Only Director Jon Favreau could possibly bring this unique, yet odd and suspenseful, science fiction graphic novel to the big screen. With an all-star cast including Harrison Ford (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark), Daniel Craig (Layer Cake, Casino Royale) and Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy, House), it is like pure magic when seeing these actors blend into their characters’ so naturally. While fun and entertaining, the real achievement that Favreau has done here is that he focuses more on the characters involvement in the storyline than actually the over-the-top special effects aspect; which many directors these days seem to be fixated on. An achievement to say the least and a fun film to watch as the summer continues.
This interesting story begins in 1873 Arizona where we are quickly introduced to a loner (Daniel Craig) who awakens to find a strange device attached to his left wrist, but what is worse than that is he has no memory of who he is and how he got there. This loner enters a town called Absolution, New Mexico where he is quickly recognized by the local sheriff in a saloon who informs him of his name, which is Jake Lonergan. After this quick bit of information, it turns out that Jake is a wanted outlaw who the sheriff has been searching for and attempts to subdue Jake once and for all. However, a woman named Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde) manages to knock out Jake and leaves him to the sheriff.
Just after this confrontation, a wealthy cattleman named Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) enters town and demands his son Percy (Paul Dano), who Jake earlier subdues, be released to him. As this heated stand-off continues, out of nowhere alien spaceships begin to attack the town and abduct numerous people, including Dolarhyds’s son. As this invasion seems never-ending, Jake fires at one of the ships using the device on his wrist which causes the aliens to retreat from the town.
After this incident, members of the town, including Ella and Woodrow, go in search of an alien they believe had escaped from the attacked spaceship. Meanwhile, Jake ventures to a cabin where he strangely has a flashback of him and a woman in that same cabin hiding away some gold and being abducted by the aliens. Now reunited with the group, they are attacked by the loner alien and things get even worse when Jake’s old gang comes into play. It turns out Jake turned on his gang, or so they think, with a large pocket of gold stolen from Woodrow and they want revenge on Jake and anyone who is around him.
Much is explained about the true intention of Ella, who is captured by the aliens and at first appears to be dead but a shocking twist unfolds before everyone’s eyes. As for Jake, his purpose may be to become the aliens puppet, but he soon reunites with his fellow human beings and prepares for a battle between these cowboys and aliens.
Very quickly does this film turn from ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ into ‘Cowboys vs. Aliens’ as the final scenes depict a thrilling battle to protect the Old West from these alien invaders. With an incredible screenplay from Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men, Iron Man), ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ has something very appealing to it and it’s the type of film that succeeds in combining two unorthodox ideas in one. This film is definitely worth the watch and it is an amusing adventure to say the least.
(‘Cowboys & Aliens’ is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of western and sci-fi action and violence, some partial nudity and a brief crude reference).
This film can be seen at Newark Screens (click here) and at other local AMC Theaters locations’ (click here).
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