PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):
In 1873 Arizona, a loner named Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) awakens with no memory of his past and a mysterious shackle around his wrist. He enters the town of Absolution where he learns that he is a notorious criminal wanted by many people, including Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford), who rules the town with an iron fist. Absolution soon faces an even greater threat when alien spaceships attack the town. While his shackle holds the key to defeating the aliens, Lonergan must ally with Dolarhyde and other former enemies to make a stand against them.
It is eventually revealed that Ella (Olivia Wilde), a mysterious woman Lonergan has fallen in love with, is an alien warrior who was sent to Earth to help resist the invaders because they destroyed her homeworld. She explains that the aliens are a group of lowly space pirates, though very technologically advanced by Earth standards, who value our gold and wish to exterminate humanity to take it. However the alien pirates are not invulnerable: Lonergan’s gauntlet weapon can kill them, and stabbing them or shooting them can as well, though they are far stronger and better armed than any humans.
Armed with this knowledge the group, now led by Colonel Dolarhyde and including a group of Indians whose families were kidnapped by the space pirates, attack their grounded mothership. In a sneak attack they destroy the alien speeders, forcing the space pirates to fight them on the ground where they are eventually, after a prolonged battle, defeated. The remaining alien pirates attempt to flee in their damaged mothership but Ella sacrifices herself to detonate the ship’s engine core with Lonergan’s gauntlet.
Lonergan, now somewhat able to recall his past, leaves the town, now with Colonel Dolarhyde, a changed man due to the incident, in charge.
For those of you that keep up with this blog, then you are more than aware that two of my favorite genres are westerns and sci-fi, so when a picture comes along called Cowboys & Aliens, you can all but imagine my overabundance of joy.
The mixture of genres, surprisingly, has not been done…as far as I know, up to now, but for some reason, I believe we’ll be seeing more in the future.
Cowboys & Aliens is based on a cult comic. I have never read the comic, so I can’t rightly say that this is a loose or accurate interpretation of the source material, but judging by how well Jon Favreau did with bringing a faithful interpretation of Iron Man from the comic book pages to the big screen.
The plot of this picture takes us along for the ride with Jake Lonergan who wakes up in the middle of the western desert with no memory of who he is and a highly advanced technological something or other on his arm, upon making it to town, Jake learns that he is a wanted man.
Just as the Federal Marshall is about to take him and another prisoner away, here come the aliens. You’ve all seen this scene before.
Following the attack, the major characters and some others trek into the woods to track don the aliens and stop them. While out there, they meet up with some Apache indians and learn of Ellen’s secret, not to mention setup for the final confrontation with the aliens.
A lot of people hear the title to this film and assume it is going to be something like Mars Attacks, but that is not the case. As a matter of fact, they actually play it straight.
I don’t really know why with a cast that includes Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, and Daniel Craig, I expected some light moments, but I did. I wasn’t really disappointed that they were few and fast between, but it would have breathed a different bit of life into the film.
The aliens aren’t going to go down in history as the best looking or smarted we’ve ever seen, but they were pretty good. I was reminded of the aliens from the Alien franchise when I saw them.
I can’t say that I cared much for the pacing of this film. It was very old school in its development early on, just like an old western. However, you’d think they’d have been able to come up with something more interesting. Maybe it’s just me, though.
This is another one of those pictures that has caused a disconnect between the casual viewer and the critic. The critics have been doing nothing short of ripping this one apart. The casual viewer, however, has been thoroughly enjoying it, as have I. Sure, there are moments here and there that should have been tuned up a bit more ,but overall this is a very enjoyable summer blockbuster. I highly recommend it !
4 out of 5 stars