Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

[Note from the editor: This review is by prospective staff writer Rob Kirchgassner. Be sure to check out his blog!]

In recent decades, westerns have had a spotty track record, to say the least. When the classic western Unforgiven was released in 1992, I saw numerous articles saying that the genre was coming back in all its glory. Many big-screen and small-screen westerns were on the drawing board. Some of these, such as Tombstone and Maverick proved successful, but most did not.

More recently, Quentin Tarantino’s pseudo-western Django Unchained was a hit at the box office, winning Oscars for Christoph Waltz and Tarantino’s screenplay. But any hopes that the western had returned were dashed again thanks to last year’s flop The Lone Ranger.

Before Django, however, there was 2011’s Cowboys & Aliens, which was an adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. Sadly, this film proved that even throwing space aliens into the mix could not make westerns viable for studios in this day and age.

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The movie begins in 1873 in what is now New Mexico. An amnesiac who we later learn is named Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the desert with a strange bracelet on his wrist that won’t come off. Like all amnesiacs in movies like this, he instantly realizes he’s tougher than he remembers, and swiftly kills three drifters who come upon him and try to steal his bracelet.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

Taking their clothing and weapons, Lonergan goes into the bizarrely named town of Absolution, where his wounds are treated by a preacher named Meacham (Clancy Brown). Over in the center of town, a drunkard named Percy Dolarhyde (Paul Dano) terrorizes the townspeople, and needless to say, Lonergan mops the floor with him, too.

This leads to the local sheriff (Keith Carradine) recognizing Longergan as an outlaw wanted for various crimes. He attempts to arrest Lonergan, who resists and fights back, only to get knocked out when a woman named Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde) strikes him on the head with the butt of her pistol.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

Lonergan is locked up, with Percy Dolarhyde as his cellmate. As the two await trial, the latter’s father, wealthy cattleman Col. Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) arrives, demanding the release of his son. He also wants Lonergan turned over to him for stealing his gold.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

That’s when the aliens make their first appearance, with their spaceships hovering over Absolution, blasting away at the town. Many townspeople, including Percy and the sheriff, are caught by whip-like devices on the bottom of the ships (resisting the urge to make a sexual joke here). But then the bracelet on Lonergan’s wrist comes in handy, and he’s able to fire an energy beam that disables one of the ships.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

The damaged spaceship crashes in the middle of town, and the alien pilot escapes. So the Colonel and Ella round up a posse to track down the alien. But Lonergan, who’s split off from the group for some reason, goes to an empty log cabin. He flashes back to being there with a woman named Alice (Abigail Spencer) and showing her the gold he stole. She’s outraged and tells him to return it, but then aliens crash through the roof of the cabin and abduct them both.

Back in the present, Lonergan joins the Colonel’s posse, and they set up camp. During the night, the escaped alien appears and kills Meacham.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

By the morning, most of the posse has deserted them, and by an amazing coincidence, they’re soon attacked by Lonergan’s former gang. It seems they’re here to exact revenge upon him for stealing the ill-gotten gains of their previous heist.

The aliens attack again, and this time, they grab Ella. To remind us that he’s the hero, Lonergan jumps onto the ship to save her. He causes the ship to crash into the water, and the alien pilot fights them and critically injures Ella.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

And then the movie remembers this is a western as well as a sci-fi film when a group of Apache Indians show up to capture our heroes, blaming them (for some reason) for the alien invasion.

The Indians intend to cremate Ella, tossing her body onto a campfire. Suddenly, the flames explode and Ella is standing there resurrected (and naked). As it turns out, she’s a member of another alien race, who’s here to help Earth after her own homeworld was invaded and destroyed.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

She explains that the invaders, interestingly, have come to Earth to mine gold. And also, not as interestingly, they’re capturing humans to perform experiments on them.

Lonergan then remembers that the aliens killed his woman Alice after they were done experimenting on her. They almost killed him too, but he managed to steal one of the aliens’ weapons (the bracelet) and then escape. Also in this flashback, he remembers that the aliens’ mothership landed out in the desert, and he knows exactly where to find it.

He then convinces his old gang to join Dolarhyde’s posse in an assault on the alien mothership.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

Following in the footsteps of such illustrious sci-fi epics as Independence Day and The Phantom Menace, the ship’s defenses don’t take long to penetrate, and the humans blow up the shuttle bay. As the cowboys fight the aliens (hey, the title does not lie), Lonergan and Ella free all the alien abductees still being held on the ship. After this, Dolarhyde joins them, and he and Lonergan take down the alien that killed Alice.

Just as the ship is about to take off, Ella destroys it with Lonergan’s bracelet, sacrificing herself.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

The just-released abductees are reunited with their loved ones (I liked this film better when it was called Close Encounters of the Third Kind). Meanwhile, the sheriff and Dolarhyde decide to let Lonergan walk away a free man (don’t movie outlaws always get all the breaks?) by telling people he was killed in the battle.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

As the town begins to rebuild, Lonergan, in typical western fashion, rides off into the sunset.

The film certainly had promise, beginning with its director, Jon Favreau, who previously scored with Made, Elf, and the first Iron Man. He even rejected the idea of shooting the film in 3-D, because he felt that westerns are a classic movie genre and should be presented in old-fashioned 2-D. I doubt it would have made any difference one way or another, but given the current 3-D overload in theaters, Favreau deserves credit for having more than pure spectacle on his mind.

The movie was even touted in some quarters as a virtual team-up between Indiana Jones and the current James Bond (who, to me, is a less than ideal Bond—I guess I’m the only person who thought Skyfall was just okay).

Many were disappointed with this film, but I found it enjoyable, if predictable. Perhaps it was that predictability which prevented it from becoming the smash some thought it would be.

Which is a shame, as Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig both look at home in their cowboy garb and work well together. Ford in particular actually looks like he’s enjoying himself, as opposed to other not-so-stellar appearances in recent movies like Ender’s Game and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (which, let’s face it, only made money for the same reason the Star Wars prequels made money, even if it was much more enjoyable than those three films).

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

Another plus is that the aliens themselves are nicely done (thanks to Legacy Effects and ILM, among others), if not exactly on par with those in District 9, which was reportedly the inspiration for the creatures’ designs here.

This film’s problem, though, is that it’s a fun way to pass the time but nothing more. Cowboys & Aliens doesn’t attempt to do anything surprising. It’s simply content with being a standard action film. And like most action films, it doesn’t take long for us to figure out who will survive and who won’t, or for us to meet characters who are forced to put aside their differences and work together, and of course there’s the main character and the love interest who take until the end of the film to figure out what we all knew from the beginning: that they belong together.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

True to the title, the movie does give you cowboys, and it does give you aliens, but not a whole heck of a lot else. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the screenplay is from Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, best known for writing the two recent Star Trek films. Those films, while financially successful, are not held in high esteem by many Trek fans, and with good reason: they’re basically just action films set in space with no real regard for the source material. Cowboys & Aliens takes the same approach as their two Trek movies; at one point, they actually referred to it as “Unforgiven with aliens landing.”

I wonder if they just picked the same of a classic western out of a hat when coming up with this description, because part of the greatness of Unforgiven is that it’s a journey into Clint Eastwood’s character and his search for redemption. This aspect of the story helped it earn a place among the great westerns. Cowboys & Aliens doesn’t offer such personal drama. Craig may play an outlaw, but he definitely doesn’t go through hell (personal or otherwise) for his past the way Clint’s Will Munny did. If this movie did have any conflict like that, it might have actually distinguished itself from other sci-fi action movies and been a lot more memorable.

One wonders if Kurtzman and Orci even watch the finished versions of the movies they write before making such, shall we say, interesting statements.

Rob Kirchgassner

Rob is a blogger, critic, and author. His latest novel is The Thoughts of a Proud Nerd: A Story of Hope, available now from Amazon.

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  • Murry Chang

    Not the best movie in the world but I saw it at the drive in and it was a perfect drive in movie.

  • Muthsarah

    I’m slowly starting to understand why people hate Kurtzman and Orci so much. I hated them out of principle for ’09, but their statements here come off like either the most cynical condescension, or possibly just dopey ramblings of people who somehow found a way to make a ton of money without ever having to write or even say something that makes sense. This movie wasn’t remotely like Unforgiven, but since that movie is possibly the most widely-known well-regarded Western to their target audiences, that’s the title they’ll drop. I wouldn’t be surprised if they advertise their next film as “Citizen Kane meets The Avengers”. Whatever kind of movie that turns out to be. It’s not like the particulars matter, it’s all about the sales pitch.

    • Sofie Liv

      Actually those two clowns are also very known for their long time collaboration with Michael Bay, they wrote most of his movies, including all the transformer movies AND… they are the highest paid writers in all of hollywood.

      Meaning yeah, they have the biggest “Screen writer” salary currently being handed out.. what the fudge!?

      Urgh… I ones tried to sit through an audio commentary those two made on the “Wrath of Kahn.” re-release.. don’t ask me why they get to have an audio commentary.. they sounded like two children with very little insight.

      Yup, they are Star Trek fans, for sure they are star trek fans! But they never ever went into a deeper understanding of what makes them think Star Trek is so fantastic, more it was just like.. they actually said this in the audio commentary.

      “Maybe people will hate what we put out with the new movie and try to sling-shot around the sun to stop us, you ever know.”
      What the fudge people!? You have THAT little faith in your own work? eh.. I just.. eh. That’s not the attitude I would like from people being paid MILLIONS of dollars per screen-play they write.

      And in comparison, I got to borrow the original release of Wrath on Kahn on DVD ones, where the director, Mike Meyers had an audio commentary.

      That was one of my favourite audio commentaries of all time! The dude was a gold mine in small gold nuggets he handed out in how he approached the movie and how to approach screen-writing.

      • Muthsarah

        Oh, I’ve heard of them. I just didn’t much care until recently. I didn’t even know they were responsible (partly) for ’09 until recently. I don’t usually follow screenwriters. But I slowly started to hear these guys’ names together a lot. Then I started hearing them along with Abrams a lot. Then I started hearing them with other major crappy blockbusters that have come along recently. A lot. If Seltzerberg are everything wrong with comedy today, these guys are everything wrong with action movies, genre movies, and basically everything big (along with Abrams and the Pirates guys, I don’t even care to look them up). Then, after reading that comment, I looked them up by name. My God, have they created what currently passes for so much of what is visible American cinema. EDIT: And that’s bad.

        At this point, I’d rather they just be two drooling idiots what know to write big movie make ‘splosions flashy international box office dumb 12-year old money merchandising boobs money money derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr….At least that way, I could trust randomness to eventually lead these two monkeys to start writing enough boring crap to get blacklisted. But….I suspect they know what they’re doing. And so do their handlers. They’re making blockbusters by formula. Not just by focus group, but careful marketing and psychology. Trying to get closer and closer to the “perfect” can’t-fail movie. And if they can reach that magic formula, they’ll just keep making the same movie over. And over. And over. And over. Until every big movie feels the same – same plot structure, same reveals at the same point in the story, same climax, same trailers, same poster art, same use of supporting characters, same depictions of women, “foreigners”, adults, any interesting character, and every other Hollywood on-screen minority. And yet, so perfect that audiences will still pay to see it, at least so long as there’s nothing better to watch. And then that’ll be it for film as an art form.

        I really do feel like that’s their goal, and that they’re trying to get as close as possible to making the audiences easy to predict and control, by making movies that appeal to the safest majority on a subconscious level. And these guys are at the forefront. The same guys keep writing the same movies, turning stories and franchises that once were distinctive, and squeezing them into the same shallow mold. Their goal is to homogenize everything into a one-size-fits-all product. And it’s still working for them.

        P.S. Nicholas Meyer. Nicholas.

        EDIT: OK, they’re only part of the problem. But I don’t know the names of the executive producers and other investors who are behind this either, but now I do know of these two. They still deserve the hate and a hell of a lot of the blame for ruining one franchise after another in the same damn way.

        • Sofie Liv

          Honestly… I think that is giving them to much credit.
          Try sitting through an hour and a half audio commentary where all they do is fan gasm over they get to write for so many Leonard Nimoy franchises.

          *Smack* It’s appreciated that you are in fact nerds when writing this stuff, and fans of the source material, good for you.

          Now, if you were a writer AND a fan-boy, that would be the golden combination!
          Hallo Guilmoro-Deltoro Edgar Wright and Josh Whedon!

          But if you are only going to be a fan-boy, I would rather have a skilled writer totally unfamiliar with the source material whom can do the best with what he got! Right Nicholas Meyers! (Sorry about the name confusion.)

          Ah, you mean Tedd Elliot and Terry Rossio.

          Those two sure are… strange to men.
          Mostly because, I really really like their earlier work! I thought they really had nailed how to take old school adventure and present it to a new audience.
          Was it totally mind blogging altering peoples perception of the genre.. no. But as a huge adventure/swush buckler fan myself, I LOVE that some-body out there were actually able to bring that into the new world, and stay compleately true to that old school genre, making VERY enjoyable movies capturing the right spirit of things.

          But then.. we only have to look at their later works, mainly.. every-thing that came after Pirates of the Carribbean two.
          it’s like they just… lost it! I got no idea what happened, maybe they were handed to much power and actually work better in cooporation with others, I have no idea!
          It saddens me, because.. if “The Lone Ranger.” had gotten the freshness and straight forward simpleness of just plain old school adventure that. “Curse of the black pearl.” and “Mask of Zorro.” had.. I would have been SOLD!
          But.. it felt so old, so desperate and so used, and took all of the wrong things from the previous works, re-using it rather than just drawing inspiration from the tone.. so odd to me, and so dissapointing!

          Honestly, there are two positions in movie making I think gets far to less attention.
          Screen-writers and movie composers, this talk is not about movie composers though.

          But yeah, screen-writing, such a essential art form that deserves far more credit and attention.
          There are so many movies that could have been fixed with simply, a better script.. didn’t need to give the movie more money to work with, you just need to give it a better script writer and give that script writer more time to work with his material, that’s all you need Hollywood! … sigh..

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Actually I’d take movies written by fanboys over movies, written by writers, who have no frakking idea, what franchise they are working for.
            Sure, sometimes you have a new outside perspective (e.g. Star Trek II – wrath of Khan by Nicholas Meyer, Harve Bennet and Jack B. Sodwards, the Batman-Movies by Nolan and Goyer – although I hate this grim, gritty, dark, edgy, theme, he has going) and sometimes you have Man of Steele – also written by Goyer/Nolan.

          • Sofie Liv

            If you are any kind of a good writer, you are going to do research into the subject.
            Only shitty writers do zero research.
            It would be like me trying to talk about a movie without even having seen it, that would only make me a shitty reviewer, nothing else.

            And with that logic, Transformers should be forgiven because the writers were huge fan-boys of Transformers, which yes.. they are! They did actually grow up and loved the animated show.. does that forgive their shitty screen-writing? NO!
            If I were more interested in fan drabbles than good writing, I would go to, honestly.
            These are profesional screen-writers, whom gets paid thousands of dollars to do their effing re-search, get into the source material, and make a good script out of it!
            If the writer is good, he or she should be able to make some-thing good out of just about any-thing, drawing inspiration from what-ever source material, that is what a good writer do!

            And don’t forget, Man of Steel were actually directed by a HUGE comic book fan, Zack Snyder.

            Burton whom directed Batman 1989, has blatently stated he never read as much as a single comic book in his entire life. The Director of Superman 1978, Richard Donner wasn’t really a fan either.
            But he was a good writer and director whom cared about the stuff he put out.

            Because good writers should be all around good writers and not suddenly start to suck because they are not fans of what-ever project they have been handing.
            They should still be good writers, thus take the source-material, be inspired, and make a good solid script.

            Van Hellsing was obviously a fan creation, made by fans of Universal horror movies, it’s nothing but a huge tribute to the genre.
            Does that make the movie good? .. no.. not really (All though it is one of my guilty pleasures, I must admit.)

            Avengers is a great movie, written and directed by a fan, but is it good because he is a fan, or because Josh Whedon is a great writer and director?
            It’s good because he always has been a good writer and director, not because he is a fan, that is just an added bonus, and don’t even count as that much as the movie itself is an continuation of all-ready exsiting other movies which established every-thing, and what Whedon had to work with was researching the other movies, and make some-thing that feels like it is a good continuation of those movies, not the comic books.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            I see where you come from, but – in all honesty – when I watch Transformers for exampel, I feel entertained. When I watch Star Trek: Into Darkness, I feel entertained. When I watch Catwoman, I feel entertained.

            You are right – good writers should not suck, because they are not fans, however: I think it cannot harm to be fan of the movie, you are trying to make there.

            And just one thing concerning “guilty pleasures” – I don’t have them. I don’t feel ashamed liking something like Catwoman.

          • Sofie Liv

            Being a good writer AND a fan, is the golden combination, I even said that earlier, and of course that is the kind of person I would like the most to handle my favourite projects, some-one who is both a good writer AND a fan!

            How-ever, if I really have to pick between a shitty writer whom is a fan.
            Or a really good writer whom is a none fan.

            Chanches are that good writer has some integraty and it would be interesting to see where this writer takes the source material.

            And true, Catwoman is entertainin in a “So bad it’s good.” kind of way.. But that is NOT a good thing, and doesn’t excuse the shiting writing.. though that movie had like ten writers or some-thing like that, so it’s impossible to place fault, it’s just a messy movie with a messy production history and you can’t really blame one specific person. The Director had to work with extremely unreasonable demands and well.. it’s the production troubles that shines through here, not a single person.

            How-ever, especially when it comes to Trek, I am a fan of, I will not stop complaining about the new franchise being shallow when the POINT of the original franchise was not to be, and be a moral show in space, exploring ideas and problems in regard to the human condition, going further and asks certain questions, that was the point of the show, to use the space astetics to trick the viewer and then go deeper, try to make deeper more meaningful stories.
            Star Trek 09 was entertaining for hollow popcorn entertainment, I admit it! but that is what it was, hollow.
            And that they tried to make Into Darkness into a “Kahn.” movie and then do it so hollow, having the “Word.” references but none of the context or depth.. that’s just.. no.

            I found the first transformers movies incredible dull, boring and none entertaining, didn’t bother with any of the other movies.. so well, good for you you can find enjoyment in it.. I can’t, it bored me to tears.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Yeah, after thinking about it… you are right. Being a fanboy and a good writer helps the film, but when push comes to shove, the other good way is just let him bee a good writer and then let him tell his or hers own lore of the story.

            Oh, by the way, concerning Man of Steel – yeah, it was directed by Zack Snyder, but written (and we’re talking about writing here) was it by Mr. Goyer, based on a story of Christopher Nolan. At least, that’s what Uncle Wiki P. Edia – smart alec extraordinaire – says.

            And I can see, how one can find dullness in Transformers, I found Pulp Fiction extremely uninteresting and boring, to me it was just “Oh Shit, I shot this guy in the face” and “Son, this is the watch of your father. He kept it up in his ass and after he died, I kept it up in my ass, in order to give it to you.”
            That’s why I always point out that to me Tarantino is smart man’s Michael Bay.

          • J.O

            I like the idea of an actual writer drawing up a script and then have a fan of the series come along and critique it. That way it does have some faithfulness to the original source and new stuff for outsiders.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Very well said.

          • Muthsarah

            At the risk of veering too close to “no true Scotsman”, I don’t think having fanboys writing is necessarily a good or a bad thing. Ideally, anyone writing for an established franchise absolutely should be at least a casual fan of the past works. Someone who knows – personally, not just from some notes they’re handed beforehand – what has made the franchise so popular, what fans tend to like. Unfortunately, these two are NOT the right kind of fanboys to be writing stuff like this, as they’re taking only the most superficial elements of the franchise (which can fit on any cocktail napkin) and building the actual meat of the story on whatever’s popular now, whether or not it has ANYTHING to do with the franchise:

            Set it in space, in the future, bright colors, Spock’s there, the captain’s a young white guy (duh) with discipline issues, some black lady named Azura or something, some really old guy (maybe 35), maybe someone else (but no other chicks, or we’ll have to write dialogue where they talk about chick stuff) some aliens (is this the one with the Klingons?) or something else, who cares? Anyway, $150 million dollar budget, $130 million ad campaign, May-June rollout, lots of flash, quick cuts, plenty of PG-13-friendly T&A, 5-8 usages of mild profanities and exactly one “****”, end it on an open note so we’re free to do whatever for the sequel – which we’ll greenlight on Tuesday – the rest writes itself. I want it in six weeks.

            If ’09 is Trek for them, I gotta wonder what edited version of Trek they’re familiar with? The action scenes from VIII, X, and 20 minutes of 7 of 9’s most-debased moments? They’re fangasming over Spock? Really? ‘Cuz this guy on screen sure isn’t acting like Spock. I was under the impression that these characters are supposed to be adults. Treat them as if they are. Then again, it could be the producers told them to “make Transformers in space, minus the robots” and they slapped together a shallow project they knew would look good to executives who don’t even know how many Trek movies there have been. But even if so, I think they could have gotten a lot more authenticity past them.

            Ultimately, I think the problems stem from how the studios WANT their movies to be shallow and dumb. It sells better to those who don’t know or care anything about the product (other than that they’ve heard of it), it plays better overseas (nothing translates better than shallow dialogue-free action – no offense, but look at the foreign box office totals, see which Hollywood movies tend to do better in non-English-speaking countries), and it further conditions the audience to accept future crap by getting them used to thinking of stuff like this as a legitimate adaptation. A well-written movie made first-and-foremost for a specific demographic (even if it remains inclusive for others) would set a bad example. And, y’know, require original thought. We just wanna skin this beast we paid the rights for and spread it over a story template that’s proven to work 60% of the time.

          • Sofie Liv

            Ones again I suggest you actually listen to their audio commentaries..

            These two dudes were VERY proud over their script, and talked a lot about how they drew so much inspiration from Star Trek four, a voyage home, where every-one gets to have small side-quests and do different stuff.

            I can’t help but think that is the wrong formular they use for all of their movies thinking it’s genius.

            I’ve only seen the first transformers movie, but what I noted was that the movie went in all sorts of directions, following like five different, compleately unrelated side-quest stories of different characters that ultimately lead to nothing and instead of just having one tight plot, which would have been fine and doable, we have these five half-assed plots that never leads any-where.

            And Trek 09 is kind of the same in that regard, the story just goes in all of these randomn direction compleately lacking focus.

            One thing I did appreciate, the wish to give every character a little re-introduction and thus some alone time so we can learn to know them, they all get to do at least one thing for themselves… neat! But not in this randomn messy way.

            Those two don’t know about structural writing, it is compleately lacking from their scripts, and it’s just one of the most basic writing skills when writing a script!

            Add to that, that their writing is skin deep at best, and they have delusioned themselves into thinking their own work is GREAT! is just.. they have way to much creative freedom in the industry.

            And the studios don’t care, there are no conspiracy here, it’s just.. “Their scripts makes money some-how, I don’t care about this genre, because we are snooty important rich white men, we’ll just keep hire them course they make us money!”

          • Muthsarah

            “Ones again I suggest you actually listen to their audio commentaries..”

            I’m too afraid to stare into that particular abyss.

            “And the studios don’t care, there are no conspiracy here, it’s just..
            “Their scripts makes money some-how, I don’t care about this genre,
            because we are snooty important rich white men, we’ll just keep hire
            them course they make us money!””

            There are hundreds of millions of dollars on the line. I’m confident the studios have a plan of what to do about it. They track EVERYTHING, and won’t make any decision without some sort of market data backing them up. I would LOVE to see more auteur filmmakers, even a crazy Howard Hughes sort. Someone who has wild ideas, wants to do things nobody has done before, shock the industry, is willing to spend their own money on it, and doesn’t care what any nay-sayers have to say about it. Like if James Cameron were a studio head; that’d be great. But these are bean-counters, they make movies with data tables and market projections. And pitching to the lowest common denominator is how you make the most money, so it’s profitable to not only do that, but to try to expand that lowest common denominator as much as possible. Raise the new generation on stupid films, that way, they’ll be better-conditioned to pay for future stupid films.

            These guys are just hacks. If ’09 is Trek for them, then I don’t think they ever liked Trek. I would go so far as to call them liars. They made a generic action movie, for people who like generic action movies (which isn’t itself a bad thing – action movies, even the really hackish ones, can be fun). But they’re making the wrong thing INTO an action movie, and thus denying that thing to anyone who wants it to be something else. As long as this “Trek” exists, there’s no room in the market for a more thoughtful Trek. Which, again, I think they would understand if they actually liked what Trek used to be.

          • Joseph Patrick

            “If you are any kind of a good writer, you are going to do research into the subject.
            Only shitty writers do zero research.”

            Research? Like actually reading up on something as opposed to just fooling around with a keyboard?! Nah… I just wing it!


  • Gallen_Dugall

    “I guess I’m the only person who thought Skyfall was just okay”
    You not the only one, but I understand why some people liked it in the same way they like those absurd Bourne films.
    Also in Cowboys vs Aliens we have Harrison Ford in yet another movie where he doesn’t really act. As in Ender’s Game this too is an example of putting the man in a nothing (exposition) role and expecting miracles.

    • CaptainCalvinCat

      I have to admit, from the Bond-reboot, only Skyfall is the only one, that I really and thoroughly enjoyed. ^^

      • Gallen_Dugall

        It’s not a “traditional” Bond film (if such a thing exists) although to be fair the first third of the film is… and then they modernize it, which means they introduce a villain with the power to alter reality during cut away shots. Also to get Judy Denche to come back they had to shoe horn her into the film far more than was reasonable leading to the bizarre “constantly changing on the fly but also planned out in impossible detail beforehand” revenge plan and goofy “Home Alone” sequence.

        • True. All very true. But at the same time, there was a certain sensibility that I felt was missing from the previous two Bond movies. I mean, it’s not like they were bad movies or anything – far from it. But they just felt like I could have named the main character “John Smith” and not altered anything else to make the same movies…

    • I liked Skyfall for the reason it wasn’t like the Bourne movies. The two previous ones felt like they were stripping James Bond of his basic Bind-ness and really just turning him into a Bourne-esque character. “Skyfall” felt like a Bond movie to me… But to each their own I guess.

  • Good review and all, but I miss the days when the recaps would provide some context before launching into a recap of the plot.