Cowboys and Aliens (12A)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde
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The Independent Culture

Non-aligned viewers may just wonder at the extreme silliness of it.

Daniel Craig stars as an amnesiac outlaw who falls to earth, wearing a chunky metal bracelet on his wrist that's plainly not manmade. It's 1875, and the town of Absolution is under attack from weird flying abductors, so the local cattle baron (Harrison Ford) rounds up a posse, including Craig, to chase them down and rescue the various townsfolk who've been kidnapped. Some of the roles are generic nods – the kid, the adopted Indian, the saloon-keeper, the sheriff (brilliant Keith Carradine) – and some, such as the willowy, almond-eyed Olivia Wilde, are from nowhere you could possibly conceive. The last third involves an emergency coalition of groups – Apaches, outlaw thugs, decent townsfolk – fighting to save the West from, well, slimy-clawed thingummies. (They quite put me off the squid I ordered for lunch). Jon Favreau (Iron Man) handles the big setpieces with competence if no great flair; whenever the plot backs itself into a corner something else will make a sudden, inexplicable interruption. The influence of Spielberg, an executive producer here, is obvious, but his borrowed magic has much less clout than it did on Super 8.