Cowboys & Aliens: Review, Discuss, Grade, Sequel, DVD **SPOILERS**

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Captain Craig, Jul 29, 2011.

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How do you grade Cowboys & Aliens?

Poll closed Feb 14, 2012.
  1. A

    13 vote(s)
    22.8%
  2. B

    26 vote(s)
    45.6%
  3. C

    12 vote(s)
    21.1%
  4. D

    2 vote(s)
    3.5%
  5. F

    4 vote(s)
    7.0%
  1. Captain Craig

    Captain Craig Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Awesome, thanks for the link. :techman:
     
  2. indranee

    indranee Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hah! She already knows that. Impossibly precocious for a ten-year-old. And the fact that she knows this is due to this new thing about her becoming a screenwriter!! :techman:
     
  3. indranee

    indranee Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks for the link! :)
     
  4. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    Saw it yesterday; I thought it was decent but not amazing. It just felt smaller than I expected. It was just one tower with a few fliers, I was expecting something bigger. Also it's convenient how the aliens barely bother to use their hand guns and just lope around like beasts. I was expecting a little more "aliens" than "cowboys", I guess. I'm not a big western fan.
     
  5. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I just got back from this and it was awful. Granted, I was sitting a bit off-center and the speakers were cranked way too loud to the point where I had to cover my ears during the action sequences, but it still sucked balls. And here's the thing: I loved Battle: LA, and they're pretty much the same movie. So why does one suck and the other rule?

    - Characters: Battle has upstanding Marines who are terrified of the aliens, but fight back with boundless courage. C&A has two mains that are loathsome, cruel and humorless. And no one is anywhere near as afraid as the aliens as they should be.

    - Story: Battle starts as a rescue story, moves into survival, then ends in attack. C&A is one big hunt movie. Incidents happen, but nothing much changes.

    - Kids: Battle has some kids that must be protected and comforted, and are credibly useless. C&A has a precocious youngun, who, trusty dog by his side, kills him a full-grown alien. Puke.

    - Women: Battle has two tough women. C&A has a dead flashback chick and a humorless, character-free broad.

    - The ending: Battle finishes on a tough but hopeful note. C&A ends with everyone joyfully celebrating a mere day or so after incredibly traumatic events, complete with gratuitous American flags everywhere. Yuck.

    - The matchup: I never believed the cowboys and their dinky little pistols could actually down those aliens. Though the Marines were badly outmatched, with their modern weaponry, they at least had a fighting chance.


    This one's a real stinker; I haven't disliked a movie this much since (Pretentious) Days of Summer. D.



    See, some would say that the critics are there to help you decide whether or not to see it. :rolleyes:


    No, no no. The second half is nonstop violence. I'd slap this one with an R if I were in charge of things. It's worlds away from the goofy, all-in-good fun cartoon battles of Captain America.

    And please, if you're even thinking about taking a 10-year-old to PG-13 movies, consult a good web site, like this one.
     
  6. Captain Craig

    Captain Craig Vice Admiral Admiral

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    GRADE: B

    I finally got around to seeing this today. Caught a matinee in a 300 seater that was about 1/2 full and the crowd seemed into it. A bit too much at first. There was more idle chit chat the first 10min of the movie but it finally calmed down.

    I really enjoyed it. The casting was great. Clancy Brown as the town Preacher and Sam Rockwell as the Saloon owner made for a great supporting cast. Percy Dollarhyde, son of Harrison Ford's character Col.Dollarhyde is a great comic foil during the first act.

    I like how at first you really are meant to not like Col.Dollarhyde (Ford) but over the course of the movie his likable nature emerges. Especially in the scenes with the boy Emmett and his adopted Indian son Nat. That last scene was really good during the raid.

    Despite trying the revelation of Olivia Wilde's Ella had been spoiled to me. I guess what I'd like to know is what is her true form? Did her race come before these invading races? I know it's not needed for the movie but I find it strands I'm curious about.

    The aliens could've been anything imo, any obstacle to overcome and this group working together to get back what was theirs would've been fun to watch.

    I really think at it's core it's a solid Western and worth seeing. Glad I was able to contribute to it while it's at the theater. I'd recommend it for pure fun and escapism.
     
  7. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Nothing he did could make me forgive him for the viciousness and cruelty he'd shown Nat up to that point (to say nothing of torturing the hired hand, or the completely unbelievable and inexplicable psychotic nature of his son, who by the character's internal logic should have been banished long before the movie began). I frankly wanted to see him take a bullet for Nat; that the Indian died before the hunky-dory ending filled with American flags gave me a rotten aftertaste to an already calamitous non-entertainment.


    One of the reasons the movie tanked is because the under-25 male crowd opted not to show up. I wonder if that's in any way reflective of an increasingly ethnically diverse youth not being too interested in seeing strictly white cowboys kick ass and take names, particularly given how those same 19th-century guys treated blacks and Hispanics.
     
  8. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    If the movie was unsuccessful I'd say it's more because young people don't like Westerns. That was my main complaint about it, it was basically a Western movie that happened to have aliens in it.
     
  9. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^
    I've been on the fence about seeing this one. I didn't like the book it was 'based' on and the trailer didn't grab me. But don't you think that the inclusion of aliens would counter younger fans displeasure who might not be interested in solely in a Western?

    To Gaith,

    I think that's some interesting commentary on potential diverse viewership, or lack thereof, for the film that you made. One way around that could've been to make the main characters black, Latino, white, and Native American, not just majority white. Tweak the standard Western story that might seem stale or passe for contemporary audiences. Also, cast younger actors than Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. I like them both, and there inclusion is one of the reasons I am considering going to see this film, but to rope younger folks in, it might be better to just hire people they might be more into.
     
  10. Captain Craig

    Captain Craig Vice Admiral Admiral

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    He was mean to Nat twice that we saw. At the start when he blames him for letting Percy get into trouble. Then again when he tells Nat that "those stories weren't meant for you". However, what is clear is that when Nat as a child wandered onto his property that Col.Dolarhyde took him in. Raised him and showed him some compassion. Enough so that when Nat is telling the Indian Chief about him, Nat brags on him winning over the Chief. I'm not too unsure Woodrow Dolarhyde's "meanness" is exclusive to Nat. He loved Percy (hence no banishment but he was a spoiled rich kid it does seem) also, and we know he loved Nat by his confession at the end, but he was going to give him a hella a mean talking down. Not anymore "mean" than he gave to Nat. My dad gave me some stern bordering on mean talking downs, he loved me and I'd bet I'm not unique in that experience.

    As for torturing the cowhand well, it seems he had reason to believe he might not have been an honest hand to start with. He then feeds Dolarhyde a story that sounds bizarre. Capone and Hoffa would've done worse and gangster movies seem acceptable to that type of torture.
     
  11. Psion

    Psion Commodore Commodore

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    Mild spoilers ahead ...

    Dolarhyde changed quite a bit as a result of this movie. His character was incomplete when the movie started, and he hadn't allowed himself to come to full realizations about the people around him. The events of the movie changed the Colonel and completed his journey, teaching him valuable lessons and softening his harsh mindset.

    Lonergan also completed a journey, although part of his transition happened before the movie started and was interrupted by the aliens and the terrible knowledge he didn't want to remember.

    Then there's Doc, an intelligent man but not exactly a gifted warrior. He had doubts about his manhood that were ultimately resolved by the story.

    And little boy Taggert; throughout the movie he sat on the sidelines and watched, terrified to do anything that would incur the wrath of the hulking adults around him. But in a final, critical moment, he found the strength he needed to act out against a much bigger and more fearsome adversary.

    Even the dog, as noted earlier in this thread, had a character arc ... a story of its own that was impacted by the events of the film.

    I like stories where the characters are changed by the events they encounter. They're missing valuable life lessons that are only learned when they overcome adversity through heroic deeds. The only two major characters who didn't have any satisfying development were Dolarhyde's son and Ella -- whose character didn't develop so much as reveal through exposition. She was little more than a plot device. Very pretty, but still a plot device.

    Then there were the western tropes turned on their heads by giving them to aliens. Things like stealing gold, claim-jumping, and rustling cattle. And the aliens didn't show up in flying saucers ... they landed in rockets and attacked using jet fighters. That final scene of the alien rocket launching like a warty, asymmetrical Saturn V out of the desert canyon ... just gorgeous!

    This was a good film with a great cast, good photography, decent writing, and a lot of fun scenes. I didn't like the Ella character, but she was necessary to tell the story the way they did -- she's the only rough part of an otherwise well-polished wild west meets science fiction tale. I'll be adding this to my disc collection happily as soon as it's available.
     
  12. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A generous C, because I liked Harrison Ford, especially with Adam Beach. The movie had way too many scriptwriters, which might explain why it had practically every Western trope in the book, yet didn't successfully invert them. And they meant to. Sam Rockwell as a civilized man who wandered into hell was paired with a dipshit cartoon like Clancy Brown's clergyman. Bah, humbug.

    I think Harrison Ford's side in the Civil War was meant to be ambiguous.

    The final scene where the nutty rocket took off, then blew up was fortunately denouement and spectacle.

    Olivia Wilde is pretty but her performance would only have been impressive if she'd been facing the camera during that special scene.
     
  13. indranee

    indranee Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I agree with your overall review.

    Btw, we did take her. Don't worry, she's inured to much of the violence in film. Such is life for kids these days. She just says "ew" and makes a face to kissing scenes etc. She did want to see "Han Solo" and now wants to see ALL of the Indiana Jones movies (next on the DVD lineup). She's more than a bit of a tomboy.

    All that said, she actually enjoyed the movie and thought it was slightly boring in the middle but okay toward the end. I thought it was humongously bad (and so did my brother) with a really overt and ham-handed message re "gold rush" and the days of yore. Ham-handed message: human beings are now UNITED instead of divided.

    Ugh. Anyway.
     
  14. indranee

    indranee Vice Admiral Admiral

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    yeah, those five or six (including the Orci/Kurtzman duo) scripters kinda reminded me of STIV with its bunch of scripters.
     
  15. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But... that's part of my worry. :p ;)
     
  16. indranee

    indranee Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I got that :p
     
  17. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/...s-leaves-the-cowboys-flat-on-their-faces.html


    It didn't even match to beat the smurfs - this film has been a real bomb.
     
  18. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Good; scripts this rotten deserved to be punished. Freakin' Underworld was a better high-concept mashup movie.
     
  19. Captain Craig

    Captain Craig Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Cowboys & Aliens passed $100m domestic as of receipts from Wed 10/19. The films worldwide total is $167m versus it's budget of $163m. The film is still a dissapointment just noting the 'milestone'. The DVD release has been set for Dec.6 and is up for pre-order.

    This marks Harrison Fords 12th $100m film which ties him with Will Smith now. Tom Cruise leads modern stars with 14 films over that mark and even though an asterik should be applied to this film the movers and shakers still watch that $100m mark.

    I thought this was a fun film and why I will not buy it on release I would pick this up 6-8 months from now when it's $10 bucks.
     
  20. Poirot

    Poirot Cadet Newbie

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    Well, I went to the BoxOfficeMojo site and they said the global take was $174m. So, with a cost of $163m, that means the studio had an $11m profit. Not much compared to other films. But, it did have the virtue of "earning out" (making more than it cost to make). DVD/BluRay sales will add to that take as will sales to PPV outlets and cable.

    Whether there will be a sequel or not will probably depend on the total take. However, there may be problems getting Daniel Craig to reprise his role now that James Bond has been brought back to life. A lot of critics don't like James Bond either. But the franchise did have a history of being a cash-cow for MGM ... and if handled right, it will continue to be a cash-cow for Sony/Columbia.