The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
As its title indicates, this is a strange cross of movie genres, and lest any viewers get antsy, it doesn't allow much time to pass before we first encounter UFOs in the Old West. The film takes its time unraveling the rest of the story...
Over on the aliens side, it's hard to make out faces, but there's no doubt about their place of origin: These slimy, growling, bug-eyed and distinctly non-scary things are straight from central casting.
Favreau's film doesn't take any risks, reducing the stakes to the point where the movie descends quickly from its fun exposition to a collection of meaningless explosions and predictable action sequences.
[Favreau] wavers uncertainly between goofy pastiche and seriousness in a movie that wastes its title and misses the opportunity to play with, you know, ideas about the western and science-fiction horror.
The filmmakers here (who include director Jon Favreau (Iron Man), five credited writers, and countless special-effects technicians) don't seem to have agreed on whether they're paying homage to these genres or mocking them.
Aside from the idea of mixing two well-loved genres, there is not a single original thought. The creators seem to have turned off their creative juices after identifying as many genre set pieces as possible.
The movie never makes much of a case for its own existence; it's a mediocre western clumsily welded to a mediocre alien shoot-'em-up, and if you allow yourself to think about its treatment of history for as long as one second, you'll feel insulted.
You want cowboys and aliens in the same movie? This one's for you. If you want anything beyond what the title promises, look elsewhere. And that means even anything resembling a clever mash-up of established genres.
It really is "Aliens'' on the open plains, "Independence Day'' for the nation's centennial, and what the movie lacks in originality and stick-to-your-ribs Western authenticity, it makes up for in pell-mell multiplex entertainment.
Cowboys & Aliens is one of the silliest movies ever made, but so many otherwise serious people have attached their names to it that, as Arthur Miller wrote in Death of a Salesman, attention must be paid.