User Score
6.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 357 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 54 out of 357

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  1. Aug 5, 2011
    2
    Jesus. This movie is so overwhelmingly mediocre. C&A is a prime example of Hollywood cashing in on overly bland and unoriginal movies that have so much hype built up on them (and a ridiculously unnecessary budget). Jon Favreau is an extremely overrated director with no originality whatsoever. Boring cinematography. Boring script. Boring editing. Seen-that-before action sequences. And questionable casting (Olivia Wilde with her im-trying-too-hard-to-be-serious expressions and dialogue, and Daniel Craig, the Englishman who you can easily tell is trying oh so hard to cover up his accent). The story is FULL of action movie cliches that make the following scenes hugely predictable. The Aliens: not scary, that **** has been done before, and MUCH better. Favreau tries to make the movie out to be epic and dramatic, but it sadly ends up being another run-of-the-mill ****ty summer action movie. But, I'm sure this movie will gross millions and millions of dollars and the "public" will say that it's a "great movie, so entertaining and funny!" and blah blah blah. The dialogue is boring as hell and some scenes are so over-acted that it almost feels as if they are making a parody of themselves. If you have any sense of the many possible quality that defines a movie as "good", stay away from this one. If you want to sit for two hours and have your intelligence insulted with unoriginality and bland mediocrity, go see it. I was anxiously waiting for this movie to come to its predictable, dumb ending, so I could GTFO out the theater.
    I know that this movie was intended to be just an entertaining summer blockbuster, but jesus, actually make it worth my time and bring SOMETHING new to the table. This movie had virtually nothing to offer, which ultimately made it completely unentertaining and pointless.
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  2. Jul 29, 2011
    3
    Cowboys & Aliens is a mess. Like Wild Wild West level mess. Ridiculous story, incomprehensible + lazy script, not nearly fun or funny enough. Takes itself too seriously and has more than a few outright boring stretches. I hate stories that aren't thought out properly and cover it with lazy, convenient bailouts in the script. Watch out for the exposition and "twists" in regards to one of the main characters in the second half of the film...its a doozy. Aliens aren't horrible but aren't scary and their motives are off-the-wall stupid. SPOILER ALERT - They be huntin' for some gold out in these here hills! Not even Craig and Ford can save this, in fact, they never really get a chance, because it's not about them. And that's a problem. I'm not even the biggest fan of westerns (more of a sci-fi guy) but I kept yearning for an old-school western with Craig (less Bond, more gunslinger) going up against the dastardly villain Ford (he starts out that way, but by the end...well, it's complicated...in an Oprah/Dr. Phil kind of way). Want a sci-fi/western mashup with cowboys and aliens done right? Go watch Firefly/Serenity. Expand
  3. Jul 29, 2011
    4
    The first 35 minutes is fantastic. Then the next hour is a talk fest. Then a bunch of disjointed scenes trying to be serious without the tongue and cheek humor that holds Iron Man together. If you want to see a bold experiment, then see this movie. If you want to see a good movie.... well that is something else. I knew there were problems when the opening credits listed 5 scriptwriters and a ton of producers. Everything put something in but it is just that, a bunch of stuff. Harrison Ford should have sat this one out; it was like he didn't even prepare until he got to the set. Expand
  4. Jul 31, 2011
    2
    My initial reaction after the movie was "What the hell did I just watch?" My summary is: James Bond travels back in time and meets Indiana Jones, when ET and friends comes out of nowhere and trys to kill them. Oh, and there is some chick in the movie, I can't remember what her name is.
  5. Jul 31, 2011
    3
    Two hours of high budget and top talent backed by the biggest pillars of the industry, Cowboys and Aliens fails at nearly EVERY level. I was surprised to read Jon Favreau say, "It was very well laid out, well planned, and there were a lot of discussions with a lot of actors who called me to task on things that seemed too convenient, so we made sure we earned each step." Really? That shocks me considering this movie moves at a snail's pace, is full of the worst dialogue and embarrassingly wastes some of the strongest acting talent there is. This movie is bad. So MUCH of it is too convenient and if it was PLANNED that way, then shame on Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Brian Grazer, Jon Favreau, Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Sam Rockwell and a host of very well-known character actors who deserved better than this 2-hour monstrosity. Expand
  6. Aug 3, 2011
    2
    Loud and slow, and in terrible need of a script. Great cast that is wasted on a bad story. The pace of the film was also choppy at the best of times. The shame is if it was better written it could have been a lot of fun. Also, I don't think the creative team ever watched a real western.
  7. Aug 4, 2011
    0
    I really feel this was one of the most boring and uneventful films I have ever seen. Why Would anybody make this film. I just don't understand. BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD
  8. Aug 18, 2011
    3
    All the worst cliches of a western: bad buy rancher and outsider. Deposed sheriff. Frontier town. All the worst cliches of a science fiction movie: screeching aliens, drool, plot to take over the world, fateful flaw, sleep mode. If it was parody, I missed the point. Really, really bad. I have seen worse. Noisy, though, with lots of explosions if that is your thing.
  9. Aug 31, 2011
    3
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The Mayans disappeared. Not all of them, but the unaccounted for Mesoamerican people, who once populated 9th century Middle America, numbered in the millions. It's a mystery that, despite the best conjectures from leading archaeological experts, remains inconclusively solved, as to what exactly caused the sudden depletion in ranks of this culturally influential people. Their disappearance, to this day, is the subject of much innuendo, mostly involving little green men from outer space. "Apocalypto", the 2006 ethnographic fever dream that wakes itself up on a rain-soaked beach, disappointingly turns its back on the long-held speculation over flying saucers, as the three men, sworn enemies from opposing tribes, stop their chasing, when their local conflict gets usurped by quasi-cosmic one, floating out in the ocean. It's not UFOs, but Spanish voyaging ships, yet to the Mayans back on shore, the sea vessels carry the same impact as a fleet of interplanetary spacecrafts, and the white men encroaching upon the shoreline in rowboats, likewise, might as well be aliens, since this is their first contact with beings from outside the people's hermetically-sealed world. Potentially, "Apocalypto" had the makings of a period piece science-fiction movie, but its fidelity to historically ethnographic accuracy inhibits the film's full pulp potential. However, due to the filmmaker's propensity for Grand Guignol spectacle, an alien invasion, in spite of the edifying presence of real locations and spoken indigenous languages , wouldn't be at all antithetical to the movie's form, because in actuality, "Apocalypto" is a genre picture(action-adventure), surprisingly lowbrow, dressed up in the academic clothing of a pre-civilized setting. It should have been "Mayans & Aliens". Some 100 years ago, three Australian girls disappeared. Only one of them would return alive from the "Picnic at Hanging Rock". Irma remembers nothing, the same refrain you hear from alien abductees, Jake Lonergan included, who wakes up on the prairie like a high plains drifter with amnesia. Whereas there is no ambiguity about an otherworldly presence in "Cowboys & Aliens"(whose mash-up of genres plays like a soundstage that the cast from "Blazing Saddles" forgot to crash), Peter Weir's 1975 film about the mysterious happenings at Mt. Macedon on Valentine's Day at the turn of the 20th century, implies that aliens could be the cause of the tragedy that beset Appleyard College. Although the film is not widely recognized as science fiction, the narrative has enough proximate tropes to suggest "Schoolgirls & Aliens", made all the more odder by the same period pre-industrial setting as its unaware(and less subtle) successor, in regard to the disparate melding of the historical and the fantastical. Back at the school, before the girls depart for the campgrounds, Miranda tells Sarah, "I won't be here much longer", which by itself, would seem to indicate that graduation time is fast-approaching, but at the picnic site, just before the girls take their leave, Mlle de Poitiers apperceives in the fair girl an otherness, clarifying to Miss McCraw how she knows that "Miranda is a Botticelli angel," or in other words, not terrestrial-based, which turns the plaintive admission among roommates back at the dormitory into a secret. Miranda, in retrospect is telling Sarah that she's returning "home". For the holiday-themed picnic, the girls bring along a pink heart-shaped cake, which Miranda cuts violently with a large knife, straight down the middle on what is, in essence, a representational human organ, as if rehearsing for future medical experiments, aboard the spaceship hidden in, or above, the rock formations. Like Ella(Olivia Wilde) in "Cowboys & Aliens", the prettiest girl turns out to be an extra-terrestrial. Emerging from a nap at the rock base, it's indeed Miranda who leads the other girls into a narrow passageway, except for Edith, who shouts, "When are we going home?" to her unhearing peers, gripped in a trance-like state, before she shrieks at something off-screen, which sends her running from the abduction site in an aerial shot that suggests the girls are flying above her. This outcome was presaged. Earlier in the hike, Miranda advises Edith to "look not down at the ground, but up in the sky." For reasons unknown, Irma is sent back, but not without evidence of a possible alien probe; her corset is missing. While Jake proved to be unsuccessful in saving his wife aboard the alien ship, Michael brings back Irma, using Hanging Rock, perhaps, as a portal. Now, better than the rest, she knows how the Aborigines felt when the Europeans colonized Australia, similar to the Absolution denizens, who probably would echo Edith's notion about being "the only living creatures in the whole world," in effect, dismissing the Indians outright. Alas, both groups of white people too learn the Mayan lesson that "we're not alone". Expand
  10. Dec 1, 2011
    3
    Overall, i did not enjoy this movie, the storyline is ridiculous and the aliens look poorly created. there is a reason why people do not make sci-fi/western movies and i think this film shows you just why
  11. Dec 6, 2011
    4
    I really wanted to like this movie but I just couldn't. Throughout the whole movie I was just wishing that I was watching a regular western with this cast. The cast being really the only redeeming thing about this movie at all.
  12. Dec 16, 2011
    0
    This is close to the worst film I have ever seen. Good cast that should be ashamed of themselves. Beyond-cliched Western characters, grafted on aliens plot, and the most infuriating attemps to manipulate with "touching" moments that haven't been remotely earned. The definition of polished turd.
  13. Mar 3, 2012
    4
    This movie wasnt really that entertaining, and the fact that parts were alright, is the reason why this got as high as it is. The plot was virtually nonexistent, the aliens were overall sub par. I dont recommend this movie, if you want to watch it anyway go ahead im not going to say dont i just dont recommend it
  14. Mar 26, 2012
    2
    Cowboys & Aliens is quite awful even by the standards of summer blockbusters. I was pretty keen to see it based on the ridiculous premise - I expected something mad, completely over-the-top, and most importantly, fun. In reality, it's none of these. The first half of the film tries to play it straight, as a fairly traditional western - a mysterious outsider arrives in a frontier town and finds the inhabitants down-trodden by criminals and corrupt officials. Then the aliens arrive and the film turns into Independence Day with horses. And the only way to describe the finale is unintentionally hilarious. The film should have turned out better, as there's some real talent behind it. Director Jon Favreau proved with Iron man that he could produce an exceedingly good fun action movie, and even Iron Man 2 occasionally raised a smile despite its inconsistency. Daniel Craig has had both hits and misses in his acting career, and he's not bad at all in this as the amnesiac protagonist, but Harrison Ford disappoints, appearing to be in various states of constipation in every scene, and Olivia Wilde is as dire as she always is. The only actor to make any lasting impression is Sam Rockwell, who plays a timid and depressed saloon owner. Not only does the film offer bad acting, but a terrible script (a real achievement considering 5 writers worked on it at some point or another) an overly meandering plot, dull action and a truly unforgiving run-time. I never expected Cowboys & Aliens to be original (just look at the title!) or compelling, or anything close to approaching a great film, but I at least expected it to be fun. It's not, and that's the greatest crime - it's a summer blockbuster without fun. All I can say for it is that Rockwell is good, Craig is acceptable, and the film has a single great moment - when our amnesiac protagonist first wakes up, but before we're subjected to the torture of watching the rest of the film. Expand
  15. Jun 29, 2012
    3
    Cowboys and Aliens is a film about farmers with RPGS fighting an earth shattering war against aliens that supposedly kill people with the giant penises according to my brother and his friend. I got bored as soon as the first load of of bandits came along after Daniel Craig tried to get Ben 10's omnitrix off his arm. I didn't really know what was going on and am curerently writing this review while watching the film. Everyone has the same Cowboy personalities we've seen before and I now wish I was watching a film about Farmer John and his RPGn taking on the blind Alien Paedophiles in an Earth shattering war. This emotional bit on right now with Farmer John 2 dying only means my brother going on about how he hates this film and Farther John being kidnapped and sexually abused by the Aliens. I'm bored now Expand
  16. Aug 25, 2012
    3
    So much has been made of this film but in truth, it is a pretty poor film. Daniel Craig gives a pretty good performance and obviously Olivia Wilde is gorgeous but neither is good enough to lift this film out of the dumps. I was pretty shocked considering Jon Favreau has directed some very good action films.
  17. Apr 6, 2013
    2
    Cowboys and Aliens is dazzling as VFX if you add but people that work at Empire Magazine that say this movie is good and giving it a 80 is never worth it. I have watched so much movies in my live but never seen someone making a mock of Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig so bad and adding aliens in the plot. Jon Faverau has made a great movie called Iron Man, so why doesn't he keep making movies like that!? I mean the story and plot were okay and the acting was brilliant but nothing more! It's bland through 15 minutes and bores! Craig doesn't do that well as an outlaw! The plot was dumb and good at the same time. ONE TIME WATCH ONLY. Expand
  18. Jul 29, 2011
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I really wanted to like this, but just about everything in it fell short and I was left disappointed.

    Ford and Craig were great together, yet their vibe was neglected and what there was of it wasted by a bad script, laugh-inducing (in a bad way) aliens, a sub-par directorial effort from Favreau, and too much of Wilde's character.
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  19. Jul 30, 2011
    2
    Meh. Despite a cool idea, great cast, and solid creative team, C&A is mostly just really loud and boring. It feels like the writers really don't know or like Westerns very much - the Western elements are just a xerox of a xerox... and actually so do the alien elements, right down to the alien design. There's nothing clever here - rules set up are quickly broken when convenient. Some aliens need to be shot 5 to 10 times before they die, others can be stabbed with a single knife. Worst of all, the movie starts with Craig in possession of a crucial alien weapon - the ultimate deus ex macchina, and it shows up in the first shot.

    I was really tempted to walk out and kinda wish I had. A big problem is the movie's resistance to having a real bonafide hero at the center. Both Craig and Ford play typical Western bad guys (thief & rancher respectively) as opposed to a classic sheriff type. No one has anything to prove or need to change.
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  20. Jul 31, 2011
    2
    Short review: Should have been fun. Wasn't

    Title more appropriate as a description of Republican Party infighting over the debt ceiling: Traditional Republicans (cowboys) versus Tea partiers (aliens) except that in the political scenario, aliens seem to have won,whereas in the movie, the aliens were smarter.
  21. Aug 1, 2011
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I didn't particularly enjoy this film. I would have loved to see a classic western with Craig and Ford, they would have been terrific. The science fiction element was nonsense. For instance it was never explained why they placed the device on Craig's wrist. A weapon that he was able to use against them? Why? Olivia Wilde just lousy, she seemed so out of place that it kind of telegraphed that she was an alien herself. We just sort of know that the aliens are bad and want gold. But they kidnap people, to what end I don't know, they certainly weren't giving them an anal probe as in other movies. But during the whole movie, I just couldn't stop thinking what if Harrison Ford was a a grizzled, tough old rancher who is assisted by young gunslinger Craig against the bad guys. **** they should have just remade Shane and it would have been better. Expand
  22. Aug 1, 2011
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Why is that these aliens are intelligent enough to build spaceships and laser guns, but when the cowboys attack they growl, run around on all 4, and try to bite and claw them? Also, the basic plot is: kill all the aliens before they can fly away and bring in reinforcements". So, we are to believe that the aliens have no way to CALL home using radios--even E.T. could do that!?! Furthermore, if the aliens never kidnapped any humans, we never would've known that they were out there mining gold! Give me a break! This movie is like a bad "SciFi Channel original movie". Expand
  23. Aug 2, 2011
    3
    The title says it all. There's cowboys. And there's aliens. Not anything more than that. Cowboys and Aliens basically takes every cliche from the two genres and sticks them into one movie. This movie carries nothing more than star power. There's a weak script, some poor acting, and an extremely predictable plot that carried plenty of holes. The one bright point in this movie was Daniel Craig (Harrison Ford was even disappointing) who put on a decent performance, though nothing close to Road To Perdition or Casino Royale. Skip this movie, just another mindless summer blockbuster. Expand
  24. Aug 12, 2011
    2
    I really WANTED to like this movie. I even bought the "Cowboys and Indians" magazine with the movie on the cover at the store in anticipation. The rationale for this mash-up is that westerns don't do well overseas, but sci-fi and aliens do. So why not blend both! But after 30 minutes of dark tedium, I started to count down the time to leave. (Had I not gone with three friends, I would have left.) Epic fail: derivative, cliched, and boring. PollosHermanos long review (BELOW) covers all the bases at length. Jpwilson1984 calls it a "Wild Wild West level mess. Ridiculous story, incomprehensible + lazy script, not nearly fun or funny enough. Takes itself too seriously and has more than a few outright boring stretches." AND utterly predictable. All too true. Blame the script, but with this level of talent blowing a chance to genre-blend the epic western, all talent shares in the blame of wasting the budget. I'm only thankful that, barring having a kid, I'll never have to waste my time watching such dreck again. So much potential wasted. Collapse
  25. Aug 15, 2011
    4
    A man with no name and no memory wakes up in the middle of the desert. He has no idea how he got there but it appears he has been in some sort of violent situation and there is a metal bracelet attached to his wrist. The stranger (Daniel Craig) unluckily attracts frequent attacks including bounty hunters, local thugs, and then aliens. He may not remember his past, but he certainly remembers how to fight and shoot. This comes in handy since the filmâ Expand
  26. Nov 19, 2011
    2
    How could someone pour a lot of money into something so bad? Aliens and cowboys? What were they smoking? Talk about genre cliche after cliche. One of the year's worst big budget movies not even redeemed by decent acting.
  27. Dec 25, 2011
    1
    Unbelievably silly and Mediocre, this movie is laughable at best, the fact that this movie was completely illogical and dumb the scripting and plot is awful and boring.
  28. Jan 15, 2012
    4
    So quickly wanting to get past 'the plot be crazy lol' swamp, let's get into what the film did. Well it had a nice setup as a beginning and built tension well. It also was nice that it went for a little bit of the old Jaws thing by not showing the aliens too much early. But then, oh meh... Harrison Ford must of got lackadaisical and sated after lunch, and the screenwriter and director must of started smoking weed together, because the rest of the film is just lazy as hell. No innovation, originality, or even fun really. Just what you expect, but more boring. It's a film about Cowboys V.S Aliens...how do you make that boring? Daniel Craig looked like he was the only one who gave a **** Least till he saw it at the premier I'm guessing. Expand
  29. Aug 26, 2013
    0
    It looks good, but horrible.
    Daniel Craig's character looks great. I love the SF weapon on the wrist. But that's just about it.
    protagonist, aliens, flying machine characters are horrible.
    Most scenes are boring, slow.
    The battle scenes are bad.
    Aliens were stupid, die easily. I wanted more than that.
  30. Apr 2, 2014
    2
    Pretty stupid movie if you ask me. I mean Aliens? Probably one of the most cliche thing to have in movies nowadays; and it's even worse when you mix it with an extremely unfitting theme for aliens: cowboys. In some ways I could see some of this being a somewhat decent concept, but overall it just fell flat and made this awful movie. The only thing I probably liked in this film was that some locations were pretty cool and the acting was alright (Harrison Ford is great of course). But overall this film was pretty bad and just tried too hard to be a sophisticated Alien film but overall it was just stupid. I would never recommend this abomination of a film in a million years. Expand
Metascore
50

Mixed or average reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 41
  2. Negative: 5 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    Aug 1, 2011
    80
    A simple entertainment in a summer of overcomplicated disappointments. Also much harder-edged than you may have expected.
  2. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Jul 31, 2011
    50
    That is what kids will come away with, together with a dose of wishful thinking: the vague belief that, with good will and a foe from far away, all those feuding parties of the Wild West - the cowboys, the Indians, and the no-good rogues - could have settled their differences and got along just fine. Go tell it to Gary Cooper.
  3. 40
    An agreeable time-killer, but I'll bet a couple of clever kids could make a livelier movie with a Woody puppet and a Predator doll.