Tag Archives: Daniel Craig

[Review] – Skyfall

7 Dec

Skyfall

Title: Skyfall
Year: 2012
Director: Sam Mendes
Writers: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan, based on the characters by Ian Fleming
Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw
MPAA Rating: PG-13, intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking
Runtime: 143 min
IMDb Rating: 8.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Metacritic: 81

Yes, I know, I’m officially the last person on Earth to have seen Skyfall. I’ve listened to unanimous praise being bandied about in regards to this movie for over a month, people calling it the best Bond movie of all-time even, and read about it smashing box office records (it’s currently at over $870 million worldwide) but yeah, it’s taken me a while to sit down to watch the twenty-third entry in the spy franchise. It didn’t take me quite as long, however, to agree that, yes, this may just be the best one there’s ever been.

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[Trailer] – Skyfall

31 Jul

When Daniel Craig took over duties from Pierce Brosnan and became the new James Bond, we got Casino Royale, which one could argue is the best 007 film ever, or at least certainly in the top three. So the world was eagerly awaiting the follow-up to that one, and we got Quantum of Solace, a film that, while certainly not bad, was still definitely inferior, and was a big disappointment to me personally. Well, now we’re getting Mr. Craig’s third go-round as the most famous spy in film history in Skyfall, and you can watch the trailer for it after the cut.

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[Teaser] – Skyfall

21 May

When Daniel Craig took over the James Bond character we got Casino Royale, which definitely vies fort he title of the best film in that storied franchise. But then Quantum of Solace wasn’t all that great, and after MGM went bankrupt, the future of the spy franchise was left up in the air. Well, now we know that the twenty-third 007 movie is coming this year, and it’ll be called Skyfall, and we’ve now have the first teaser for it which you can watch after the cut.

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

27 Dec

Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Year: 2011
Director: David Fincher
Writer: Steven Zaillian, based on the novel by Stieg Larsson
Starring: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, Steven Berkoff, Robin Wright, Yorick van Wageningen, Joely Richardson, Goran Visnjic, Embeth Davidtz, Elodie Yung
MPAA Rating: R, brutal violent content including rape and torture, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, and language
Runtime: 158 min
IMDb Rating: 8.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Metacritic: 71

 

Yes, last year the Swedish adaptation of the hugely popular Stieg Larsson novel came out, and it was seriously great (I ranked it as my thirty-fifth favorite film of 2010, giving it an A-), and it had a breakout performance from Noomi Rapace in the role of Lisbeth Salander (which I ranked as my tenth favorite by a leading actress in 2010). So, of course people will say that it’s unnecessary to get a new adaptation only a year later. Well, I won’t say if thinking that was wrong or right; all I’ll say is that by the second you walk out of this American adaptation you’ll realize that this is a masterpiece, surpassing whatever great expectations were set by the original film, and finding in Rooney Mara the perfect actress to tackle on the role of Lisbeth Salander, no matter how great Ms. Rapace was a year ago. This is David Fincher proving to us why he’s one of the Top 3 directors working today, following last year’s masterpiece The Social Network (my second favorite film of 2010), with this one; going from hackers in Harvard to hackers in Sweden, but that doesn’t have any other similarities, the cold of Sweden making the cold of Cambridge seem like child’s play, and crafting a film that’s over two-and-a-half hours and that’s unapologetically brutal and yet so, so captivating. This is genius stuff, one of the very best films of the years hands down.

A lot was said for months about the search for the perfect actress to play Lisbeth Salander. And rightfully so, the role was hugely demanding, had just been played extremely well by Noomi Rapace just a year before, and, in the hands of the wrong actress, would make the movie crumble down. So pretty much every great young actress in Hollywood tried out for the role: Carey Mulligan, Kristen Stewart, Ellen Page, Mia Wasikowska, Evan Rachel Wood, you name it. Natalie Portman was supposedly offered the role but declined due to exhaustion from all the Black Swan craziness, unable to throw herself into such an intense role for the second year in a row. Jennifer Lawrence’s name was also thrown around, one of the brightest young actresses, but ultimately she was said to be too tall for the role. Scarlett Johansson was also considered, but Mr. Fincher considered her too sexy to play this role of a recluse hacker with a really weird kind of sex appeal.

All of their losses are our gain, as Mr. Fincher pushed and pushed for Rooney Mara, a girl who had appeared in The Social Network in a small but pivotal role, as Erica Albright, the girl you see in the opening scene at the bar telling Mark Zuckerberg he’s an asshole, effectively causing him to create Facebook out of spite towards her. She was made to audition time and time again, and finally won the role. And the stuff she brings to the table is such an incredible level of commitment that you can’t imagine any of the other prospective actresses would have brought, she’s fireworks in this film, and it would be an insult if she didn’t get an Oscar nomination (though she actually probably won’t).

I get why some people would argue against remaking a film that just a year ago did such a great job at capturing a story that, being written by a Swede and set in Sweden, was pretty much all their own. But people, take a look at what’s at the bottom of this story and you’ll realize why it needed to be told on a wider canvas, with a bigger budget, for a broader audience, with one of the most masterful eyes in cinema directing. This is a story about a female heroine, a different kind of heroine, for sure, but one that, in her quest of being an avenger against men who exact hatred towards other women, is a heroine that’s revolutionary and incredibly relevant, and a heroine we haven’t seen in films yet and that really gets to you in this one.

Because Lisbeth Salander is a truly unique character. To have a hero in this kind of film that isn’t a white male of middle age guy (because as great as Daniel Craig is as Mikael Blomkvist, this is Lisbeth’s film and story) is truly something special, a thin white girl with a petite frame and a style full of black clothing and piercings, that suggests either a hardcore goth or an S&M enthusiast. And the stuff Ms. Mara does with her is awe-inspiring, showing her unbelievable intelligence just as well as she hides her emotional scars, her eyes intently focussed underneath the strands of jet black hair that fall down her face. It’s an unbelievable character and a spell-binding performance, able to seduce you just as perfectly as she’s able to intimidate you, a woman who plays by her own set of rules, trusting no one but herself.

Screenwriter Steve Zaillian made a few changes to the story, that much is true, but this is a great writer and it still follows the story pretty close by and is quite similar to its Swedish counterpart, but from those changes and the subtle alterations made by Mr. Fincher, the film starts feeling different, becoming its own, different beast. From the minute the opening credits start rolling along David Fincher will have grabbed you by the throat and won’t let go for one hundred and fifty-eight minutes; it opens with a cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘The Immigrant Song’ by Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Karen O that plays through a series of really piercing images that will set the tone for the rest of the film. That opening sequence is a thing of brilliance, and the whole score throughout the entire movie is pretty much revolutionary, the stuff that Mr. Reznor and Mr. Ross brought to the table, and that won them an Oscar last year for The Social Network, being intensified tenfold for what they bring to this film; much like in last year’s masterpiece, the score here is just as big a part of the storytelling as any other variable.

The mystery story is obviously there, with Christopher Plummer, delivering his second great performance of the year which will help him sow up even further that well-deserved Oscar for Beginners, starring as Henrik Vanger, an old millionaire, patriarch of a powerful family that lives far off from the mainland, obsessed with finding out how his adored niece died four decades ago. The body of the niece, Harriet, was never found, and no trace to suggest she’s still alive and well somewhere else were uncovered either, so theories start forming in the mind of the old man, and later in that of Mikael Blomkvist whom he hires to help him out, and who then brings Lisbeth onto the case, theories that point the fingers at the people who were there that day all those years ago, most of them members of the Vanger family tree themselves.

As far as that goes, then yes, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a mystery murder kind of film, and alongside Se7en and Zodiac you could say Mr. Fincher has crafted a masterful trilogy of murder investigation movies, giving you information like crazy and expertly showing the investigations, carefully allowing everything to set into your mind. But when Salander is on screen this film transcends that label, and becomes about the women who fought back against those men that hated them, Lisbeth being their Joan of Ark. The murder stuff is an incredible backdrop to which to set all of this to, but, like I said, this is Lisbeth’s story we care about here. It’s amazing to see an American film made by a studio that pays so much attention to a strong female character, one that’s so in control of her own sexuality no matter how vulnerable she may appear at times.

David Fincher understood all of this, he knew this was her story, he knew Stieg Larsson wrote the books because when he was fifteen he witnessed a brutal gang rape of a woman and never got over the fact that he did not help the girl, Mr. Fincher didn’t forget the fact that the original title for the book is Men Who Hate Women. So in return he fought for who he thought was right for Lisbeth, Ms. Mara, an actresses audiences don’t know and who may not seem desirable enough for many (though she seriously is, but that’s not the discussion here), and he gave her the role of a lifetime, he gave her a big-budget, huge running-time, R-rated movie for her to shine in. And she paid off his trust in her by delivering a performance that will stay with you for quite some time well after the film ends.

This film is perfect, I don’t care what any of its critics may say, it’s just insanely perfect frame by frame. And I can’t wait to watch it a second time, and a third, and a seventh; because, like any other truly great director, David Fincher’s films are ones you should spend quite some time getting into, breathing in every shot, studying them, there’s a reason why he’s famous for asking for close to a hundred takes for many scenes; he wants every little small detail to be just right. As amazing as Rooney Mara is in the role, kudos also have to paid to the rest of her cast members, Mr. Plummer like I said is terrific, and Stellan Skarsgard, Robin Wright, Joely Richardson and a slew of other truly tremendous actors give their all to flesh out a number of really memorable characters to support Lisbeth’s story. And then there’s Daniel Craig, who plays the role of Mikael Blomkvist different than Michael Nyqvist did in the original film, something which may be expected considering the guy’s James Bond, but he also plays it perfectly, allowing for a sweetness to come organically towards a girl he starts caring for quite a lot, but knowing to always keep his distance, not to scare her off.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, may seem like a movie about a complex man helping out another man. But in reality it’s the story about a girl, and about avenging the death of another girl, and David Fincher knows that. He’s crafted yet another absolutely perfect film with this one, taking hold of a wildly successful novel that had already spawned a very great film and out-doing them all. Yes, the rape scene shown here is seriously brutal. Yes, you won’t be able to listen to Enya’s ‘Orinoco Flow’ the same way again. Those are all things that are strong to see, brutally shown, but the way Mr. Fincher opts to show them is just a thing of beauty only someone as good as him can achieve, a master storyteller. And then there’s Rooney Mara, about whom I’ve already said quite a bit, and about whom the rest will be for you to discover. Trust me, it’s well worth it.

Grade: A+

The Adventures of Tintin

27 Dec

Title: The Adventures of Tintin
Year: 2011
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, based on the comic books by Hergé
Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Tony Curran, Toby Jones
MPAA Rating: PG, adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking
Runtime: 107 min
IMDb Rating: 7.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Metacritic: 67

I knew I would really like The Adventures of Tintin. After all, it was Steven Spielberg, one of the greatest ever, doing his first animated film, in motion-capture, with the help of Andy Serkis, the pioneer of the technology and who already delivered one of the best performances of the year as Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a mo-cap creation. The screenplay was written by three guys that make my geeky heart pump, Steven Moffat (he of Doctor Who and Sherlock), Edgar Wright (he of Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Joe Cornish (he of this year’s Attack the Block, which I gave an A to). And it was based on the Hergé comics I devoured as a child and which I remember really fondly.

The result? Well, it’s a pretty damn exceptional film, with Steven Spielberg taking a lot pages from his own playbook, especially Raiders of the Lost Ark, to really deliver a hugely entertaining film, an action adventure thrill ride with some sequences that will make your jaw hit the floor for the sheer awesomeness they evoke and just how insanely well-made they are, this film becoming the second example of the year of how just how effective motion-capture can be if used by the right hands. And obviously, few hands are as trustworthy as Steven Spielberg’s, even if he’s the analog guy, he really seems to have been reinvigorated by this new technology that allowed him to create some shots physics would have maybe made too difficult to shoot regularly. This is Steven Spielberg feeling like a kid in a new playbox, the one of motion-capture, and one in which he can run free and do pretty much whatever he wants, it’s no wonder then that his creative juices were flowing at such high levels.

It’s not just the action, though, Mr. Spielberg is still super careful with the characters and pays great attention to the small details, and of course he’s joined by John Williams, his longtime composer who hadn’t produced a score since Mr. Spielberg’s fourth Indiana Jones film three years ago, and that comes back this year with this thrill ride and the much more old-school, emotional, epic War Horse that Mr. Spielberg premiered in the same week as this film (and which I’m hoping I’ll get to see really soon). And look, I won’t lie, motion-capture still is kind of creepy, it still sits in a really uneasy place between animation and live-action that it’s sort of still carving out for itself, but this isn’t The Polar Express creepy, this is much more refined animation, and in the hands of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, who closely produced, supervised the post and would helm a potential sequel (with him co-directing with Mr. Spielberg a tentative third), and who of course employed mo-cap in his Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong (thus the employment of Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis here), the technology really goes to new places in which you don’t get distracted by it but instead get engulfed by the world it presents.

Because it really is incredibly hard not to be sucked in by Steven Spielberg presenting an action adventure film featuring action scenes in motorcycles, at sea, on air, on really awesome locations and featuring some badass villains. And as someone that grew up with Tintin as a kid, it was just brilliant to see his stories on the big screen as acted and voiced by Jamie Bell, even though something about the animation on the character made him seem younger than he probably should have. The animation, however, is done perfectly well on Snowy, the incredibly awesome and loyal dog that always accompanies Tintin on all his adventures, he pretty much walks away with the whole film. Also around, of course, are Captain Haddock as played by Andy Serkis, and Thomson and Thompson, the two nearly-identical detectives that usually are on the same cases as Tintin, and who are here played, thanks to a genius casting choice, by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

The approach Mr. Spielberg took with the mo-cap technology in re-creating these classic characters is truly ambitious and it really paid off. I was admittedly kind of scared at first, after all these were characters that were so awesome because of how simple the drawings of Hergé seemed on the page, they were truly 2D creations. And yet, the animations are so awesomely done that, while the characters obviously look far more human than they did in the comics, they maintain every little bit of the feel the characters had when I read them, and that’s what they were ultimately all about. Further enhancing the experience is the fact that 3D on the hands of someone like Steven Spielberg is used not as a cheap gimmick, but as a true way to enhance our overall experience of the world we’re thrown into.

As we follow Tintin and Captain Haddock on the search for a sunken ship once commanded by Haddock’s ancestor, and their encounters with the film’s antagonist, Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine, played by Daniel Craig (who had worked with Mr. Spielberg before on Munich), we’re taken on a rollercoaster ride full of explosions and chases and seriously fun characters played and voiced by a truly incredible cast. It’s impossible not to love The Adventures of Tintin, even if you’re not familiar with the character, even if you think you don’t like motion-capture, this film is tremendous, a seriously smart family-friendly film that will honestly be enjoyed by every member of the family. After a three year absence (or six if you, like me, would rather believe the fourth Indy film didn’t happen) Steven Spielberg is back, reinvigorated by a new technology he employs to create some mind-bending sequences reminiscent of his best work in the action adventure genre.

Grade: A-

Dream House

30 Oct

Title: Dream House
Year: 
2011
Director: 
Jim Sheridan
Writer: David Loucka
Starring: 
Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Marton Csokas
MPAA Rating: 
PG-13, violence, terror, some sexuality and brief strong language
Runtime: 
92 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
5.5
Rotten Tomatoes: 
7%

 

I didn’t really know what to make of Dream House when I first heard of it, on one side it seemed like a generic haunted house movie, but then you read the names of the people involved in it and you had to at least put some faith in the film. I mean, this is a Jim Sheridan film, a six-time Academy Award nominee and the guy responsible for such amazing films as My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father, The Boxer and In America, the fact that a guy like him, one who has given us three of Daniel Day Lewis’ most masterful performances, was attracted to this material had to mean something, and the fact that he had lured in Daniel Craig as well as Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts, two of the finest actresses working today for my money, only backed up that opinion. And yet, upon watching Dream House it became painfully obvious that my first opinion was the right one, it ended up being just a really predictable and overdone horror film.

And it sucks because you know that Mr. Sheridan is a guy that obviously has it in him because he’s done really great movies, but this is a guy that should have realized by now that he should stick to doing movies that resonate with him personally and have some sort of relationship to his life, his best films have been all about Ireland in some way, where he’s from, with In America, which he co-wrote with his daughters all the way to an Academy Award nomination, being somewhat semi-autobiographical about his experience about immigrating to New York. But ever since the very moving In America, which came out in 2002, Mr. Sheridan has tried to tell other stories, and they’ve all been a far cry from the level of greatness achieved with his past films, making the very dubious decision to direct 50 Cent on 2005’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’, which was based on the rapper’s life, and then taking four years off to make Brothers, which was actually a fine film with amazing performances by Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal, but that in the end really failed to resonate the way his past films have. And now he comes out with Dream House, which only makes it even more obvious the man has to go and make a film about stuff he actually knows about.

But then again apparently Mr. Sheridan himself knew this film wasn’t a good one, fighting over creative control of the film while on set with the head of the studio and going ahead and shooting some new scenes when the original ones didn’t go well with test audiences, which resulted in the studio taking the film away from him and cutting it themselves, even releasing a trailer that kind of spoiled a lot of the film’s good bits for people. That resulted in Mr. Sheridan wanting to take his name off the film, which is obviously never a good sign and I should’ve known this wasn’t going to be good. But still, you know? I mean, this is Jim Sheridan and a cast full of really competent actors, not to mention the talents of Caleb Deschanel (father of our #1 girl over here, Zooey), a very talented and experienced cinematographer who has worked on the likes of Being There and The Passion of the Christ. So it was still quite a shame to see so much wasted talent.

Will, the character Mr. Craig plays, is this successful guy from Manhattan who decides to relocate with his wife Libby, played by Ms. Weisz, and their two daughters to a new home in the New England area. But you know that a film that introduces this successful guy and then has him relocate to a new house to spend more time with his family probably won’t be about domestic bliss for all that long, and indeed that’s what happens when Dream House turns into this really kind of slow and foolish haunted house movie, a thriller that never once really thrills. The thing is that the movie never really established anything for it to then take down to our shock and horror, I mean, obviously we’re supposed to be alarmed when these people find out that their supposedly perfect new life isn’t as it seems, but we never really care about their lives for us to care about the new findings surrounding it, and thus the film never really has a fighting chance.

The stuff that happens is that apparently there was once a murder in the basement of the house, but the police and their secretive new neighbor, played by Ms. Watts, really do nothing to help out, and all the stuff we get to eventually find out about the murder really doesn’t gel at all, so it gets to the point that because these mysteries end up being so stuffed and inconsistent we don’t care at all when there’s that middle-of-the-film twists that’s supposed to take things for a loop. Look, this isn’t an unbearable film, because even if Mr. Sheridan and his team are nowhere near the top of their game they’re Mr. Sheridan and his team, and even if Mr. Craig kind of sucks here at least we have Ms. Weisz who always delivers. But the thing is that a year from now when you ask me about Dream House I’ll tell you that this was the film in which Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz met and then got married, the rest won’t really matter.

Grade: C

Cowboys & Aliens

28 Aug

Title: Cowboys & Aliens
Year: 
2011
Director: 
Jon Favreau
Writers: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, based on a screen story by Mr. Fergus, Mr. Ostby and Steve Oedekerk, based on the graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg
Starring: 
Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Clancy Brown, Keith Carradine, Noah Ringer, Adam Beach, Abigail Spencer, Ana de la Reguera, Walton Goggins
MPAA Rating: 
PG-13, intense sequences of western and sci-fi action and violence, some partial nudity and a brief crude reference
Runtime: 
118 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
6.6
Rotten Tomatoes: 
45%

You can go right ahead and write down Cowboys & Aliens as one of the biggest disappointments of the 2011 movie year. To be perfectly honest it wasn’t a bad film, I liked parts of it a fair bit, but the truth is that I was majorly excited for this film, I thought it would be one of the funnest two hours spent in the theater, and I had been thinking that for a while now, so to finally get to see it and get this was a huge let down. I mean, look at it on paper and it’s just a geek dream-team made in heaven. You have a self-explanatory title that promises to marry the western and sci-fi genres in one insanely nifty adventure. You have Jon Favreau, he who directed the first two Iron Man films, calling the shots. You have a script by the two guys who wrote the latest Star Trek, the guy who spearheaded Lost, and another two-guy team that were the ones that did the screenplay for the first, and best, Iron Man film and the Oscar-nominated one of the masterpiece that was Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men. And then you have all of that on-screen talent as well: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Walton Goggins… this seemed too good to be true, and ultimately, it was.

Seriously, I was ridiculously excited about this film, the whole concept, the whole team assembled to make it, that awesome first trailer. And then we get this, a truly uneven film that while certainly not all bad, certainly didn’t live up to its potential. I don’t really know what it was, maybe it was the fact that even though all five screenwriters are pretty genius, they were still five different people collaborating on a single project (and regular readers may be aware of how much I dislike films with that many writers), maybe it was the fact that Mr. Favreau, no matter how wicked cool he is, apparently wasn’t ready to really handle the tonality changes that were such a big part of this movie and was brought down by his own ambition. I don’t know, really, all I know is that Cowboys & Aliens wasn’t the geek dream I was looking forward to watching multiple times on the theater and then getting my hands on the blu-ray the minute it was released.

The whole thing just lacked the incredible pacing that would be really necessary to accomplish a successful mesh of these two disparate genres, because the way it was done, Cowboys & Aliens was just a mash-up of two genres, but not a very smart one, because for all of its ambitions of envelope-pushing concepts, it was still too tied down to the formula of today’s blockbusters, which in turned meant that it could really give us not much of a cool western and not much of a cool sci-fi, either. And again, I’m pained to say that this really falls mostly on Mr. Favreau, I mean, sure, the script probably could have been better considering the talent assembled to pen it, but as a director it was his job to really achieve a neat balance of these two genres, and for the vast majority of this film it seemed as though he was just a fanboy interested in filming some guys with pistols on horses next to a CGI-created spaceship and having things blow up. And, don’t get me wrong, that’s all good and fun, but it’s really not much else, and it’s only good and fun for a limited amount of time.

The acting I thought pretty awesome, though, and it’s what made me like Cowboys & Aliens to whatever level I ultimately did. I mean, Mr. Craig and Mr. Ford were pretty much meant to play their roles, even though they don’t bring much other than their natural predisposition to play them to the film, and the supporting cast features Sam Rockwell, Keith Carradine, Paul Dano and Walton Goggins, who are all outstanding actors who always rock supporting roles and that, if you get to think about it, are the sort of actors who would actually be incredible in actual westerns if anyone actually still made those films today. And, to be honest, as much a sci-fi geek as I may be, and as much as I loved the idea of marrying these two when I first heard of it, I now fully believe that Cowboys & Aliens would have been a much better film without the alien part of the title, and instead as a straight-up western with all of the same players involved.

I won’t really get into the plot at all, if you’ve seen the trailers you actually get all you need to know from them no matter how mysterious they’re made out to play as. If you see this film you may have your fair bit of fun, it warrants it to be honest, but you’ll also feel as though you should have gotten something better, and not just an exercise by Mr. Favreau with a humongous budget in taking his time to get to a predictable cowboys vs. aliens climax, that once it arrives will be pretty well-made and loud, but will offer essentially no thrills. Maybe I would have like this film a bit better had I seen it on a different day, but today was also the day I saw the outstanding Attack the Block, which was a tremendously well-done alien movie with a low budget but that succeeded in all the places this one failed because it knew how to execute its formula. Perhaps if this one would have been smart enough to just stick to the western bits, it would have fared the same way, instead it’s just a so-so movie when it should have been a pretty awesome one.

Grade: B-