Jon Favreau and Roberto Orci were on hand to debut about nine minutes of brand new Cowboys and Aliens footage, including the big alien money shot. So what did they look like, read our description now!
The first scene opens with Daniel Craig busting into a seemingly empty home. Craig is bleeding through his clothes and starts to wash up but is interrupted by a gun cocked to the back of his head. "Palms to the Heaven, friend," says Clancy Brown! Naturally, Clancy is pissed that Craig is in his house, and carts him off to prison.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Boss Man Harrison Ford has one of his farm hands strung up, Hitcher-style, to two horses. The man is being accused of blowing up all of Harrison Ford's cows, and now he's going to pay. No one believes the man's story that a bright light blasted out of the sky and killed all of the cows. Ford accuses the man of being sick, but in an act of mercy he unties the man's arms and slaps the horse off. This way the guy will just be dragged to his death, instead of pulled apart by horses. (Sidenote: can horses really pull a man apart?)
Then Ford is told that Craig's character, Jake, is in prison. He takes off, seemingly to go get Craig. He rides into town right about the time the aliens attack the little one-horse town. Which you've seen in the trailer:
But what you didn't see was the townspeople's reaction. We finally got to see Sam Rockwell as the saloon owner with the stereotypical mustache, spectacles and apron, and the rest of the town's Western caricatures. Come to think of it, a lot of the characters in this film are really caricatures, The Preacher (Clancy), the man in the black hat (Daniel Craig), the Big Boss (Harrison Ford), the spoiled rich kid with the fancy suits (Paul Dano), the wide-eyed little boy (Noah Ringer). Anyway, after Craig downs the space ship with his alien tech bracelet, The Preacher starts calling the big metal pods in the sky "Demons." And there's a bit of back and forth about religion.
Ford and Craig strike up an uneasy balance, and then stare at each other for what seems like five minutes. Seriously this film can blow up the whole of New Mexico but the sparks can't hold a candle to the steely gazes these two exchange.
Then the sizzle reel started up, and things started moving much faster. Olivia Wilde is clearly the mysterious brains of the operation, and is instructing Craig on what to do when dealing with the alien foe. One of the rules: Don't look into the light. He looks into the light, naturally, and is dumbstruck and the Tron hottie has to bust open the alien beam, shattering the connection. Another quick cut revealed some sort of dark pod area with townsfolk huddled around (could these be the people that were abducted in the trailer?).
But let's get to the money shot. All we've seen of the aliens thus far in the trailers are their ships, which look like metal centipedes, and the random tentacle that sucks up townsfolk into their ships. In this super fast scene, Noah Ringer is hiding in the rocks of a clip, his back to the wall. The camera goes into his POV and a giant turtle-headed creature jumps into the cave's opening. Dark, possibly scaly, big, and aggressive. It was very fast, but menacing. Not sure what the full body looks like, since we only saw the head, but it appeared to be scary.
Another big stand out from the screening was the score. Holy hell is this music channeling old school Westerns hard. We half expected a chorus of cowboys to pop up with all the vocal ooohs and aahhhs going on and hard harmonica-esque riffs. But we're not complaining — it totally fits in with the hard Western shtick that this movie is channeling.
This movie is going to live and die on its Western verisimilitude. It seems like the film-makers went full bore with all the Western motifs, quips and characters. Their dedication to this genre will either pay off tremendously or backfire horribly. With actors like Craig, Ford and Rockwell and Walton Goggins, you'd think they could do no wrong. But a few dialog bits in the footage made us a little bit cautious. The banter (specifically with Sam Rockwell's scene) felt a little improv-heavy. Like Iron Man 2. But then again, we only saw the tiniest bit of dialog. And everything Craig and Ford was spot on. So perhaps we're just nervous that the drama won't be able to live up to the excellent action.
And finally, don't hold your breath for the Favreau cameo in Cowboys & Aliens — after Family Guy made fun of him Fav admitted to the crowd that he probably won't be doing any cameos for a little while.