Monday, September 5, 2011
I finally saw Cowboys and Aliens last night. Not that i had high expectations about it but the theme always looked interesting to me and i was curious to see if this mix of two different themes was going to work or not. In fact, i enter the theatre with a not-so-good mental image of the film, thinking it was not going to be good, so i was surprised to see that it was better than i thought.
The three main actors are Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde. I'm not a big fan of Daniel Craig. I always though that he's good in action scenes but not in emotional scenes, and i still think it. In Cowboys and Aliens he's a kind of mix of Charles Bronson and Steve Mc Queen. Except that Mc queen had much more charisma and, to say the truth, was better than him. Anyway, i have to say that in this role Daniel Craig is not bad, but more "Bronson" than "Mc Queen".
Thanks God, there is Harrison Ford who, as it is often the case, is saving the movie with a role in which you don't expect him as he is playing a bad guy. Well, not a totally bad guy, let's say he's more like a tough guy who can be also bad if needed... Olivia Wilde have this almost extra-terrestrial beauty which, as you'll see if you go watch the movie, is perfect for her role. The story itself is not that bad as well as the SFX but, still, it will be hard to consider the movie as an "A" movie.
However there is one big mistake during at least a good half of the movie, which i really really hated. And it's obviously a choice from the director or the cinematographer. Most of the shots of Cowboys and Aliens are filmed using a telephoto lens, and yes, even the close shots. Master directors Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah did also filmed westerns using that kind of lens, but unfortunately Jon Favreau is not Leone or Peckinpah. With them it was not only a style choice, something interesting was "happening" in the frame when they did it, and it's not the case here. It wouldn't be a major problem if this lens choice didn't had an impact on the whole esthetic of the movie but unfortunately it has a negative impact on it, which means that the movie don't really have an esthetic appealing and i won't be surprised if this half-disappointment in the reviews was coming from that. When you look at an old John Ford movie, the story is great, the actors are wonderful and the movie, esthetically speaking, is gorgeous. Now, here, you don't have that. The story is okay, the actors are okay or very good in the case of Harrison but the movie is not esthetically pleasant and all this makes at the end a not-so-memorable movie although you can have a good time watching it. I have to add that i'm not a big fan too of the photography itself, but that's only my own taste...
Considering that you've probably already read plenty of not-so-good reviews of Cowboys and Aliens if you still want to see it, just go, and just like me you probably will think that it was "not as bad as you thought". But of course, this doesn't make of Cowboys and Aliens a real good movie.
Picture: copyright Universal - Dream Works