‘Cowboys’ Repel Alien Invasion; Tears at ‘Help’

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 22, 2011

Unlike Washington politicians, marriage partners must compromise.
Elizabeth and I have swapped turns picking a movie. She wanted to see “The Help” and boo-hooed much of the way through it. The movie is a troubling look at racial bigotry in the Deep South during the early 1960s portrayed by touching characters. The book has been the most commonly spotted novel on the beach for two summers.
I picked “Cowboys and Aliens,” a Western that flirts with science fiction.
I have loved Westerns since I was a boy, and ‘Cowboys and Aliens” was surprisingly good. Daniel Craig, the reigning Agent 007 James Bond, shucked his British accent and tuxedo for chaps, spurs and a gun belt. He’s no John Wayne, but Craig made a good cowboy as he unleashed all his usual Bond mayhem on the invaders from space.
Harrison Ford plays the role as the super rancher who owns half the countryside and controls the town of Absolution in 1873. To save his no-count son, Ford also pulls out his pistol and wades into battle against the aliens, shooting straight and firing fast.
The makeup crew deserves the only Oscar this movie will be considered for. The entire cast of cowboys and associated Indians and bad guys were wonderfully costumed.
The movie is not a farce. This is a real honest-to-goodness Western that just happens to have aliens cast as the worst class of bad guys. Cowboys don’t back down from anything or anybody and naturally go toe-to-toe with demons that arrive in a spaceship. Of course, none of the cowboys have ever seen anything but birds fly. Faced with the threat of extinction or, worse, slavery, the traditional Western enemies unite to attack the alien invaders who have come for the most precious of all metals: Gold.
Well before the metal reached $1,800 an ounce last week, cowboys, prospectors and bad guys fought over gold. They certainly weren’t going to share it with weird looking creatures in flying ships.
“Cowboys and Aliens” honors the traditional Western form …