My Favourite Movies: Cowboys & Aliens
Mixing genres, especially those as seemingly different as the western and science fiction, is difficult to pull off convincingly. Fortunately here we have an example that worked rather well.
It all starts with in the middle of scrubland when Daniel Craig suddenly wakes after what looked like a particularly bad dream. He’s alone, unarmed and has apparently been shot but can’t remember how he got there or, indeed, who he is. Almost before he’s got a moment to think he’s surrounded by three Indian hunters who think he might be a prisoner on the run – especially as he has ‘iron’ on one of his wrists. Big mistake – for the three would-be bounty hunters. Now dressed and armed the cowboy without a name or a memory rides into the nearest town where he is recognised as outlaw Jake Lonergan and is almost immediately arrested. Before he can be transported to the nearest judge the town is attacked, from the air, by things no one has ever seen before – flying vehicles that pluck people from the ground and disappear into the darkness. Only Lonergan manages to shoot one of them down when he discovers that the ‘iron’ on his wrist is in fact some kind of weapon. Riding in pursuit of their abducted town folk Lonergan joins forces with local cattle Baron Colonel Dolarhyde (played rather badly by Harrison Ford) and the mysterious female gunslinger Ella Swenson (played by the very beautiful Olivia Wilde). But in order to defeat an enemy literally light-years ahead of them they need to put old enmities to one side and join forces with local Indians and with Jake’s old gang. For if the aliens succeed here they’ll be back in force and then no one will be safe!