The first time that I saw a tiny teaser trailer for Cowboys and Aliens in late 2009, I decided I had to see that movie.
Every time I went to a movie after that, I hoped for a longer trailer of Cowboys and Aliens. Whenever they played one, Schmoops had to tolerate my foolish grins as I turned to him and said that we’re going to see that movie.
When I went to California in July there were uncountably many posters, billboards, and buildings plastered with Daniel Craig in a cowboy hat, and I said to myself Yep, I’m going to see that movie.
(And if it’s not good, it’ll be the biggest flop of the century so far and the source of my greatest personal disappointment)
Cowboys and Aliens was neither a resounding success nor a complete failure. After I saw it on opening day I emerged from the theater with a sense of a mission having been accomplished. Sadly, it did not evoke much emotion beyond that. The concept had so much potential, yet the plot did not fully develop or exploit it. What grabbed my attention in 2009 and continued to hold it until this week was the unflinching audacity, the in-your-face quality of the title. To me it conveyed the idea that this movie is not fooling around. You are going to sit your ass down and be astounded by cowboy and alien awesomeness, and it’s going to be an experience you are utterly unprepared for because the idea of cowboys and aliens together is ludicrous and mad.
Now I am of the opinion that the reason they chose that title is because there is absolutely nothing else original or interesting in the movie beyond the juxtaposition of two anachronous concepts.
Don’t get me wrong, I still had a good time watching the movie since Daniel Craig is awesome and there were nice effects that went boom etc. But throughout the movie I had zero curiosity about what was going to happen next, because it was obvious. It was kind of like being on the rides at Disneyland. Most of them just putter along at a set pace, and as you round the corners you stare at the decorations and move on. No surprises, little stimulation.
Verdict: Go see Captain America instead.