ACTION; 1hr 59min
STARRING: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde
Alien culture: from left, Ford and Craig
With heavy-hitter producers — DreamWorks, Universal, Imagine… — throwing their hats into its ring, Cowboys & Aliens has serious money behind it. Adapted from the 2006 Platinum Studios graphic novel, the concept is a hybrid oddball: in 1857, leathery, shot-up, amnesiac Jake Lonergan (Craig) arrives in the New Mexico town of Absolution to find it one notch up from hell on Earth under the gnarly thumb of one Woodrow Dolarhyde (Ford). Jake wears a chunky electronic bracelet, which for sure didn’t exit back then, but proves mighty useful in fighting off body-snatching alien spacecraft.
Apparently Jake is a criminal, wanted for a slew of bad deeds. That pales into insignificance in the light of the rabidly hostile ETs who make unlikely allies of men (and one woman: Wilde joins the posse as an otherworldly cowgirl) with nothing but survival in common. It’s as crazy as a jar of bedbugs, but the mishmash takes shape as an almighty fight to the finish that tests the mettle of everyone involved. The jazzy look is all Hollywood and the marriage of opposites all heart. Giddy-up! Even at its wildest, the West never staged a show like this.