This week movie fans lined up around the corner of the Regal Cinema Winter Park to be the first to see “Cowboys and Aliens”. The film’s director Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”, “Iron Man 2”) mixes the classic western, and the ultimate sci- fi thriller together in one film. Daniel Craig stars as a rugged cowboy who awakes in 1875 to find himself alone in the New Mexico desert. He has a bad case of amnesia, with no idea who he is, where he came from or how he got there. The only clues as to where he has been are a strange wrist cuff on his arm, a gaping wound, and a photo of a beautiful woman. He surmise’s the photo meant something to him in his former life, but isn’t sure.
By chance a band of unscrupulous bounty hunters find him, but quickly lose their chance to cash in, as he knocks them off one by one. It becomes obvious that this man is one bad a** cowboy! He grabs their guns, wallets, and even their boots and heads off to find civilization and his past. The nearest town is a former mining town called “Absolution” . The town Preacher Meacham ( Clancy Brown) stitches up his unusual wound, and send him on his way. The town is silently run by land owner Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) and his obnoxious son Percy (Paul Dano). At first I could not escape Ford looking like Indiana Jones stepped into a western, but his character grew on me. From the very first scene Dano was solid in his role as Percy Dolarhyde the sniveling privileged son.
He heads to the saloon run by mild mannered Doc (Sam Rockwell), and his wife Maria (Ana De La Reguera). Later trouble shows up in the form of a beautiful, and mysterious woman Ella (Olivia Wilde). She seems to know something about the stranger. Wilde is solid in her role as Ella, but I couldn’t help thinking she had the same dress on as the female lizard in Rango. The town sheriff John Taggert (Keith Carradine) comes to call, and informs the stranger he is a wanted man named Jake Lonergan.
After he is arrested and thrown into jail things really get weird…Aliens attack! They swoop down and lasso humans to take back to the mother-ship in the desert. This new enemy forces unlikely alliances between bandits, cowboys, soldiers, Indians, and the law. Although it is rather ludicrous that the simple pistols of the old west could do much damage to the hi tech alien ships they do their best. I was also left wondering why they never thought to grab the alien weapons after some of them hit the ground. Another moment when the local Indians try to help his regain his memory reminded me of the classic film “A man called Horse”. Thankfully they didn’t hang him by his nipples in this film.
The Aliens themselves were extra creepy, and I jumped out of my seat on more than one occasion! This is NOT for kids folks! In fact at the Orlando screening I saw several young children being carted OUT of the theater by their parents. Their is one very disturbing scene where the aliens are performing experiments which is definitely a deal breaker for any family film. Older teens, and adults who appreciate a good scare, will probably enjoy all the creepy themes.
In all it was a pretty good movie, and an original concept which in this world of sequels is itself refreshing. Like many other critics have said, I would have liked to see a classic western, and skipped the aliens. that said the movie is still worth watching.
For a exciting action filled movie head out to see “Cowboys and Aliens”!
Opens in theaters TODAY Friday July 29th 2011
Check Local listings