cowboysandaliensThe Golden West

 Cowboys & Aliens

Cast: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Adam Beach, Keith Carradine, Clancy Brown, Walton Goggins and Abigail Spencer
Director: Jon Fauveau
Scriptwriters: Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof from the graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg
Composer: Harry Gregson-Williams
Rating: PG 13 for violence and themed material
Running Length 115 minutes
In years to come, you may forget the main idea of Cowboys & Aliens, but you won’t forget the soundtrack by Harry Gregson-Williams. In this western, he combines a touch of the classical (flashbacks) with a Native American rhythmic beat (meeting with a tribe) with a Spanish syncopation (everyone on the move) to give us a background for what is on the screen. As for the story and actors, they are present, but if you close you eyes, the music speaks.
As for the plot, it is taken seriously and cowboys & aliens means just that, flying aliens from another universe coming to cattle country. The story covers abductions, strange lights in the sky, cattle mutilitations and unusual ground markings. There are two things going on. One is trying to figure out “what” is taking people and who the Daniel Craig character is. He can’t remember anything but wears a deadly bracelet/weapon on his left wrist. Shades of “Stargate,” but it works by thought. Harrison Ford is a cattle rancher/former Confederate officer, whose son, Paul Dano, is the town bully. Olivia Wilde is a gun-toting woman who lives on the sidelines but has an intense curiosity in Craig and the armament on his wrist. In flashbacks, we see what happened to Daniel and his girlfriend (Abigail Spencer) and how he lost his memory. Eventually, old hatred’s are put aside (white man and Native American) to fight the foe, that they think are demons. Adam Beach is Ford’s Native America sidekick, who Ford rescued as a child, but treats coldly in favor of his son. Sam Rockwell is the town doctor, who questions everything and adds a touch of humor to the script, and Keith Carradine is the town sheriff who usually does what Ford wants him to.
I think that when it comes to Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford working together, there is a flash of a grin in their eyes, as though “Ain’t this fun?” Craig does the James Bond physical moves so fast you won't know a gunslinger in the Old West could learn them. He is of the expressionless face, while Harrison Ford's face is full of expression. Ford is Indiana Jones, charging ahead with his gun blazing and I kept looking for the whip, but it wasn't there. Having shadows of the past comes with the two stars, and I didn't mind it a bit. Olivia Wilde is good in the role of a woman with a history and Paul Dano gives bullying new meaning. Sam Rockwell’s timing with his comments is finely tuned and Walton Goggins shows damage from a fight.  Not one of those fights where you hear the blows but don't see harm, in this movie, just watch Goggins try to smile.
One could imagine a series of films on the horizon about aliens. Crusaders and Aliens, Conquistadors & Aliens, South Pole Quest & Aliens, and so on. Who knows, but for now, Cowboys & Aliens is just right, plus it explains a lot and shows that what you seek of value may come back to haunt you.
Copyright 2011 Marie Asner