Keep Summer Flicks Weird

By Todd A. Smith


            Austin, Texas residents have a saying, “Keep Austin weird.”  To many people, being weird is an insult, but to residents of the “ATX” it is the ultimate compliment.

            In the same vein, the Cowboys and Aliens film is very weird, but it works for the movie, which is a compliment considering the negative reviews the film has received.

            I have never been a fan of westerns or science fiction films, but in the Cowboys and Aliens film, producers Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard combine the two genres and still manage to make the film entertaining and the storyline easy to follow.

            Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) is discovered by local residents, lost and disheveled.  Not knowing his name or anything about his past, he discovers that he has a checkered past and is wanted by local law enforcement, which is led by the great Harrison Ford (Woodrow Dolarhyde).

            In a “previous life,” Jake was formerly the leader of a group of thugs and was kidnapped by aliens for stealing their gold.

            The captivity causes him to have amnesia, but he ultimately escapes from extra-terrestrial bondage.

            The mysterious aliens have come to earth specifically to kidnap humans in an effort to study their ways, with the ultimate goal of destroying mankind and taking over planet Earth.

            They begin attacking the town at night, because their vision is poor in the sunlight, kidnapping local residents indiscriminately.

            Jake, who appears in the town wearing a mysterious bracelet, soon realizes he is the only one that can defend the town’s residents.  The bracelet warns him when the aliens are near and it is also a dangerous weapon capable of taking down the aliens’ unidentified flying object.

            Beautiful Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde) befriends Jake and helps him remember his past and also assists in an attempt to rescue the captured civilians.

            The Cowboys and Aliens film does a fairly good job of showing different demographics working together to fight a common enemy, in a time when anything but unity was the norm.

            Jake is able to unite law enforcement officials with criminals, as well as Whites with Native Americans in an attempt to save their loved ones, their town and themselves.

            The Native Americans and Whites become more like brothers in the Cowboys and Aliens film after blaming each other for their negative predicaments in life.  The Native Americans discover that despite the stereotypes, many Whites like Woodrow have actually accepted many Native Americans into their lives as if they were family.

            The Whites learn that, despite being perceived as primitive, the military rituals of Native Americans can actually be genius if combined with the technology of the times.

            Consequently, both groups realize that people should not be the enemy of other people, but they should unite to fight the evil forces that can potentially bring down all mankind.

            Although the Cowboys and Aliens film is quite enjoyable, the plot is very farfetched and unrealistic, despite being a science fiction film.

            Furthermore, for produces known for brilliance and creativity, the title of the Cowboys and Aliens film is a bit lazy.

            For a weird, but good film, the producers should have embraced their weirdness, like the residents of Austin, Texas and created a more energetic name that would probably result in bigger box office numbers.







Smith is publisher of Regal Black Men’s Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.

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