Upcoming Flix Spotlight: Cowboys & Aliens

Even just hearing the title of this movie, it’s hard not to raise an eyebrow and at least wonder, what the heck kind of movie is this? Well, that was my reaction when I first heard it earlier this year when it was still Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role, which would reunite him with his Iron Man director Jon Favreau. Well, since then the cast has changed and Daniel Craig now stars as the main protagonist Jake Lonergan.

You’ve probably seen the teaser trailer by now as it was all over the net last month, but in case you haven’t, it’s at the bottom of this post. I’d say it was the weirdest and most awesome trailer that came out that week (it so happened that a truckload of trailers were released that same week) that I couldn’t help playing it over and over again. Then it was shown in front of the latest Harry Potter movie and I was cracking up and clapping along with everyone in the packed theater. No doubt this one will be a hit come blockbuster season next Summer, and having Steven Spielberg’s name as executive certainly couldn’t hurt.

The movie is based on a 2006 graphic novel of the same name by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. Here’s the gist: In Silver City, Arizona, Apache Indians and Western settlers must lay their differences aside when an alien spaceship crash lands in their city. Now, even I had to giggle just reading that bizarre premise out loud, and considering the whimsical & playful nature of the Iron Man franchise (isn’t that mysterious shackle that encircles Craig’s wrist looks just as cool as Iron Man 2‘s briefcase suit?), I just assumed this would be in the same vein as that even if the trailer seems rather, um, serious. Apparently my perception about the movie is way off, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

Indiana Jones & 007 playing a couple of cowboys

According to this NY Times article, this movie is NOT a comedy: “Deceived by a title and a premise that many find inherently comic, potential viewers must now cope with a realization that Mr. Favreau wasn’t kidding when he told fans at the Comic-Con International convention last July that he planned to mix a “by-the-book, right-down-the-middle western” of the kind once made by Sergio Leone and John Ford, with really scary science fiction, like Alien or Predator. The article also mentioned that one possible reason of such expectations is due to the project’s origin, as at one time it was supposed to be a follow-up to the Will Smith’s sci-fi comedy Men in Black and the filmmaker of Ace Ventura was to have been its writer.

Wilde as the elusive traveler Ella

This CBR article also points out that RDJ’s departure also contributed to the change of tone: “… Robert Downey Jr. was set to star and the film was intended to utilize a more tongue-in-cheek tone in order to capitalize on the actor’s strengths. When Downey left, the production team quickly reconsidered that angle. “As we zeroed in on it, and as we went to Western school, we realized that irony was a little bit of the last thing we needed. The spin on the movie is already there; aliens are landing in a Western,” [screenwriter Roberto] Orci recalled. “The way to maximize that is to play it extremely straight and to have any fun or comedy come out of the natural moments that would come out of a situation like that, not out of writing the jokes [or] winking at the audience.” Hence the Daniel Craig casting, whom Orci called as having a ‘Steve McQueen vibe.’

IMDb trivia said that Daniel Craig was chosen because of his distinct likeness to Yul Brynner, who starred in the cowboy epic The Magnificent Seven (1960). Craig recommended Eva Green for the role of Ella after working with her in Casino Royale (2006). However, Eva turned the role down and Olivia Wilde was cast.

Check out Favreau’s interview with MTV below as he gave a play-by-play explanation of the teaser. I’ve never seen other directors did this before with their movies, so it’s pretty interesting to watch.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

[posted with vodpod]
And here’s the full trailer:

I absolutely dig the trailer, especially with curmudgeonly Harrison Ford in the mix, that it really doesn’t matter what tone the movie is. Regardless how serious as it plays out, I can’t imagine not being amused by it. I’m sure I’d still laugh watching those cowboys and girls being sucked into the space ship right smack dab out of a saloon 😀

What do you think, folks? Is this one in your 2011 most-anticipated-movies list?

30 thoughts on “Upcoming Flix Spotlight: Cowboys & Aliens

      1. No, I’m on Blogger 🙂 But I’ve just managed to find a widget code for the snow, and I put it over at HOLLYWOOD SPY but yours is more beautiful 🙂

        1. Hey cool, glad you found that too. I don’t see the difference between your snow and mine, Dez… I think yours is just as lovely! 😀 😀

                1. PrairieGirl

                  Very interesting, Dezzy, blue snow flakes with green and white spring flowers. What planet did you say you lived on…?! ;-D

  1. Saw the trailer as well in front of the HP movie. Crowd laughed when the title appeared, but I think it’s an appreciative “ooh might check it out” laugh. I know that’s what my laugh was about.

    1. Well it was more of an uproarious laughter and bemused excitement… no way did I ever guess it WON’T be a comedy, but I’m still curious about it just the same.

  2. Everyone in the theater laughed out loud when the title for this came up at Harry Potter, but I think this looks awesome. Has the potential to crash and burn, but I thought that was a pretty sweet trailer. Hope it doesn’t take itself too seriously is all.

    1. My sentiment exactly, Aiden. I understand that it won’t be a full-on comedy but a little whimsy and playfulness can’t hurt… I mean, the title itself makes me laugh!

  3. Ted S.

    I somehow thought this was based on an old novel from a long time ago not some graphic novel from 2006.

    I wasn’t too impress with the teaser but again it’s too early to judge since they haven’t shown us much yet, which is good. It’s nice to see Harrison Ford back on a big summer movie again, he doesn’t have a lot of them these days.

    1. Well that’s what it said on Wiki, not sure if it’s accurate or not.

      I didn’t think I would be impressed by it either, but it’s just so bizarre I actually like it. I probably would’ve been more interested to see Robert Downey instead of Craig, but yeah, always nice to see Mr. Ford in anything. Surely this can’t be worse than Indy 4!

    1. Wow, you’re the first guy who’s not wild about Wilde 🙂 Are you a fan of Westerns? I’m not, but I like a good sci-fi. Put ’em together and that’ll be nothing short of bizarre!

      1. haha Wilde is okay, but much like Keira Knightley, the only thing she can really do well is stare off into space when not speaking..either that, or just sit there with her mouth open but uttering not a word. LOL.
        (watch Pirates of the Caribbean and pause it anytime Keira is on screen, but not speaking…she is either baring her teeth, or has her mouth wide open! hahaha) Her acting doesn’t really do it for me…not yet anyways! I am hopeful though!

        I love Westerns. Actually awaiting True Grit anxiously. And, I enjoy scifi so much…so this really seems like a win, to your point…a bizarre one…but a win still!! 🙂

        1. Ha..ha.. you’re not the only one saying that about Knightley. I only watch the first Pirate movie but it’s not exactly an ‘acting’ movie. She was pretty good in the more indie stuff I saw her (Edge of Love, Atonement, even Pride & Prejudice).

          Ah, True Grit. Lots of people are anticipating that one. But I’m not a fan of the Coens nor Western so it’s not even on my radar.

  4. Mike

    I too saw this trailer before HP and was intrigued. My only concern is the bracelet. If that thing’s too magical then it could make this just a crazy sci fi flick – which I’m not sure I’d enjoy. Realism is the hallmark of good westerns. Something like District 9 (which was almost too realistic) with cowboys could be cool!!!

    1. Good point about that bracelet, Mike. I think if they’re going to go for comedy, the magical aspect might work… the more outrageous the better. But since they’re going with more serious angle, it should be more gritty and realistic. Glad you share my love for D-9 🙂

  5. Looks like a lot of fun, but I just hope the film can surpass it’s silly premise of having aliens, in a old-Western setting. To me it’s kind of funny seeing cowboys being captured by space-ships.

    1. He..he.. that’s why the studio has to work hard to keep people’s expectations in check as like you and I, most people seeing the trailer think this is an all out comedy flick.

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