Yes it's true; despite the many great films in theaters at the moment, I saw/am reviewing Jon Favreau's latest special effects extraviganza Cowboys And Aliens. Do I regret this decision? Suprisingly, not too much. While Jon Favreau is an incredibly bland director (or at least I think so), his films are almost always, if nothing else, entertaining. Living up to its title, along with the director's sence of entertainment, Cowboys And Aliens was a fun diversion from reality... but absolutely nothing else.
The real shock of the film, rather than exploding aliens, was how Jon Favreau wasted every cinematic tool at his disposal. Despite the common criticism of the film's title, Cowboys And Aliens had an original and unexplored premise: What if cowboys were attacked by aliens? But instead of taking this unused premise and making the film his own, Favreau cops out and opts to remake the same alien invaision movie we've been watching for years; just set in the Wild West. Even the aliens look oddly familiar (though I'm not sure from which film), and the ships they fly in are an odd mix of Independance Day and Battle Los Angeles.
However, the dilemma over the wasted premise isn't nearly as egregious as the dilemma over the wasted cast. If you cast Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Paul Dano, and Sam Rockwell, you should give them something to do other than mope around or play a two-dimensional stereotype. All of these (especially Harrison Ford and Sam Rockwell) deserve much better roles than these.
Though it may not seem like it from the trailers, Cowboys And Aliens is an incredibly violent film, and may just top The First Grader for the most violent PG-13 movie I've ever seen. Characters are graphically shot, stabbed, beaten, torn to pieces, and the aliens fare even worse. This film's violence is barely a step down from another alien invaision film: Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers. The reason I'm mentioning all of this, is because a steady stream of moms were leaving the theater with their young children, and I can only assume the violence was the cause.
Like a disappointing amount of summer blockbusters, despite its carnage, Cowboys And Aliens is an incredibly forgetable film. Though I only watched the film a few hours ago, I've already forgotten most of the opening act. What I do remember was, that despite this scathing review, I had a pretty good time in the theater. So I guess that's a "C"