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COWBOYS AND ALIENS. Jon Favreau, dir., exec. prod. (one of a number of credited producers, including Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard). Roberto Orci et al., screenplay. Steven Oedekerk, screen story, along with Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, screen story and among those writing the screenplay. Mitchell Rosenberg, comic book, producer. USA: Universal, DreamWorks, Reliance "presents," then Imagine et al. (prod.) / Universal Pictures (US dist.), 2011. Matthew Libatique, cinematographer. Scott Chambliss, prod. design. Christopher Burian-Mohr and Daniel T. Dorrance, art direction. (See IMDb for highly complex filmographic details).

Cowboy/Alien-abduction movie, with alien-invasion threatened. Relevant here for the images of SF elements, plus some SF motifs, in a self-consciously classic classic Western. Note Industrial-style high-tech weapons bracelet on hero, and hero in threatening containment inside some sort of scanning device (the abductees are scientifically tortured to discover human weaknesses). The "Alien" here probably should be capitalized to ensure the allusion to H. R. Giger's Alien design, except these Aliens are more biological, in the tradition of the Bugs of STARSHIP TROOPERS, with a bit of TOTAL RECALL. Alien ships look somewhat like a once-famously unsuccessful aircraft design with multiple wings, but move — significantly — in ways that may suggest to some viewers insects. Also picked up is the motif of Alien artifacts sometimes liminal between the Industrial-mechanical and the biological, with some crystal imagery thrown in. Significant also is the Alien ship in the deserts of New Mexico (or California): the ship is architecturally appropriate to its environment, which is of the Monument-Valley school of impressive desert with phallic rock formations, though without sexual connotations for audience members who aren't ultra-orthodox Freudians.

5. DRAMA, RDE, 29/VII/11