Previous Joints

Friday, 27 September 2013

The Unfinished Western: Cowboys and Aliens

I'm writing about a film that I didn’t finish watching. I think of the utter and complete tosh that I've managed to sit through in my life and realise just how special this film, Cowboys and Aliens, is. I mean, I've finished Spiderman 3, Catwoman and Batman and Robin. The latter was so bad that the director, Joel Schumacher apologised for the film – yet I've watched that film many times.

The only other film that I abandoned midway was You’ve Got Mail in 1998. My uncle took me, my sisters and our cousins to see that film. I was so mystified by how bad that film was that I walked out and spent half an hour in the arcade.

But Cowboys and Aliens is different, this Jon Favreau joint should have been a good, if nothing else, fun film.

I sat and watched the first hour of this film and not once did I smile. For a film called Cowboys and Aliens not to rise one smirk from my face suggests that there is a fundamental flaw in its DNA.

The warning signs were there from the very beginning – Daniel Craig scowled far too much and Mr Ford played the grumpy old man too well for my liking. I found myself getting angry at Daniel Craig for playing his character just as he would Bond and that isn’t what I signed up to watch. 

But for me it was Sam Rockwell’s character which indexed the very reason why this film didn’t work. I assume that Rockwell’s Doc was supposed to be the comedy relief of this piece and that relief never materialised. I felt for Rockwell in this film because given the right material he is a fantastic actor, but you get the impression that he and the film itself was just weighed down by a need to be taken seriously.

The blame for the faults of this film has to be put on the door of the director. Jon Favreau should have known better – why on earth he thought this film should be a straight and serious movie is beyond me. The title and premise is Cowboys and Aliens for crying out loud.

You honestly wouldn’t be able to tell that this film is related to Iron Man, Elf, Zathura and (little gem of a film) Made. You couldn’t even tell that it was a second cousin of Swingers.  
This film should have been light, fast moving and silly – but it plods along at an excruciatingly slow pace. This film should have been bogged down with stupid jokes, not tired western-film cliches.

At the end of the day it comes down to me losing my patience, something that I rarely do when it comes to films. 

The hour that I watched of this film didn’t intrigue me or give me sufficient reason to hang on beside my better judgement – many films have made me make that poor decision.

Not only is Cowboys and Aliens a bad film (I can handle and enjoy bad films), it is a disappointing film that feels very lazy and that is something I cannot stomach.

As an aside, this film made me appreciate the much panned Wild Wild West. WWW and its stars knew that the films was ridiculous. Ridiculous is fun to watch. Ridiculousness is an ingredient that this film sorely needed. 

                             Master Bear