Cowboys and Aliens
Wow, what do you make of a film like
this, which delivers exactly what it promises, with a straight face?
Just go with it? Make fun of it?
Consider it a self-parody? An
camp? Or do we make this kind of
adventure/sci-fi/CGI film just because we can?
Somewhere in the Old West, a grizzled
cowboy (played by Daniel Craig, with only an occasional slip of the accent),
wakes up in the middle of the desert with a strange metal bracelet on his
wrist which he can’t seem to remove. He
also appears to be wounded. And he
suffers from amnesia. But no sooner
does he regain consciousness and awareness than he is menacingly approached by
three salty hombres who are looking to take advantage of someone helpless and
vulnerable and outnumbered. Little did
they know how overmatched they were, until it was too late.
Craig (surely his character name isn’t
important---hasn’t he arrived at a point like Harrison Ford, where he really
only plays himself?) happens upon a saloon-centered, one-street town that
features a spoiled rich kid shooting up the place, and a mysterious young
woman who seems to be very interested in him, even after his repeated rebuffs.
(The strong, brooding types only become more appealing when they’re
surly and disinterested.) Let’s see,
we have a kindly preacher who doubles as a doctor, a hapless oppressed hotel
owner with a beautiful supportive wife, and an imperious menacing patriarch
(enter the inimitable Harrison Ford) who owns the biggest cattle ranch in the
territory, and loves throwing his weight around, even with the local sheriff.
But all of these dark dynamics are
trumped by the sudden arrival of yes, alien spaceships, who start shooting up
the place from the skies, and also setting off our favorite cowboy’s
mysterious bracelet, which, when activated, conveniently doubles as a portable
The beautiful girl, it turns out, is an
alien in human form who’s come to help the clueless cowboys figure out how
to repel the space invaders, because they’re actually a scouting party,
ready to return to base and report easy pickings among the primitive
earthlings. It seems they are also
coveting the local gold, because mining and processing it powers their
Enter the whooping Indians, who
temporarily ally with the taciturn cowboys in order to fight together against
the monstrous aliens, who look like gargoyles on steroids who wandered off the
set of “Lord of the Rings.” Making the world safe for patriarchy?
You get the feeling that the people who
actually produced this unique film developed the idea after a few beers, and
the more they drank, the more “out there” the proposed plot became.
So, dear viewer, if you decide to try
this rather adventurous summer movie, you can then decide in which category it
belongs, or whether it sufficiently defies categorization as to make it just
stand alone, and let the title speak for itself.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Co-Pastor, United