Saturday, January 28, 2012

Trolls and Aliens

Sometimes you go for new films on something of a whim, not really knowing if they will work for you or not, and thus sometimes the selections turn out to be not really what you wanted or to your taste. Thus it is with the latest two offerings, Troll Hunter and Cowboys and Aliens.

Having been impressed by many foreign language films, and not having any issue with subtitles, Troll Hunter was popped in the machine. Oh dear.  I had heard that it was a little like The Blair Witch Project in its conceit of presenting 'recovered' footage, but unfortunately this has resulted in a film which is almost unwatchable as the picture jumps and jounces all over the place.  After about 10 minutes I was feeling ill (I get motion sickness) and so had to give up on it.

We did zoom through the rest of the film to see how it developed and what we saw did not improve the opinion that this was a very very amateur hour production, nowhere near on the same par as Rare Exports, and really hardly worth bothering with.  I can't offer a full review as we didn't watch the full film, but it was disappointing.  The trolls look OK and reminded me of many book illstrations over the years, but the dreadful acting and rolling camera made this one very much a thumbs down for us.

Disappointed with Troll Hunter, we then turned to Cowboys and Aliens, hoping at least for a watchable film. Well, it is watchable, but someone involved with it forgot the 'and Aliens' bit and it concentrates way too much on the Cowboys and Indians ...

Daniel Craig is excellent as the loner Jake, and the rest of the cast is likewise pretty good, but it's a slow burn film, with lots of material which just drags.  I felt that the whole Harrison Ford and Son subplot could have been removed without hurting the main film at all, and it is way overlength at 119 minutes as well. If it was cut back to 90 minutes then it might be a much more interesting and exciting watch.

The basic plot is daft, a bunch of aliens arrive on Earth in 1873 in order to steal the gold from the ground (we don't know why) and a group of Cowboys and Indians, helped by another alien in the form of a beautiful woman (Olivia Wilde), have to send them packing.  Along the way the aliens kidnap loads of locals for no apparent reason - perhaps to experiment on them? - and leave them all standing in a room on their spaceship looking at the light. The aliens are fast moving insectoid things and are nicely designed, but there isn't much in the way of intelligence shown by them - which is odd given the high-tec of their ship, guns, gold collecting process and so on.  It's a very ragged film.

What should have been an action/adventure shoot em up with guns and lazers is instead a slow moving affair, with a fair degree of angst and a whole 'Indians don't get on with Cowboys but can work with them and respect them' subplot in there as well.

So a disappointing evening overall ... I hope the next ones we choose are better.

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