‘Cowboys & Aliens’ … Guns, saloons and tractor-beam rays. In Cowboys & Aliens, Daniel Craig (Quantum of Solace) portrays a John Doe cowboy with no memory of his past or the advanced alien weapon attached to his wrist. Along with army Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde, played by Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones) and Ella, a barmaid played by Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy), these pioneers take up their revolvers and rifles in order to resist the invading alien force.
Now here’s a twist you don’t see every day: quick-drawing cowboys of the Wild West up against an invasion by an advanced extraterrestrial race. Cowboys & Aliens is based on the 2006 graphic novel of the same name created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg.
It’s the year 1873 and it all goes down in the hot desert plains of Arizona in the USA. Craig’s character is the lonely drifter Jake Lonergan and when he rides into the town of Absolution, he starts to find out who he is; and it turns out he’s a dangerous, wanted criminal.
That’s about the time that the massive alien spaceships drop into town. But Lonergan’s odd shackle holds the key to defeating the outer-space creatures. Although there was constant pressure for the film to be shot/converted to 3-D, director Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Iron Man 2) stood his ground, saying that Westerns should only be shot on regular film. Thank goodness for that.
The acting and directing are good, but not quite fabulous. The story is interesting, sort of like a Jason Bourne meets Gunsmoke and Star Trek, but without the chase scenes through Paris in a Mini Cooper. Craig makes a cool cowboy, Ford seems to be rejuvenated and Wilde is a consummate sex kitten who is almost believable as an actress. All in all, a good romp.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes ‘featurette’:
The main cast and their roles:
Daniel Craig as Jake Lonergan
Harrison Ford as Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde
Olivia Wilde as Ella Swenson, an elusive traveler
Sam Rockwell as Doc, a Saloon owner in Absolution
Noah Ringer as Emmett Taggart, grandson of John Taggart
Paul Dano as Percy Dolarhyde, Woodrow’s cowardly son
Clancy Brown as Meacham, a plain-spoken preacher
Keith Carradine as Sheriff John Taggart
Adam Beach as Nat Colorado, Colonel Dolayhyde’s right-hand man
Abigail Spencer as Alice, Jake’s lost love
Ana de la Reguera as María, Doc’s wife
Walton Goggins as Hunt, a bandit
Julio Cesar Cedillo as Bronc, a bandit
David O’Hara as Pat Dolan, Lonergan’s former gang-member
Raoul Trujillo as Chiricahua Apache chief, Black Knife
Brendan Wayne as Deputy Lyle
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