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Saddles and spaceships

On paper, mixing the two genres of the Western and alien invasion movies is a great idea. On celluloid (and in DVD) it's a smashing idea. The last time the twain had kind of met was in the 1973 Michael Crichton written-directed sci-fi thriller Westworld where Yul Brynner plays a robot gun-slinger in a Wild West-themed amusement park in the future.

hollywood Updated: Mar 03, 2012 01:02 IST

Cowboys & Aliens
Dreamworks/Reliance Home Video, Rs 599
Rating:****


On paper, mixing the two genres of the Western and alien invasion movies is a great idea. On celluloid (and in DVD) it's a smashing idea. The last time the twain had kind of met was in the 1973 Michael Crichton written-directed sci-fi thriller Westworld where Yul Brynner plays a robot gun-slinger in a Wild West-themed amusement park in the future. But in Jon Favreu's Cowboys & Aliens, the mash-up is seamless and to much greater effect.

Based on the 2006 graphic novel of the same name by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, the film flip things around and take us to the past where aliens attack a one-bar saloon town. Daniel Craig is most compelling as an amnesiac outlaw who finds himself in the desert with a metallic bracelet round his wrist.

Craig follows the very-little-talking Clint Eastwood character of Sergio Leone's spaghetti Westerns and his chiselled chin-ness adds to the appeal of this saviour-to-be. Joining forces with him is the brutal cattleman and ex-colonel played with scowly aplomb by Harrison Ford. Their common enemy is, of course, the band of marauding aliens reminiscent of the variety that we are familiar with from the Predator movies. The visual splendour of watching classic tropes from Westerns (horses, fights with Indians, bar room brawls) with alien movies (swooping spacecrafts, bright light abductions, labyrinthine mothership) is fantastic. And there's a twist in the tale when it comes to a damsel in distress.

A must watch for those who love Westerns, sci-fis or Daniel Craig.