When Aliens ‘Attack’ And Fight ‘Cowboys’–LISTEN TO THE CRITIQUE
Olivia Wilde stars as an elusive traveler, and Daniel Craig plays a stranger with no memory of his past in the sci-fi WesternCowboys & Aliens.
The sci-fi Western Cowboys & Aliens has something for everyone, and not enough for anyone. I couldn’t help thinking of the missed opportunities to play with two such disparate American genres. That said, Jon Favreau is a crafty director; he adds suspense to a bland story by withholding all the pertinent details, keeping us in a happy state of anticipation.
It starts with a start. Rugged, blue-eyed Daniel Craig wakes up in the desert with a wound in his side, a metallic bracelet on his wrist, and no memory, though he has super fighting skills. He’s haunted, but by what? He walks through the swinging doors of a saloon in a failed gold-mining town and drinks to ease the pain. But being a Western hero, he’s soon punching out rich bully Paul Dano who’s beating up mousy saloonkeeper Sam Rockwell. Then Dano’s daddy, a baleful Harrison Ford, shows up with his men and it looks like there’ll be shooting until — what the heck? The camera makes like Spielberg’s, tracking in on characters gazing at a glow on the horizon that turns out to be little ships that whiz in and snatch up screaming earthlings.
No spoilers, folks. But Cowboys & Aliens pulls off a neat sleight of hand. It makes all earthlings equivalent to Native Americans in revisionist Westerns, underdogs fighting against imperialist invaders. Nothing brings people together like aliens: The outlaw, the greedy capitalist boss, and even the Native American chief are now on the same side.