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Sat, 30 Jul 2011

Anachronism

Definition: out of place in time.

We just saw "Cowboys and Aliens" yesterday. It escaped being too hokey by a narrow margin. Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford don't like each other, but team up when aliens attack the town, capturing many humans, including Ford's loopy son.

The men were grimy most of the time. The lead female was clean most of the time. The aliens were slimy almost all the time.

I enjoyed the movie, but cannot make a glowing recommendation. Don't expect too much from the star power. Craig is manly, but doesn't actually pull off the gang leader macho moment. Ford is nasty as a cattle rancher, until he's "lovable" as a redeemed parent. Lovable is improbable, and it comes through that way.

Picky details:
1) The aliens are slimy, but when an alien reaches out with slimy grippers and touches the cheek of a cowering boy, the cheeks remain pristine, smooth, unslimed.
2) Harrison Ford has a shiny knife which he gives to the very frightened boy, telling him to be a man. It is a very shiny knife. It is clearly stainless steel. Stainless steel was successfully patented in the U.S. in 1915. The movie timeframe might have been later than that year. The date wasn't specified, but the railroad wasn't present in the town. Wikipedia tells us that New Mexico got its railroads around 1880. Ford got the knife from his own father when he, himself was a young boy. That would make the too shiny knife 50 years old, at least, and made before stainless steel was readily available.

Alternate history bends facts around, so maybe stainless steel was invented earlier in the movie's timeline. I still think it is a big anachronistic "whoops!", especially when the knife plays such a visible role. Quality alternate history drops big changes into otherwise ordinary, accepted history.

One touch I did like was that the aliens flew around in some fancy airplanes (not shiny) with multi-vaned wings. The planes belched smoke as they flew. It made the aliens seem more vulnerable, somehow.



posted at: 13:34 | path: | permanent link to this entry