Cowboys, Aliens and Feeling Around for Harrison Ford’s Plugs

It’s the aliens who steal the show in the town of Absolution


Harrison Ford was on David Letterman promoting his latest film "Cowboys & Aliens" when Letterman ran his hand through Ford's hair.

Now, I am a plug-search-woman and wondered if Letterman were checking Ford out for plugs. Ford's hair had been carefully combed over to hide the roots, and I was relieved when no hair came off in Letterman's hand. On the other hand, I was angry that Ford had not run his fingers through Letterman's white patch of suspiciously perched hair on his forehead. 

That or an old-fashioned slug right in Letterman's kisser. Letterman has some nerve.  Running his hand through Fords' carefully coiffed hair is close to the equivalent of putting his hand down, let's say, Kim Kardashian 's cleavage to feel if her breasts are real. She would have boffed him one with her handbag. That or slapped him with a lawsuit.

I must say Ford remained a gentleman through all the groping of his roots and finished his gig unscathed then rode off into the sunset on a horse that was double parked outside the studio. Letterman rode off with him, but, of course, Letterman's horse was bigger and taller than Ford's to afford Letterman the opportunity to look down on Ford as they rode away. 

Long live Harrison Ford. Don't know about David "The Groper" Letterman. And let us not forget the courage of Bruce Willis who has let his hairline grow out with grace over the years.

When I watched "Cowboys & Aliens." I again did a plug search on Ford, but he wore hats that he has worn in his Indiana Jones films, which led me to the thought, "Is he hiding something?"

"Cowboys & Aliens" is a ridiculous title. Ridiculous concept. But it works. To a point. This is Daniel Craig's film with Ford and his hat as Craig’s side kick. Craig's magnetic baby blues mesmerize and he manages to pull the film together with his lasso-like appeal, but it is the aliens who steal the show in the town of Absolution. Their creepy bodies, tentacles, and movements at times will make you gasp.

Now. just how do aliens land a leading role in this 1873 saga or land in the Wild West?

You have to see the film to catch on to these monsters entrances and exits that are frightening at times menacing. The aliens are a bit reminiscent of Ridley Scott's "Alien," but then how far can one go in creating an alien? Lucas films did a pretty good job creating an original terror in these flying monsters.

The plot starts out as your average gunslinger confrontation between Jake Lonergrin (Craig) and Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford) … One difference is Lonergrin has no memory of his past and wears a mysterious shackle on his wrist. When suddenly out of the flaming skies arrives a spaceship with aliens intent on abducting people from the town for research. One by one they pull select towns folk into their spaceships by means of a bungee jumping technique and fly away. These aliens have come to the West in search of gold.

Sound familiar? Much of this plot is contrived and familiar with the use of aliens merely substituted for the Indians. Well, there are Indians, Apache who eventually add spice to the plot. Director Jon Favreau and "Star Trek" writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci with Damon Lindelof who created "Lost" create an interesting film from Scott Rosenberg’s novel that just misses intrigue a bit too often. Steven Spielberg and Denis Stewart executive produced.

Elusive Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde) is in the town when the aliens arrive. She and Lonergrin strike up a 'haven't we seen each other somewhere before' kind of antagonistic repartee.

Colonel Dolarhyde's son (Paul Dano) is the town's loser and takes on Lonergrin who overpowers him. They both end up in jail, until the aliens arrive and kidnap half of the town. Craig sports a bracelet- like-weapon that can shoot down the aliens.

Colonel Dolarhyde, Lonergrin, and a few of the towns folk create a posse and set off into the desert to find the people the aliens have abducted.  Dolarhyde and Lonergrin though on polar opposites bury their hatchets and unite against the common foe — the aliens. The Apaches with the use of peyote help Lonergrin revive his memory and thus they are able to find the aliens' spaceship.

The look of the film is dusty and desert-like hot. Filmed in New Mexico that is meant to be Arizona the mountain ranges are spectacular. When the alien space ship becomes part of the desert, it is almost hidden like camouflage as it resembles the mountains rock formation.

Ford will keep you entertained with his expressions and his appeal though the dialogue in the film is flat and lacks energy. Olivia Wilde is enchanting as an alien from quite a different universe than the enemy aliens abducting all the good folk. Still it is all the way with lead gunslinger Daniel Craig who has little to say, but looking at him writes volumes. This is your usual tale of good vs evil.

Alas, "Cowboys & Aliens" falls short of being a great movie. There is too much of a "been there done that" feel to the entire film as original as the concept is. The antagonism of aliens and cowboys while creative needs a bit more unpredictability and mystery to make this concept a complete success.