Cowboys & Aliens

2 out of 5 stars
Cowboys & Aliens

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

...& Ted & Alice? If only there was some species-swinging debauchery to spice up Jon Favreau's senses-encumbering genre mash-up. We open in Leone-land, as an amnesiac man with no name (Craig) rides into a desolate mining town. He may have no memory, but he can bring down a guy---in this case, a rodentlike irritant played by Paul Dano---with the lightning speed of a rattlesnake. That'll get people's attention, and it isn't long before our hero is face-to-grizzled-face with the crotchety Civil War colonel (Ford) who rules over the community with an iron fist. Time to draw six-shooters among the tumbleweeds, pard---hold on, are those lights in the sky?

Indeed. Turns out there are some otherworldly prospectors on the prairie, the kind who need gold for fuel and human flesh for some icky-gooey experiments that a blankly ethereal floozy (Wilde) seems to know more about than she's letting on. The John Ford meets John Carter adventure that ensues should be a smashing good time, especially with these game performers. But Favreau's direction is so boulder-heavy---the action sequences, especially the climactic assault on the alien mothership, are an eye-and-ear-shattering mess---that the small moments of poetry (a striking image of a steamboat overturned in the desert; a pointedly humorous discussion of manhood between Ford's character and his young protg) are lost amid too much digital sound and fury.

Follow Keith Uhlich on Twitter: @keithuhlich

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