Cowboys & Aliens (2011) by Jon Favreau
Well, if you know me a little you might guess why I watched this movie. Right, I watched it for Olivia Wilde. Also, because I think it is a great idea. Some people might think that this is a genre clash that cannot go well but think about this: why should our time (a post E.T.-time, if you want) be the only time that aliens visited. So, maybe there have been ufo sightings back in the days – people just may not have thought they were aliens… I don’t know what they thought they were seeing, maybe they thought they were just incredibly drunk, who knows… where was I, yeah, I liked the idea from that standpoint.
And the movie delivered on it: we had cowboys and we had aliens and they fought each other in an epic battle. I love westerns. I like the premise of good versus evil when you can tell the evil just by the clothes it wears. But this is another ball game and the hero may not have been the best choice of hero but then… in a hard world a good hero is hard to find. And I really like Daniel Craig… so, yeah, he is always a kind of unlikely hero. And he surely can pull off that chaps-look.
The problem with a genre that is so overdone as westerns, is the many stereotypes it serves. I don’t know what was with the Natives/First Nation aka Indians but they have been portrayed less stereotypical warpainty and battlecryey… this was a little disappointing but probably inevitable with this being made from a comic/graphic novel/or whatever the pc for this one is. I can look past that and say, yes, it was a good movie. It has its fun parts, it has its horror, yak, ugly parts and it got some strange no-I-don’t-get-it parts, too. So, in all it is watchable.
But this is me talking, so, you already know that there is something else coming. The part where I say: no, sorry, but that was not okay. And most of the time this has to do with the depiction of women in movies. And yes, this part is coming. It is not too bad in this movie. I was just disappointed, is all. If you look at the poster left, there are three heroes on it, the movie only delivered on two, unfortunately. If you live in my head and you see a poster like that, you already make up the story in your head and it does not register in my head why Olivia Wilde should be less of a hero than Daniel Craig or Harrison Ford (I actually thought Ford was miscast, but that’s another story). In my head she is not just Craig’s love interest, she holds her own with a gun. Why couldn’t she? I know what you’re thinking: I am being too critical, too feminist, why don’t I just shut up? I cannot. This annoyed the heck out of me. Because the whole film worked on the premise of what that guy said when the troups started to fight: we already have a kid and a dog, why not take a woman, too?
Y’know, to hell with the machismo of the whole thing. Just once, I would like Hollywood to measure up to my standards. They have done that in the past, there are female action heroes out there (Ripley, Sarah Connor) but it’s been a while since we have seen a female action hero that was a hero not despite being a woman but just because somebody had to do the job and she was there. We are too stuck on gender these days and we shouldn’t be. And Olivia Wilde could pull it off, too…
Okay, I will stop. I know no one’s listening. I liked the film although it was sometimes too heavy on the machism and on stereotypes. But I guess that’s what you get when comic book meets western meets evil aliens… and I will just wait patiently for the next female action hero. She’s due.