Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens: the U.S.-British Alliance

With the great sophistication of Hollywood, a big-budget, cross-genre film such as Jon Favreau's Cowboys and Aliens seemed like an act of desperation; however, there are three important aspects of the film making it a timely message and a definite anti-Barack Hussein Obama administration piece: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and one shot that tells viewers who the aliens represent.
Cowboys and Aliens theatrical poster.
The first aspect of the film is Daniel Craig: a major British star being cast in a classic Western from Hollywood is a rather unusual move. There is a theory in literature and film called Reader Response Criticism which takes what readers and audience members know about the work and uses their understanding to enhance the narrative experience; for example, if tennis star John McEnroe is cast in a role, people bring their understanding of his "bad boy image" to whatever role he's playing, and knowing that he's John McEnroe infuses his performance so that directors can capitalize on one of the worst reputations in the world instantly.
The worst temper in the world.
The theory is similar in Cowboys and Aliens with Daniel Craig: he is 007. The actor hailed by critics and fans as the best James Bond ever is her Majesty's number one agent James Bond, and Farveau doesn't disappoint the audience. In the first five minutes of Craig's performance, he brings the famous Bond into the Old West by jumping up to a man on horseback and knocking him to the ground, not to mention that ultra-electric gizmo of the wrist weapon, so reminiscent of 007's famous gadgets. Craig, as James Bond, brings a thoroughly modern British presence to the narrative and teams up with a thoroughly tough American: Indiana Jones.
Dapper Dan at a British awards ceremony.
The second important aspect of decoding what an alien monster film set in the American Old West can possibly be about, is the second star, Harrison Ford. Just as Daniel Craig invokes James Bond, Harrison Ford invokes Indiana Jones, a unique American hero who can keep taking a blow but searches after objects that are based on a lofty ideal, such as the Ark of the Covenant, the Diamond rocks of the poor Indian village and the Holy Grail; even in the last Indiana Jones adventure, he was battling the Communists. Harrison Ford represents a side of America which always fights against the enemy of his country and does "the right thing" and never for his own gain.
Dr. Jones, if you please.
So who, or what, are the aliens?
What would be a common enemy of the British Empire and the United States? What would threaten to take over the world? What shows up and takes people away from their families and appears to be almost unstoppable?
The Nazis.
Hitler as a soldier in WWI when he vowed to avenge Germany.
Ella (Olivia Wilde) tells Jake (Daniel Craig) that the aliens value gold as much as we do; when Jake enters the aliens' compound for the second time, one shot tells the viewer everything: there are gold watches, gold-rimmed eyeglasses, and even teeth with gold fillings that have been extracted from people abducted by the aliens, just as the Nazis in World War II were abducting Jews, locking them in concentration camps and extracting everything of "value" from them they could use, including the gold in their teeth. I even read once that skin from Jewish prisoners was used by Nazis to make lamp shades.
Mass grave inside the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Knowing who the aliens are enlightens us about other aspects of the film: why did Jake scar one alien as he was escaping the first time, then meet up with that same scarred alien again? That scar symbolizes the humiliating defeat of Germany in World War I, which Hitler vowed he would repay, the first time Germany met Great Britain on the field of battle; but just as Great Britain won the first time, so, too, Jake wins in the second meeting with the alien, when Woodrow (Harrison Ford) shoots the alien (perfectly situated to suggest the Allied Victory of World War II).
So what about the fancy wrist weapon that Jake wears, what does that symbolize, if anything?
Enigma.
An example of the Enigma encryption machine.
When England "accidentally" got hold of an Enigma machine from an abandoned German U-Boat, it changed the war and gave Prime Minister Winston Churchill the "ultra secret" information he required to protect his troops and attack the Germans (in Cowboys and Aliens, Jake also "accidentally" gets the wrist weapon when the alien puts it beside Jake who manages to free himself and putting his arm down, the wrist automatically snaps into position around his arm).
In short, teaming up two iconic stars and pitting them against the greatest enemy humanity as ever known is the purpose of Cowboys and Aliens
There is more to decode about the film, and that will come in future posts.
Saint Winston the Nazi Slayer.
But why is this timely, and how does this undermine President Barack Hussein Obama?
In this critical atmosphere of world politics (symbolized by the barren desert at the start of the film) Great Britain and the United States must remember why we have always been allies, why we stand together, why we can depend on each other: we fought the Nazis together, and that means everything. 
British and American blood mingled on the muddy battlefields and in our united cause against the great enemy of humanity, the Nazi regime, both governments united all our talents and resources for the greater, common good, and that's how it should always be between Great Britain and the United States.
The permanent bond of friendship: Roosevelt and Churchill on Bond Street, London.
The MOST regrettable and MOST embarrassing act of ignorance that President Barack Hussein Obama made in the first days of his administration by sending the revered bust of the most honorable Sir Winston Churchill back to England only supports the lamentable record of the administration that has failed in everything except ruining our country; but let him not now, or ever, stand in the way of the solid alliance and friendship of Great Britain and the United States, and let us not fall victim to "historical amnesia" and forget the victory and the sacrifice of both sides to protect the world from evil, but let it be a permanent bond between us, regardless of the petty and uncouth airs of a derisive president.
(For more on cultural subversions of the current presidential administration, please see my post Visigoths Sacking Washington).