What you get when you replace the Red Indians or Native Americans as the villains in a cowboy western movie with aliens. And the villains are super strong, highly advanced, nasty as hell and totally out of this world. Cowboys & Aliens is a Jon Favreau directed movie starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde. Based on a 2006 graphic novel of the same name created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, the plot revolves around a man who has amnesia after the effects of being captured by hostile aliens and has to help save the town with the help of a motley crew gang led by a rich cattleman & an alien traveler who has taken human form.
Produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Kurtzman, Lindelof, Orci, and Rosenberg, with Steven Spielberg serving as executive producer the movie does a good job of creating that isolated frontier appeal that most western movies served for us but falls short of being a truly memorable outing. The alien villains, although fascinating in their at first seemingly almost super strong physique and quick movements, are once again one-dimensional in their quest for all the gold on earth and seemingly without any emotion and almost robotic as is the case of most of the new alien-invasion movies of late. I’m not sure I like this trend; it leaves no room for character development amongst te villains and hence they are not memorable as are the movies.
Anyways, I do like the film and Favreau’s attempt to bring the novel to life on the big screen.
- Daniel Craig plays Jake Lonergan, an outlaw who was captured by the aliens along with his lover and several others. He was the only one who escaped while being experimented on and lost his memory. Jake managed to get his hands on on a gauntlet, a powerful weapon that the aliens use but his lover, played by Abigail Spencer, is killed just before he escapes. He comes to the town and although initially hostile towards him he leads the men to fight the aliens and save their town and perhaps the Earth.
- Harrison Ford plays Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde, a rich & influential cattleman. He has a moronic & useless son and runs his business with an iron hand. As his son is abducted by the aliens, he brings his posse along with Jake to find their hideout and free his son.
- Olivia Wilde plays the mysterious alien who has taken up human form. She reveals herself to be an alien who traveled to Earth to help resist the invaders after they destroyed her homeworld and tells them that the aliens are after the gold which they covet. She knows how to destroy the alien’s motheship, which is mostly buried underground and will help the humans to fight them off. She is killed in the explosion she sets off to destroy the alien ship.
- Adam Beach plays Nat Colorado a native American who is the right hand man of Dolaryde and treats him like a father. Dolarhyde is deeply affected when Nat is killed while fighting the aliens.
- Sam Rockwell plays Doc who owns & runs the local bar. He joins the group as his wife is abducted by the aliens.
The movie also stars Keith Carradine, Clancy Brown & Ana de la Reguera as well as Raoul Trujillo as the chief of the Indian tribe. I thought most of the cast did bang up jobs in their respective roles but the movie still falls short overall. I’d give it a 7 outta 10!