The Old West.. where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a terror from beyond our world. 1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don't welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). It's a town that lives in fear. But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he's been, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a fighting chance against the alien force. With the help of the elusive traveler Ella (Olivia Wilde), he pulls together a posse comprised of former opponents-townsfolk, Dolarhyde and his boys, outlaws and Apache warriors-all in danger of annihilation. United against a common enemy, they will prepare for an epic showdown for survival.
NOTE: The expiration date for Digital copy is extended to May 02, 2016
Cowboys & Aliens fuses rip-snortin' horse opera with some whiz-bang sci-fi, melding dry and austere badlands with slimy, mucusy aliens. Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig, of James Bond fame) wakes up in the midst of sagebrush with a mysterious gadget around his wrist and no idea who he is--but he sure does remember how to take care of the bounty hunters who want to bring him in. His path soon crosses with a ruthless cattle baron named Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford, of Indiana Jones fame), who's not too happy with Lonergan, who got Dolarhyde's son in trouble. But their fracas becomes beside the point when spaceships descend and start lassoing people like cattle. The humans, including a mysterious woman (Olivia Wilde, Tron), a Native American tribe, and some snaggletoothed outlaws, band together to fight off this invasion from another world. The first two-thirds of Cowboys & Aliens is peppy fun, with its tongue-in-cheek Wild West-ness and colorful supporting cast (including Sam Rockwell, Keith Carradine, Paul Dano, and Walton Goggins) and fairly understated CGI. The last third, with the obligatory assault on the alien vessel and a mess of clichés and inconsistencies, deflates a bit, which isn't surprising given that six screenwriters were involved. Director Jon Favreau (Iron Man) does what he can to keep things lively. Fortunately, the good spirits of the first two-thirds will carry most viewers through to the end. --Bret Fetzer
Stills from Cowboys & Aliens (Click for larger image)