Close Encounters of the Cowboy Kind
Cowboys and Aliens (2011) Director: Jon Favreau Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde Rating: PG-13 for old west violence and scary space aliens
Pop quiz, hotshot…
You invite a friend over to watch a DVD. He’s in the mood for an action packed sci fi movie, and you want to watch a classic shoot em up western.
What do you do? What DO you do?
I say ask your friend to leave! It’s not like he was going to contribute anything to your evening. Would it have killed him to stop off at the 7-11 for a bag of chips or an assortment of snack cakes? And he goes through your stuff when you’re in the bathroom. I’m serious! Don’t ask me how I know, I know!
But, if you insist on letting this snooping deadbeat (who is NOT your friend) stay, might I suggest you watch a movie you both will agree upon like Cowboys and Aliens, a sci fi western with scary creatures from outer space and gunslingers galore!
On a typical day in the wild wild west, a man (current 007 Daniel Craig) awakens in the Arizona desert with no memory of who he is or what has happened to him, which is not out of the ordinary for anyone who has spent an extended period of time in Arizona. The only clue he has to go on is a strange metal bracelet on his left wrist which looks like any other piece of southwestern jewelry except it doesn’t have all that damn turquoise on it.
The man moseys into a nearby town of Absolution where he is identified by the Sherriff as Jake Lonergan, a local outlaw who robs cattle and rustles banks or whatever outlaws did for kicks in 1873 (I’m not much of a history buff). His presence also attracts the attention of a local hot girl named Ella who is played by Olivia Wilde, a stunningly beautiful woman whose slinky grace and almond shaped eyes has me firmly convinced one of her parents is a Siamese cat.
Absolution is under the thumb of greedy cattle baron Woodrow Dolarhyde (a grizzled Harrison Ford) who storms into town with his crew demanding the release of his drunken idiot son from jail. Unfortunately, Dolarhyde’s fun is interrupted by a squadron of alien spaceships who blow up half the town and carry off several townspeople, including his drunken idiot son.
Lonergan, Dolarhyde, hot girl, and a bunch of western character actors set out to rescue their kin and to make the desert safe for outlaws and bandits again. There are some creepy encounters with the CG aliens who are neither friendly to nor charmed by 19th century humans who only bathe when the seasons change. Along the way Lonergan begins to piece together what happened to him (hint: his bracelet aint jewelry), Olivia Wilde reveals why she’s the only hot girl in the entire southwest, and Dolarhyde bores everyone with stories about archeology and Nazis.
During the films climax which features a fierce battle between humans on horseback and aliens in their towering mothership, we learn the space creatures are here mining for gold. It’s never explained why they are doing this, but I assume the gold will be brought back to their home planet and processed into quality rings and necklaces and sold directly to the consumer at rockbottom prices.
Cowboys and Aliens is an interesting mashup of two popular film genres, an experiment I hope other film makers try with other genres.
Hey…How about a horror courtroom drama!
A rom-com disaster film?
A musical heist movie?
You still there?