Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford star in this action-packed sci-fi western from the director of Iron Man (Jon Favreau) that critics call “wickedly original, unlike anything you’ve ever seen” (Jake Hamilton, Fox-TV Houston, TX). A stranger (Craig) stumbles into the desert town of Absolution with no memory of his past and a futuristic shackle around his wrist. With the help of mysterious beauty Ella (Olivia Wilde) and the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford), he finds himself leading an unlikely posse of cowboys, outlaws, and Apache warriors against a common enemy from beyond this world in an epic showdown for survival.
Cowboys & Aliens fuses rip-snortin' horse opera with some whiz-bang sci-fi, melding dry and austere badlands with slimy, mucusy aliens. Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig, of James Bond fame) wakes up in the midst of sagebrush with a mysterious gadget around his wrist and no idea who he is--but he sure does remember how to take care of the bounty hunters who want to bring him in. His path soon crosses with a ruthless cattle baron named Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford, of Indiana Jones fame), who's not too happy with Lonergan, who got Dolarhyde's son in trouble. But their fracas becomes beside the point when spaceships descend and start lassoing people like cattle. The humans, including a mysterious woman (Olivia Wilde, Tron), a Native American tribe, and some snaggletoothed outlaws, band together to fight off this invasion from another world. The first two-thirds of Cowboys & Aliens is peppy fun, with its tongue-in-cheek Wild West-ness and colorful supporting cast (including Sam Rockwell, Keith Carradine, Paul Dano, and Walton Goggins) and fairly understated CGI. The last third, with the obligatory assault on the alien vessel and a mess of clichés and inconsistencies, deflates a bit, which isn't surprising given that six screenwriters were involved. Director Jon Favreau (Iron Man) does what he can to keep things lively. Fortunately, the good spirits of the first two-thirds will carry most viewers through to the end. --Bret Fetzer
Stills from Cowboys & Aliens(Click for larger image)
Finding the Story The Scope of the Spectacle Feature Commentary with Director Jon Favreau