Cowboys & Aliens

Rated 2.0

Once in a while, even the most tried and true narrative formula needs repackaging for retail-friendliness. Or so it must seem to those bottom-line minders who cut checks to Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. And so here we are in the Old West, but with space invaders. If this is not exactly what you expect from director Jon Favreau and an original movie-ready property by comic-book industrialist Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, it must be because you’re not sure who they are anyway. No matter. The stars look great, but unfortunately that’s no matter, either. What this lacks, aside from the better execution we’ve already seen more than once from Pixar, is an attitude of abandon. It doesn’t work as homage or satire or bravura B-movie romp, because it doesn’t seem to want to. It’s just a hooky premise in search of a paycheck, by way of checklisted multigenre clichés. Also with Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano and Abigail Spencer.