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'Cowboys & Aliens' hosts a genre marriage [Trailer]

April 15, 2011 |  2:41 pm

There's a quiet, almost soulful moment at the beginning of the new trailer for "Cowboys & Aliens," when an amnesiac Daniel Craig has dropped in from another world, that suggests an intimacy you don't often find in summer-blockbuster filmmaking. It's not long before it gives way to the necessary quick-cut explosions. In-between, at least, we do get glimpses of a story, which apparently has to do with Harrison Ford's character's family being kidnapped by the aliens and Olivia Wilde's character fearing what the interplanetary interlopers will do to her people, challenges Craig's Jake Lonergan is tasked with when he's not trying to remember who he is.

It's still too soon to tell if the mash-up of westerns and science-fiction conventions will come off as interesting  or incongruous.  What does emerge from the trailer is that the movie doesn't skimp on the western atmosphere — something we suspect will play a lot better in a post-"True Grit" world — and that there isn't as much humor in Jon Favreau's July release as there was in the director's "Iron Man" movies. Still, the western cliche of a horse chase is nicely subverted with pursuit from an alien craft, and at the end there's even a nod to Ford's Indiana Jones shoot-the-swordsman moment from "Raiders of the Lost Ark," when Craig one-ups bad guys with a more sophisticated weapon.


— Steven Zeitchik



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