Cowboys & Aliens
Release year: 2011
Director: Jon Favreau
Screenwriter: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtszman, Damon Lindelof, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Scott Mitchell Rosenberg (comic book)
Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Paul Dano, Sam Rockwell, Adam Beach, Clancy Brown, Abigail Spencer
A cowboy (Daniel Craig) wakes up in Arizona,1873, with no memory of who he is or how he got where he is. On his wrist is a mysterious shackle which turns out to be useful, when the nearby town he wanders into is attacked by aliens. Together with Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) and the beautiful Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde) he tries to uncover his past to perhaps find the key to survive the attacks.
After Iron Man (2008) and Iron Man 2 (2011) Jon Favreau directed this mix-up between a Sci-Fi action and a Western. Mixing up two as different genres as Western and Sci-Fi can go both ways, either towards complete catastrophe (some would say the 1999 attempt to mix them with Wild Wild West is a perfect example of this), or it can go the same way as Favreau’s example and become two hours of high octan top class entertainment. Taking a break from playing Bond, Craig (Skyfall, 2012) looks at home in cowboy outfit opposite Ford (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981), clearly enjoying playing grumpy. The two male leads drive the story forward to a tense climax while a stunning Wilde (Rush, 2013) rides besides them as the more and more mysterious female companion. Favreau balance the wild west element perfectly with the Sci-Fi and the result is a very fine Western, that just happens to have aliens in it.
Director Jon Favreau was constantly harassed with demands to shoot/convert the film in 3-D, but he held his ground, claiming Westerns should only be shot on film.