the place. Why not abduct us because we have chemicals in our bodies that can make them immortal or use us for sport or for some other reason that isn't completely ridiculous?</p> <p>And the scene where Craig's cowboy escapes was absurd. The alien just leaves his armgun there next to Craig and doesn't secure him to the table. Maybe those aliens ought to look into restraints for their victims, you know, like the ones hospitals have now. Also, why did Wilde's character hide her identity? Why not inform the cowboys of the threat beforehand and help them take the armguns from the dead aliens? Instead the dummies continue to use mostly ineffective six-shooters and rifles against the invaders. Real smart.</p> <p>Despite my criticisms, I did like the photography a lot. The score was rousing, Craig and Ford worked well together and the film didn't bore me. Also I love Clancy Brown in the film. Please, give him more work. He's criminally underrated.</p>

  • July 29, 2011, 7:32 p.m. CST

    too many writers, perhaps?

    by eveelcapitalist

    Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, specifically. Those guys are the worst hacks working in Hollywood right now. Nordling, bless you, you've been on a roll lately. I think you pretty much nailed every problem with this film. Sure, it was okay, but it could have been better. But what about the alien's motivations? Okay, gold, fine, but why the abductions? It's written off as simply "they're looking for weaknesses!" Well, they got big stabby hands, and people are prone to dying when stabbed...there ya go. It was a bullshit post hoc rationlization because the creative team realized they had completely forgotten to even ask that question. I think when they wrote the script they just took it for granted that, hey, aliens abduct people, right? Why question it? And that just made it too easy for the heroes. Everyone is convenienltly rounded up in some alien holding tank, high as kites watching an alien lava lamp. Too easy, man. How about some friggin' danger? And *spoiler* Olivia Wilde's sacrifice at the end? Wasn't feeling it. Never really felt necessary. Why not let Daniel Craig die? It's just as well he had nothing to live for and I think the story was more emotionally invested in his arc anyway. At least his sacrifice would have had meaning. No. It wasn't all that. It started strong, but never really met its potential. Damn shame, I had high hopes for this movie.

  • July 29, 2011, 7:38 p.m. CST

    But if I can add one more thing

    by eveelcapitalist

    The real star of the movie? Olivia Wilde's perky and dark rock hard nipples. That dress she wore was a little too thin and sheer for the era but by God you'll hear no complaints from me!

  • July 29, 2011, 7:40 p.m. CST

    lol.ok. fair enough but...

    by cube3

    forrey was the punmiester... and no one let him make a 60 million dollar movie though come to think of it, it couldnt be any worse than alot of todays stuff;) btw- i have in front of me the latest FM on the "monster kids".... and you have to admit, the elder kids at least made up characters named after the dog;)....

  • July 29, 2011, 7:45 p.m. CST

    hey no joke...

    by cube3

    zombies vs robots just sold... no .. really.. im serious.

  • July 29, 2011, 7:48 p.m. CST

    Lush & Beautiful? Movie looks like they spent a lot on it?? WTF??

    by Kevinicus

    The movie looked cheap and dull. It looked like most of the budget was spent on hiring the likes f Ford and Craig. I'd say District 9 looked like it spent a lot more on it than this movie did, and that's not even taking into account the effects which were WAY better in District 9.

  • July 29, 2011, 8:20 p.m. CST

    Good summertime popcorn movie

    by effector12

    Craig, Ford, Rockwell, and Wilde were a great cast with good chemistry together. The film had plenty of explosions, cgi, aliens, and sweet laser guns. The story just like it's main character's memory came around slowly, but still delivered. Just saw the movie and would see it again.

  • July 29, 2011, 8:27 p.m. CST

    You all know the movie is based on the graphic novel?

    by Wookie_Weed

    Right? I'm not dealing with the dumbest geek website on the planet am I?

  • July 29, 2011, 8:30 p.m. CST

    Also, the comic writer was involved in

    by Wookie_Weed

    MiB. Enough said. The problem with C&A (no, not c*nts & assholes), is that there literally are too many writers eating the pie.

  • July 29, 2011, 9:03 p.m. CST

    Why did anyone expect this to be a good film?

    by Neil

    Harry will LOOOOVE it!

  • July 30, 2011, 12:29 a.m. CST

    This review was spot on.

    by Brian Cavallaro

    I'm not joking. I agree with everythng he said. You have 5 writers, and you can't write one full character that I give a piss about. The first 30 mnutes were spot on and awesome and then the movie just died. Very disappointing. Attack the Block is the best movie I have seen this year.

  • And many who know the comic said there was quite a few changes for the movie. So, your point is?

  • Of cours,e to make it a good western, Orci and Kurtzman and all the assclowns who wrote this movie had to go. This guys can't even write SF, which is their own speciality, much less a western where you have to have more stuff to the story then just shoving a lot of special effects CGI gimmickry.

  • July 30, 2011, 6:05 a.m. CST

    I can think of a better Western Mashup than C&A

    by Stalkeye

    A widdle film back in the day called John Carpenter's Vampires? :P

  • July 30, 2011, 6:15 a.m. CST

    This Movie appears to be a False Dawn on arrival.

    by Stalkeye

    Congrats Bore-ci, you have exceeded my expectations of your lack of talent. And when the movie studios finally wake up and blacklist your ass, I have a few friends who are anxious to hear your explanation(in person, mind you.) of writing racial caricatures in a cartoon/toy based film adaptation. (0:<

  • You pay for this products, you better have them good. It's basic consumer quality right. The cheese movie eating surrender monkeys to the studios who like any dumb blockbuster movie as entertaiment are for the movie crowd what in the food industry would be anybody who would go to a restaurant and ate at a joint full of coachroaches walking freely on the table and dead flies on their sup. And then they would say they liked the meal a lot because they were entertaimed by the coachroaches walking about and the prettty dead flies in the sup. It's just stupid and all they are doing is hurt themselves unwillingly. To give free passes to people who treat them as stupid morons. How have this come to be?

  • July 30, 2011, 7:35 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    "I have a few friends who are anxious to hear your explanation(in person, mind you.) of writing racial caricatures in a cartoon/toy based film adaptation" I'd pay to see that.

  • July 30, 2011, 8:32 a.m. CST

    i love favreau but..

    by chargester

    He's no action director. Iron Man 1 was a stars-in-alignment lucky break of the decade. Look at the directing. It's probably the least-special of all the superhero flicks, I mean every last one, even the ones I hated it. Sure yeah it's arguably the best one of all time, but they tossed it to a noob and it was a collaborative effort that pulled it off --the cast, the crew. He'd be a bad director if it wasn't for his collaborative spirit.

  • July 30, 2011, 9:05 a.m. CST

    better mashup -- Enterprise 3x09 -- "North Star"

    by chargester Download it, or stream it above! It's part of a season-long arc but even if you have never seen Star Trek: Enterprise, it's a standalone episode you can enjoy. It's in the style of the old Star Trek with a message, unlike the new movie. Thank me later.

  • July 30, 2011, 10:15 a.m. CST

    Shame, I actually thought this could be good...

    by SK229

    It really is a miracle when a movie actually turns out well, isn't it? The bottom line is, these movies just cost too much money to 'let it be', unless you have a very powerful director at the helm, like Nolan or Spielberg, you just don't know where the wheels fell off. With those guys, it's fairly certain that 'the buck stops here' and you can pretty much blame them if things go wrong... somewhere, they made an unwise decision that derailed some part or all of the movie. I don't think Favreau or Johnston or Martin Campbell, for that matter, are either powerful enough or good enough directors to have that resolute control of the tone and overall end-product. Just spitballin' here... I think the future of great movies is with what people like Blomkamp are doing... make something you know is gonna get attention and put asses in the seats, the way studios used to do genre (Star Wars, The Exorcist, The Godfather, Raiders), but also be able to maintain your vision and control BY LOWERING THE FUCKING BUDGET AND BEING SOMEONE THAT NAME ACTORS WILL WORK WITH FOR LESS MONEY, and do it by raising the money outside of Hollywood. If you're a hedge fund that will put money into movies, where are the opportunities? The opportunities are genre directors who COULD go shoot Captain America but instead decide to go outside the Hollywood system, grab a few name actors in the process, and make a movie with total control for $50-$75 million, not $200 million. I'm amazed more filmmakers aren't doing this, although I know many Hollywood movies finance portions of their budget this way... I'm sure there's something I'm not aware of. Maybe a hedge fund WOULDN'T give a Joe Johnston or Jon Favreau $60 million to make a movie because he can't get names for scale? To do that, you really gotta go rogue, I guess, and be a P.T. Anderson or Neill Blomkamp (and I don't think he's the second coming nor is D9 perfect for the people who would flame me, but obviously he garnered enough respect with one movie to put together a great cast and a good budget outside of studio money, that much is fact).

  • Not even Stanley Kubrick could make a decent movie out of a script writen by this two assclowns.

  • Great "Man with No Name" vibe in the beginning. Really set up that dark, mysterious stranger mood. Wonderful cast of characters in the town. Some memorable stuff. Got really uncomfortable and uneven when the aliens came to town. First, there was that entire block of time filmed practically in the pitch black of night. Really hard to get into the movie like that. The ambient lighting was almost non-existent. Second, once the aliens got introduced, the story was heavily padded just to fill time. Pursue the aliens. Mix it up with the old gang. Run into the locals. Argue. Bitch. Repeat. There just wasn't much to the second act. It was all a blobby blur. The movie ended off well enough. Some nice man VS alien stuff there, especially with Wilde pulling a Randy Quaid on the aliens. The ending was satisfying enough and the aliens looked cool, even if they had that obvious physical flaw. My REAL problem was in the simplicity of the conflict and the aliens' motivation. Honestly, somebody just took a regular cowboys & indians movie and replaced the dirty, evil prospector with aliens. That came off as lazy. Granted, gold was rare. WHY did they need it? No explanation there. Other than greed. It also bothered me that the whole idea of alien abduction felt tacked on. So, as I understand it, they were kidnapping people to figure out their weaknesses. FUCK ME!!! Soft humans with pea shooter guns and zero tech VS aliens with tough hide, lots of tech, and fucking lasers! Sheesh!!! =) Exactly WHAT weakness were they looking for? They could blast us. They could disintegrate us. Remove the tech and they could just tear us apart with their bare hands - all 4 of them. That's why the alien abduction thing made no sense. The wanted the gold? They grabbed the gold. Anybody who stood in their way got torn apart or blasted to bits without anything more than a casual glance. They didn't need to find our weaknesses. They were EASILY the superior biological entities. They had superior tech too. Humans weren't anywhere close to a threat. That the movie's writers made humans out to be a legitimate threat seemed a bit contrary to what we were actually being shown So... Lame gold prospector cliche Sloppy, padded middle with cannon fodder characters Lamer abduction thing tacked on for no reason Good beginning. Good ending. Good cast, even if some weren't used fully. C&A isn't a bad movie. It isn't a great movie either. Had they fixed the problems I had here, it could've been a B+/A- movie. As it stands, it's really C/C+. Not worth a full ticket price, but at least worth seeing if you can get a cheap matinee ticket.

  • With such advanced nucelar fusion technology, this guys could make all the gold they would need. All the matter that we know, except Hydrogen, is made inside stars through nuclear fusion. Gold is made inside stars. So, this stupid motivation for the aliens to attack Earth is because of GOLD?? How adsurd can that be? This is the shit they are inventing now to justify an alien invasion in movies? They are galactic highway robbers? Give me a break!

  • July 30, 2011, 7:01 p.m. CST


    by HughHoyland

    Is not, I repeat not a "bad" movie IMO. Damn I enjoyed the crap out of it. Tons of action, a solid story line (I mean come on its a story about freaking Coboys Vs Aliens not Othello) And you cant beat the cast. Sorry but its solid effort and better (enjoyable) than most the stuff I've seen this year so far.

  • July 30, 2011, 11:06 p.m. CST

    Nordling, do you ever proofread your reviews?

    by seasider

    Your writing is all over the place and you have too many awkward sentence structures that are often redundant. I agree with a lot of what you're saying in your review though.

  • Aug. 1, 2011, 3:50 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    "its a story about freaking Coboys Vs Aliens not Othello" That argumentation has been demolished more then ten years ago. It no longer works. It never did to begin with. And just because a movie has action scenes do not make it good. It takes more then that. Much, much more.