Tne way to tell when a Bollywood movie is going to have a half-baked plot is by the redundancy of vowels in its name, i.e, when the producer puts more stock in numerology than in its cinematic value. If a Hindi movie has a sensational subtitle, it’s likely that the content will not suffice to keep one hooked (Khamossh: Khauff ki Raat, starring Shilpa Shetty and Juhi Chawla, serves as an excellent example for both of the above). Eponymous titles usually hint at social messages in films out of Hollywood (Michael Clayton, Juno, Erin Brockovich), and indicate action movies centered on mustachioed supermen if they’re from Kollywood (Singam, Shivaji, Muthu).
Similarly, in American film titles, simplicity usually signifies a strong conceptual underpinning or a well thought out plot. Look at Terminator, Toy Story, The Godfather, Inception, The Sixth Sense, Memento…there are many, many examples. The title needn’t try too hard when the movie is sure to impress.
Unfortunately, those conniving filmmakers seem to have wised up to this system of judging a movie. A name like Cowboys and Aliens, I thought, just has to have an amazing story hiding behind it. It can’t just be about cowboys and aliens!
Well, it is.
Jake Lonarghan (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the sands of the Wild West with acute amnesia and a strange metal bracelet on his wrist. After a brief altercation with some rowdy gauchos, he rides into the mining town of Absolution, where Colonel Dollarhyde (Harrison Ford) rules with an iron fist. It is revealed that Lonarghan is an outlaw who once stole Dollarhyde’s gold, and as the traditional cowboy movie bickering begins, the town is attacked by alien warplanes.
story is always building up to disappointing climaxes, and in the end
you realize that you’ve been watching another run-of-the-mill creature
feature. Ford, Craig, Olivia Wilde and Sam Rockwell all do fine, but
none of their characters were interesting to begin with. The aliens,
their craft and their buildings are unimaginatively rendered – as if all
the props were salvaged from defunct sets around Hollywood. Very
disappointing, coming from a visual effects company as highly rated as
Industrial Light and Magic. The portrayal of Native Americans is quaint
and mystical, and irritating in its immaturity. |
It’s a mystery why all these big
names would attach themselves to a project as uninteresting as this. There were
no meaty roles to go around, and Director Jon Favreau (of Ironman fame) could
not have been happy with the alien machines, which look more steampunk than
Maybe there should be a sequel,
just so Cowboys and Aliens can explain itself.