Comic-Con Sees ‘Cowboys & Aliens': A Solid Action Movie, From Head to Tentacle

After months of campaigning for his offbeat sci-fi-Western, a nervous Favreau presents his movie to a key constituency. The general opinion: It does the job

Last Updated: July 25, 2011 @ 12:07 PM

"These are real people who've been working really hard on this, and they're on pins and needles waiting to find out what you think," said "Cowboys & Aliens" director Jon Favreau, introducing his movie's star-studded cast to Comic-Con Saturday.

Speak for yourself, Jon.

Certainly, Favreau has been in pins and needles for the better part of the last year, first hitting the moviegoer campaign trail for his offbeat "sci-fi Western" more than six months ago.

See all TheWrap's Comic-Con coverage here.

But if Saturday's San Diego Civic Theatre reception by his film's most key constituency is any indicator, he doesn't have to worry about the movie bombing when it debuts on Friday.

For the premiere, Favreau presented a screening almost as big and bombastic as the movie itself, invading the Civic Theatre with a horde that included Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard.

"In case you don't like the movie, I'm gonna say that this is how you felt about the film," Favreau said in reaction to the thunderous applause that greeted him, before dragging the aforementioned assemblage onto the stage and launching into a heartfelt assessment of the evening.

The results of their collective labor, "Cowboys & Aliens," is pretty much summed up by the title — despite its fantastical premise, this is an action flick, from head to tentacle.

Based on the 2006 graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, the film (out July 29) stars Daniel Craig as Jake Lonegan, a robber with a past that's an enigma even to him, following an alien abduction that leaves him with a fuzzy memory and a mysterious bracelet on his wrist.

After waking up and stumbling into a nearly-abandoned mining town, he finds himself joining with the local townsfolk to fend off an invasion of aliens intent on blowing the place up and abducting its remaining citizenry — "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" meets "Independence Day," in a nutshell.

It's not a film that will be lauded for its emotional complexity. But it does offer wall-to-wall action — the first five minutes deliver a shooting, a stabbing and a face-pummeling.

And it would be a visual feast even without the presence of Olivia Wilde, full of explosions and oozing ectoplasm dripping from wounded aliens. And Harrison Ford's portrayal of menacing cattleman Woodrow Dolarhyde is particularly engaging.

Not entirely out of this world, "Cowboys & Aliens" is nonetheless right on target when it comes to delivering the thrills.