Saturday, August 27, 2011

Movie Review Smorgasbord Round-up Extravaganza - The Complete Collection Part 10: Cowboys & Aliens

And, friends, we once again return to the town of blogville, blogsylvania, narrowing avoiding the unspoken tragedy that is "not updating your blog in a year" by "updating the blog the week before you haven't updated it in a year," or the Oh Crap I Knew I'd Forgotten Something method of blog writing.

A great deal has occurred since last we wrote. Or at least, since I wrote. You don't write. You just sit here and read everything I've written down, without taking the time to write back. Not even one letter at Christmas. You bastard. But that great deal is a story for another day. As a brief recap, I'm still working at the same office, having been kicked out of the project I was in, asked BACK into the project I was in, promoted, sidemoted, and then promoted again in a slightly different way.

I'm still working on games (though the hl2 project has been sidelined until we know more about how to make projects in hl2) and we are currently focusing on smaller scale project that is making great progress and nearing the completion of the pre-alpha stage. I don't know what you'd call that. Noughtpha or something.

I'm still single, though not the same single I was last time. C'est la vie, as you say. If you're French. I'm not French. So I don't say it. Except I did. Chew on that, paradoxes.

But I didn't come to talk to you about that, I came to talk to you about Cowboys shooting Space Ships with Ray Guns.

Allow me to elaborate.

A week ago I decided that I'd quite like to get into the habit of seeing a movie once a week as a nice little tradition for myself. Sure enough, one week later, I found myself at the cinema. My choices for the evening were a movie about aliens overthrowing humans that were cowboys, or a movie about apes overthrowing humans that were jerks. Cowboys and Aliens won because it was on first. Good odds on Rise of the Planet of the Apes next week.

Cowboys and Aliens is directed by Jon Favreau, a man I had never heard of until I rather excitedly saw his name in the credits for Iron Man, and then rather less excitedly saw his name in the credits for Iron Man 2, a film that proved that more of the same thing can be a bad thing. More of EXACTLY. THE SAME. THING.

Perhaps being rather embarrassed when he realised that he'd accidentally grabbed the wrong script on the way to the film shoot for Iron Man 2, Favreau decided to drop out of Iron Man 3 and instead make Cowboys and Aliens, a film that tries as hard as it possibly can to not be Iron Man. Here's a quick comparison:

Cowboys and Aliens (C&A): Gruff silent hero that can beat the crap out of anything with his bare hands.
Iron Man (IM): Wise cracking talkative hero that can beat the crap out of anything with his bare futuristic power suit covered hands.

So far so good.

C&A: YeOlde Western Type Times with horses and shotguns.
IM: Modern Times with fast cars and fast women (I've never understood that expression. Surely the women are considerably slower than even most reasonably priced cars. I mean, I saw a woman running pretty fast the other day, but she wasn't THAT fast...).

Still on track.

C&A: Evil Aliens.
IM: Evil Jeff Bridges.

Yup, we're on to something.

C&A: Vague under explained motives for villain with a convenient and somewhat contrived resolution.
IM: Vague under explained motives for villain with a convenient and somewhat... bugger.

One rather definitive point in Cowboys' favour is it undeniably gets the point. The film opens, Daniel Craig wakes up in a field with no memory and a strange device strapped to his arm. Then he shoots some cowboys. Then he gets arrested. Then aliens attack. All in the first 20 minutes. No time wasting exposition here!

Somewhat refreshingly, you go into Cowboys and Aliens and will see EXACTLY what you expect. There are cowboys, and there are aliens. They shoot each other a lot. And if that's all you're after, this film will serve you well. I don't think anyone is going to a film called Cowboys and Aliens and expecting Shakespeare. And if you were, which Shakespeare have you been reading, because I must have missed that one.

Great it is not, but Fun it is not isn't.

...wait, what?

Rating: 2.5 out 5.