Cowboys & Aliens (2011) (mini-review++)

(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

acting 5

directing 6

effects 6

editing 5

writing 5


2.5 out of 5 🐙


Believe it or not, I was really excited when I saw the trailer for this movie. I just thought the title was funny and the trailer was cut pretty well. But if you can’t cut a good trailer – if you can’t find 1-2 minutes of decent scenes in your movie – you have serious problems. I liked Daniel Craig and I was optimistic about seeing Harrison Ford in a good movie after many years without. Jon Favreau directed so I was also hopeful in that regard. The guy directed Iron Man after all. Olivia Wilde, Clancy Brown, and Sam Rockwell round out the able cast so all the pieces seemed to be in place for a fun time.

But while the name was fun and the premise was interesting, the movie was a paint by numbers action film. Sure, it combined two genres allegedly: western and sci-fi. But it was really just a buddy action film. It was full of well worn elements and beats: the grizzled and grumpy older buddy, the moment when the heroine falls in love with the hero while she is binding his wounds, the use of amnesia as a plot engine, the damsel being rescued, and Harrison Ford playing a grey-ish antihero. The icing on this unimaginative cake is the lacklustre design of the alien bad guys. Their look hardly inspired awe or wonder. And they even sounded like so many other monsters before them. A generation of sound techs seem to be using the same screeching template.

I wanted so much more. But this just felt like all promise and no punch.







(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)

One thought on “Cowboys & Aliens (2011) (mini-review++)

Leave a Reply