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Maybe He's A Dummy
Cowboys & Aliens by Jon Favreau
© 2013 James LaFond
This was a fun genre-blending flick based on a comic. Daniel Craig plays a man who wakes in the desert with no memory, with some kind of metal device on his wrist. If the movie had only been ten minutes long it would have been worth it. The second scene involves a father and sons trio of scalp-hunters who are the epitome of Old West Grunge. The first fight scene in this movie is the best.
The supporting cast is very smartly chosen and well played. Harrison Ford plays a hardcore cattle baron. As the movie progresses you do get spoon fed some of the standard revisionist narrative of the Old West, such that Native Americans, even Apaches, possess a natural moral superiority over whites. This mildly irritating political correctness is oddly wedded with the modern ‘alien abduction complex’ to make for a really weird type of horror story. The narrative is saved from banality by the really disgusting aliens, who are thankfully and redeemably evil.
There are a surprising number of telling phrases concerning faith and redemption worthy of an old Garry Cooper western. The fight scenes are cool, and Daniel Craig brings his gift for playing the compelling psychopath, most notably in a brutally creative method for unchaining himself from another prisoner.
Cowboys and Aliens goes to the same well as many westerns, but does it with a nasty comic edge. I liked it a lot. I just wish, that for once, a western—or any film set in the horseback age—would recognize the value of the horse, and the fact that it was not as tireless as a car. Any sensible horseman will use more than a single mount whenever possible. Footage of a horseman galloping his loan mount across a rugged landscape hours after he had three to choose from is about as realistic as a NASCAR driver competing without a pit crew.
This movie was a lot of fun.
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