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Mixed or average reviews- based on 358 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 54 out of 358

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  1. Aug 2, 2011
    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
  2. Aug 2, 2011
    If you believe in aliens, then you know they have been around and visited the planet in other times, so why not a movie about them visiting earth during the wild west period? Makes sense to me. The movie works because it is played straight up, no camp, no comedy. I liked the first half of the movie better than the second half when it turns into your basic alien shoot-em-up, but it is still attention grabbing and fun even then. I do get tired of Hollywood portraying aliens as slobbery, dripping beasts with fangs and claws that don't even verbally communicate with one another, but I guess we're stuck with that. You also have to open your mind to other silliness such as the aliens using a lasso to capture their victims while flying in their saucers at high speed. Seems kind of low-tech for such a superior being. Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig are terrific and the supporting cast is at their level as well. Overall an entertaining summer movie. Expand
  3. Aug 2, 2011
    I think that this movie is great fun. There is one minor character who caused some problems for me, but overall this movie was very enjoyable on all fronts. I think that the reason that the rating on this movie is so low is because it is genre bending, and many people do not like that at all.
  4. Aug 1, 2011
    Okay. Cowboys and Aliens. One side has high-tec weaponry, the other has six-shooters. Who do you think wins? Well, the side with the guy that has a stolen alien laser-shooting bracelet of course! In this movie, aliens raid a town, steal some people, and flee. Everybody that is left heads out to go and find them. Along the way, the group is narrowed down, but they also end up recruiting a pack of Indians and ruffians. The movie is pretty good, with the acting very solid. everybody played their roles well. The story was pretty good, as good as a cowboys and aliens story can be, and the script was pretty good. There are some moments of suspense, and a couple startling moments, but nothing that will overly frighten you. The big problem with this film was the issues with continuity. Among other things, at one point all the people are riding into battle together. if you count how many people proceed to get owned by the aliens, you realize they lost more men than they really had. Still, this isn't exactly obvious, you'd have to studiously study the movie to see it. There are a couple good stunts, a couple big explosions, though the best attack is always going to be the initial attack on the town. If you're looking for action, a couple one-liners, some gruff transactions, and some sci-fi mixed in, this is a good movie to see, and I fully recommend it. Expand
  5. Aug 1, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. There are some really great elements to this film, and some really weak/boring ones. First, and most importantly, they tried far too hard to make the movie more than it needed to be. SPOILER- The alien space ships, for example, were far too small. When we see one shot down, the alien that comes out of it is bigger than the ship. And grappling hooks to grab the humans? Really? I thought it was a great idea to have the aliens looking for something other than the big 3 alien needs: water, slaves, or land because their planet is dying. But it was never explained why the aliens needed so much gold so badly, except to say it's as rare to them as it is to us. Also, why, exactly, were they taking humans? To find our weaknesses is, in itself weak. They were so advanced, with superior weapons, and they had no problem killing humans. Other then that, I enjoyed the movie quite a but. Craig and Ford are outstanding in their roles. Wilde, and the supporting cast were adequate, and in some cases (the doctor, the sheriff) quite good. I for one loved that it was a western. Seeing aliens in the badlands over 100 years ago was new, and therefore entertaining. The biggest problem I had with the movie was of my own making. The commercials for the movie made me think, for some reason, that it was more of a campy, slightly cheesy comedy. It is not! I kept waiting for the laughs, expecting more from the movie than it delivered, and that took away from it. But as I say, that was my own fault. Still, it's an entertaining film! Expand
  6. Aug 1, 2011
    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
  7. Aug 1, 2011
    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
  8. Aug 1, 2011
    The movie has great action, plot, and character growth. The aspect of memory loss in the main character helped the plot grow. It was nice to see a western movie, and alians didn't add a bad touch. In all honesty, i don't believe this movie deserves a 10, but it doesn't deserve anything below a 7
  9. Aug 1, 2011
    I liked the concept for this movie. It was very unique and Jon Favreau made a very solid movie. I thought the movie had a bit more potential, seeing as Iron Man was very well done. Daniel Craig, phenomenal actor in this movie, Harrison Ford did... Eh, but that is besides the point. The cinematography was beautiful, the sounds were great and where the heck can i get myself one of those bracelets? A very solid movie. Expand
  10. Aug 1, 2011
    One of the more well thought out and designed alien movies of late. Had surprising depth, a great cast, and no dearth of explosions or action. For what it is, and for what it's meant to be, 10 out of 10. It highly achieves in entertaining and telling a story.
  11. Jul 31, 2011
    I have yet to see the movie yet, but it pains me to see that people have no idea what Cowboys & Aliens is? Most people think it was something that was new and made up, but the fact is the Cowboys & Aliens movie is based on the 2006 graphic novel "Cowboys & Aliens" the idea is not original, but I don't want people to think that this was a movie idea that Hollywood put together. I cannot accurately rate this movie without seeing it, but I think people are being to harsh. Expand
  12. Jul 31, 2011
    Sometimes movies are not that interesting to me that gives me no pleasure to enjoy every movie that is original or fun, but only one that is so fun that gives you a lot energy to enjoy the pleasure of great popcorn flick. That's what I'm talking about the movie called Cowboys & Aliens is good cowboy movie that shows great special effects (without no 3D, thanks to joy of 2D), the characters are badass including Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, the western action is fun and it brings the old school of western cliches that even in Rango and True Grit could be combine into an awesome flick, and genre stays a perfect script and thanks to Jon Favreau who help this movie to be a best popcorn flick of western pulp fun. Enjoy this decent and clever film that people will not enjoy if they see those dumb movies that they want to enjoy. Expand
  13. Jul 31, 2011
    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.
  14. Jul 31, 2011
    The first time I heard the title '' Cowboys & Aliens '' I laugh, because it sounded so ridiculous. After seeing it, I was impressed how it turned out to be. This movie offers cool characters (like Jake Lonergan played by Daniel Craig), great action, great acting and it's ridiculously awesome, since cowboys are fighting against aliens. Yes, it may be silly at first, but it managed to stay '' serious ''. There were some parts that they were just talking, some people could find that boring. The movie started really well, so well that anyone could get easily captivated by the story. It makes you think about the situation and you just want to find out the truth. The movie really focus on the cowboys, which surprised me. It's great because it still have that small western ambiance. Also, Olivia Wilde locked incredibly hot. She should get arrested for that, because she distracts me. Anyway, it's very enjoyable, definitely worth watching. I might even see it again. Expand
  15. Jul 31, 2011
    Good movie overall; still have to assume though that some things or some events just happened the way it did; like when the main character went back for more help, that the rest of the group did move away from the alien's ship...though we didn't see that in the film. :)
  16. Jul 31, 2011
    The concept is unique, but it's mired down in a conventional formula that even includes a little boy and a dog. Daniel Craig (steely-eyed and tough) and Harrison Ford (in a bad guy role) team up to fight the hostile visitors from outer space. Between the slow parts, there are chases, explosions and firefights, but none of them are original or special. The effects are adequate, as is the movie in general. Expand
  17. Jul 31, 2011
    I listened to Jon Favreau talk about this film last year at Comic Con and he said he wanted to do a classic western with aliens. This film is exactly that; a western with aliens. Great actors, great scenery, hilarious dialogue. Overall if u like western films you should like this one. Don't pay attention to all the bad reviews, those people just didn't get it. When you see this movie just sit back relax and enjoy the movie for what it is. A western with aliens. Expand
  18. Jul 31, 2011
    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
  19. Jul 31, 2011
    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.
  20. FC1
    Jul 31, 2011
    This movie is very much a western with an obvious. very different twist. Watching this movie brought back the feelings and excitement of past western favorites like The Outlaw Josie Wales, and Silverado; mainly due to the slew of great character actors and the atmosphere they bring to all good movies. I know that people will say "too ridiculous" and" why add science fiction?". Well, the alien aspect IS very different, but I liked that it appears, and is taken by the townsfolk at face value; basically, there's a new villain in town. I say kick back and enjoy it. Aliens did not just appear in the 20th century (or am I getting my history confused?) I like that the movie just "is" and does away with over explanations. It begins right away with interest in the main characters, and continues with the energy and twists that keep it moving. To me, this movie, along with Captain America, and Super 8 allow you to get into the characters and then get involved with the action and special effects; not the other way around. I like it better that way. Expand
  21. Jul 31, 2011
    I truly hope that the reviews of this movie do not affect its box office performance. This was a wonderfully entertaining summer movie, never intended to win any academy awards (except possibly for SFX) that was the greatest fun I've had with aliens since Independence Day. This movie made me feel like a kid again, and I simply can't wait to see it. Well done to EVERYONE involved in this movie's production. Expand
  22. Jul 30, 2011
    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.
  23. Jul 30, 2011
    Wow. This movie was nonstop entertainment. I loved the stories within the story. Loved it!! The critics don't know squat and word of mouth will sell this movie. Very fun!! Must see in the theatre. Don't wait for redbox.
  24. Jul 30, 2011
    A pure Western to the core! This film is so beautifully filmed and the genre mash-up works very well. The aliens are great and Craig plays an excellent cowboy. Ford is perfect as ever. This film is just plain fun and it is definitely worth price for admission. Yep, this one will be in my blu-ray collection!
  25. drm
    Jul 30, 2011
    When I read Roger Ebert's review of this, it went something like this, "Why couldn't this have just been a western?" At the time, I thought that was kind of a harsh review, since I know of his childhood bias toward western cinema. He's right though. This totally could have stood on it's own without science fiction assistance. Daniel Craig is so f***ing cool in this movie. Harrison Ford is too. It's almost like too many dope actors got trapped in 'ordinary film syndrome'. Please don't misunderstand, I liked this movie, and I had fun watching it. I think people beat up Olivia Wilde too hard. She is very beautiful, but this role didn't really exploit her talents correctly. I could go on and on about the ways modern film makes female leads ineffective, compared to their 20th century counterparts, but that's a whole other thing. Bottom line, this was fun. Go see it. :] Expand
  26. Jul 30, 2011
    Cowboys & too many Aliens...begins well but ends up as a Spielberg cliché

    There is a certain amount of assurance you expect when you know that the film involves Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Spielberg and Favreau. The film in the end delivered only that much.

    Daniel Craig shines out of dirt, looks good and acts very well as a rough & tough cowboy. The initial build up works
    very well, raises the expectation, raises it further with Harrison Ford in a new befitting character of a veteran cowboy/colonel. Then, enter the aliens, i liked it to begin with but then found my fingers getting crossed. In next 20 odd minutes it made me feel that this cowboys+aliens experiment is now trying to satisfy only the kids in the theater. The initial feel good fizzled into a cliché sci-fi flick. Nevertheless, i enjoyed myself going through the experiment, watching the cowboy part, lovely flying machines & cinematography. To conclude with it could be an amazing film had the aliens part treated as subtly as Daniel Craig in his cowboy avatar. Perhaps the way M Night Shyamlan did in the Signs. Expand
  27. Jul 30, 2011
    This actually wasn't that bad of a movie. Sure, it lacked in a few minor elements, but overall, it was worth $10.50. The suspense was the only thing that lacked for me. No "edge-of-your-seat" moments. But what was lost there made up for in beautiful landscapes and epic battle sequences. This was one of the better summer movies of 2011.
  28. Jul 30, 2011
    Its a western with extreme stereotype characters caught in a series of outlandish and entertaining scenes. Frankly I think if it had less A-listers the expectation would have been lower and the ratings would have been higher. Shame, because it is entertaining thru and thru; good vs. evil, love vs greed, humans vs the cosmos, popcorn action at its best. C&A is funny, entertaining, scary, and even daft at times, but again with the intent to entertain. With a better back story to the central character and a grittier ending I would have given it a 10. Expand
  29. Jul 30, 2011
    Cowboy and Aliens is at the very least a typical summer action flick. The main problem I had with it is that it dragged out the film to an unnecessary point. Also the tone shifts in the movie got a little annoying. On the good side all the actors did a great job portraying there respectful characters. None of them were over the top. It is the essence of a popcorn flick, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Expand
  30. Jul 30, 2011
    I can't believe the mixed reviews from the critics! I think the critics were expecting a movie that would solve our our nations debt problems. What this movie did was not make us think about those problems. Gritty Westerns meets "Aliens" (maybe not as gory) this movie did it well enough that you will be thoroughly entertained. The movie was classic summer popcorn entertainment that blended two great summer movie genres; I mean come on I haven't seen combination like this in a long time.The casting was superb; Harrison Ford played a great villain that by the end of the movie I had huge respect. Of all the characters, I found him the most interesting to watch as his character develops through the story. Daniel Craig - mysterious, stoic, hard tough, kick ass hero - fun to watch. Don't take it super serious, and don't expect a killer blockbuster. Relax. Have fun and enjoy the actors. I don't give it higher than a 7 because the alien kidnapping humans genre we have all seen before; and it was somewhat predictable. Gritty Westerns where you can really see the age of the actors (and raw beauty) with grimy clothes that you can almost smell the grime through the screen is nothing new either. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the scenery. It is not a type of movie that will cause me to deeply reflect on life values or experiences. But if you want to escape into a Western story that is slightly different. Watch this movie. Expand
  31. Jul 30, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. First of all the alien abduction at the town was AWESOME! The entire first half of the film was actually very enjoyable! However after leaving the destroyed ship the film went downhill fast for me personally. The whole plot twist of the girl being some kind of weird alien race killed it. I like a movies story to make sense and hers just did not at all, maybe it should have been explained better. Then a few other issues like the Aliens being unstoppable all of a sudden die from headshots and spears and a 6 inch blade! Aside from that Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford did an amazing job together, I wouldnt say avoid this movie but it could have been sooo much better thats why it scores a 5. Expand
  32. Jul 29, 2011
    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.
  33. Jul 29, 2011
    It's a strange movie when you think about it, but that's why you should like it! I was very impressed by the first 40 minutes of this film, I might say that it's the best 40 minutes of any film this year, thus far. But once the Aliens came the film did what it should have avoided, began a very convoluted plot that not only confuses the audience but slightly angers them, or maybe that was just me. But Cowboys & Aliens really pulled it together in it final frames and I must respect this film for that very reason. I give the western part 10/10 and the Sci-Fi part 8/10 thus combining for a very respectable 9out of 10. Expand
  34. Jul 29, 2011
    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
  35. Jul 29, 2011
    Cowboys & Aliens is very entertaining. Is it art? No. It's just great commercial entertainment. It's an exciting, funny, scary way to spend a couple of hours. It's shot beautifully. The casting is first rate. The faces on the old west guys are worth the price of admission. It's not nearly as good a film as the first Alien movie, but it has a lot of the same scary/entertaining qualities. If you want to have a fun ride on a Friday night or Saturday afternoon this the movie to see. Should you see it now or wait until it's available to rent? See it in a theater. The sound and visual effects demand a big screen. You can rent it later. Because you'll want to see it again. Expand
  36. Jul 29, 2011
    If you're wondering if you should see this movie, think of the title. If you have any doubt or roll your eyes at the thought of the title, don't go see it. If you like the sound of the ridiculous notion of a movie that has cowboys and aliens, and you enjoy action and fun, you should enjoy it. It's a summer action popcorn flick, nothing more.

    Don't try to figure out historical accuracy,
    it's a movie with cowboys and aliens. Expand
  37. Jul 29, 2011
    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 an Oprah/Dr. Phil kind of way). Want a sci-fi/western mashup with cowboys and aliens done right? Go watch Firefly/Serenity. Expand
  38. Jul 29, 2011
    I really want to write a review for this movie because of such mixed reception.
    If you are able to just sit back, relax, and enjoy a film about Cowboys against Aliens, then you are certainly able to have a ton of fun watching this film. If you are a nosy critic who whines at every historical inaccuracy or takes a heavy sigh every time something doesn't appeal to an Oscar worthy taste, then
    this movie is DEFINITIVELY not for you. I for one, love adventure films and sci-fi films and a thought that Cowboys and Aliens blended the two together well. I had FUN, is what I'm saying. The battle scenes are plenty intense and the action heated up rather well towards the end. The characters in this picture, while thin, are still worth rooting for and each actor gives a solid performance.
    A few people have complained about the aliens, saying that they weren't engaging or interesting enough. I thought that they were rather unique. They were large and intimidating, yet speedy and frightening. If they had given the aliens more intelligence or character, it would've made the movie drawn out and tiring. I believe that they way they had kept it was good enough for the audience. Really, the main problem that I had with the film is that the dialogue tends to fall flat throughout the script. In fact, the whole script could have used another solid draft before making the final cut. The writers clearly have not seen enough "real" westerns like "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" and "True Grit" to know how to make a truly engaging environment. PLEASE don't take my review as "It was big, loud and dumb but I had FUN so go see it!" There are WAY too many movies like that around nowadays. I also think that the critic reviews were low because of the Christian elements in this film. The pastor character in this film speaks his mind throughout his performance and gives a strong impression to the other characters. This alone is probably why so many critics didn't like the general character interaction within the film. . I seriously thought that this movie had good content and action to compile a great film. But PLEASE don't go into the theater expecting an Oscar worthy spectacle of Cowboys fighting Aliens. With this attitude, you will be disappointed. This is a great film. You just have to have the right attitude going in.
    Thanks for reading!
    Follow me on Twitter @PaulCalebCanyon
  39. Jul 29, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. [Spoilers within...] I'm a big fan of westerns and of alien movies, but this particular combination of the two just didn't do it for me. What I like about westerns is feeling that hatred of the truly evil antagonist. Harrison Ford initially assumes that role, which is difficult because we identify with him as the good guy in so many films. He eventually redeems himself and makes the good guy conversion. The aliens are not bad enough to make you hate them like you normally would a Western baddie. They didn't engage me in the least. Not nearly as scary as the Alien creatures they looked a bit like. The use of Olivia Wilde was a little too "out there" for my liking. Her resurrection left my head spinning a bit. The movie has some serious pacing problems toward the middle stretch. And the "explosion" at the end - was that meant to look like another very famous explosion from about 1986?? And if so, I'm a little confused about the purpose. Anyway, I wanted to like this movie because Favreau is such a great movie guy and a solid director, but this material just didn't work. And Daniel Craig? Nope. Expand

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
    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
    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.