Cowboys & Aliens (No Spoilers)

Kage Baker was an avid, fervent, dedicated James Bond admirer.

She first encountered the amazing Mr. Bond at the double feature of Thunderball and Help!, which seemed to play all summer long in 1965. Kage went because she loved the Beatles; in those days one could just stay in the theatre from opening to closing, if one so desired, and she did. Inevitably, she saw Thunderball over and over, and in a somewhat clearer state of mind than that in which she watched Help! … she came out of the experience with a high opinion of Sean Connery, and a determination to read the works of Ian Fleming.

Sean Connery was just the sort of dangerous father-type that made Kage feel safest. Not exactly a romantic fixation, though she thought him beautiful – what he has/had is the sort of comforting lethality of a paternal warrior god, a deadly safety offered on his lap or under the edge of his war cloak. She found him dangerous and cuddly, a combination I don’t even faintly understand. My own reaction to Sir Sean has always been considerably less filial and more visceral …

When Kage read Ian Fleming’s books, she was very struck by the difference between the suave spy characterized through so many films, and the public school thug Fleming actually wrote about. James Bond is a lot more like Robert Shaw’s character in From Russia With Love than he is like Sean Connery – who, even when his fine mean eyes go cold and predatory, cannot entirely escape a tendency to twinkle. Nonetheless, Kage accepted no replacement for Bond once Connery retired from the character.

Until Daniel Craig.

Daniel Craig is a well-nigh perfect James Bond. He looks more like Bond than any other actor who has essayed the part – consider this sketch by Fleming himself:

He plays a wonderful thug, and yet takes an exquisite polish: one of the great special effects in Casino Royale is watching his slow transformation from a government bully-boy to the iconic Bond – the tailored clothes, the perfect style, the great car. The deadly cocktail … read up on what goes into one of those things; Bond’s special recipe can induce instantaneous  liver failure.

(Personally, I also think he is utterly gorgeous. Kage thought his physique a little heavy for the part – but that bull dancer’s body, the heavy chest and shoulders, narrow waist, long legs … oh my, can you short out your keyboard by drooling on it?)

Anyway … Kage and I watched both new Bond films with great delight. We even watched The Golden Compass (a book we both abhorred) to see Craig as the Good Uncle. And he was cool, so very cool – so I was a little taken aback at the idea of Daniel Craig as a gunslinger. However, being just returned from a matinee of Cowboys & Aliens, I can report that he is just as effective in leather and denim as he is in Harris tweed.

It’s a good movie, I thought. A good western and a good science fiction film. All the acting is competent, the plot makes as much sense as these things ever do, and Harrison Ford is marvelous. He has the best opening line I have heard in a while, too. And Daniel Craig is simply overwhelming eye candy. There’s nothing subtle about anys well-made man in chaps – but a really good looking one is devastating. I may have missed some special effects scenes due to staring at costuming.

Kage would have loved this movie; I dearly wish she had seen it. But at least I did. I can recommend it, Dear Readers. Now, though,  I’m going to download Joan Vinge’s doubtless-excellent novelization on my faithful Kindle, and go for some good old B movie overload.

The cover has Daniel Craig in leather chaps. From behind. Sigh ….

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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12 Responses to Cowboys & Aliens (No Spoilers)

  1. Rick Boyer says:

    Nice site. Theres some good information on here. Ill be checking back regularly.

  2. Sean Connery in The Time Bandits portrays exactly the father/warrior you describe. I, too, consider his Bond definitive—none of his successors measure up (Pierce Brosnan is sweet and charming, but he simply lacks menace). Until D. Craig. Yowza!

    • Kate says:

      Yowza indeed, Carol. Daniel Craig is just frighteningly luscious. Peaches and cream in a broken glass bowl …. And BTW, Sir Sean’s performance as Agammemnon in Time Bandits was one of Kage’s favourites of all time. She used to viciously BOO sullen Clytemnestra lurking in the background. Kage had a very personal approach to the classics.

  3. The Lord of Misrule says:

    Ironically enough, and for no good reason, I have just purchased every single James Bond film (with the exception of “Never Say Never Again”-Different studio or some such nonsence) in four gorgeous box sets and am going through them in chronological order (Just finished “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service-One kinda has to feel a little sorry for Mr. Lazenby.) and am enjoying them, if for no other reason than to note how poorly they’ve aged, especially in regards to special effects (Dr. No is pracically somnambulent with only *one* explosion. Imagine!

    As for C & A, what I liked best about it was that they played it fairly straight. The Western was as genuine a Westren as one could hope for…until those pesky aliens stared blowing up things real good, and yes, Mr. Craig was totally belivable. I second your reccomendation

  4. Kate says:

    Ohmigawd … you liked it? You and I both liked a film and even for some of the same reasons? Oh, it’s the End Times, that’s what it is …

  5. The Lord of Misrule says:

    Is your regular e-mail working?

  6. Widdershins says:

    “Films like this send out the signal that aliens are our enemies and that we’re trigger happy,” Webre said.

    … And I thought we’d thrown this idjit into the sea at the last alien’s-r-us festival! Bugger must’ve used his illegal ray-gun to burn through the chains and cement shoes.

  7. Kate says:

    Widdershins: Well, we *are* trigger-happy. I think it’s nice of us to warn any would-be alien contactors that they are coming to meet a race of semi-sentient wolverines … but not as cute.
    My personal opinion is that we have been quarantined by the rest of the local galaxy on account of irresponsible breeding, rabies and epidemic cold robbies.

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