Share & Connect
February’s Super Bowl featured the first sneak-peak into director Jon Favreau’s upcoming fantasy embarkment Cowboys and Aliens – an eclectic mix of conventional western and uhm… extra terrestrials?
Admittedly, when I first read that Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig were strapping on their hats and boots to fight an alien invasion on horseback – even I shook my head in disbelief. Had Hollywood really hit rock-bottom of ideas this time? Were there no remakes left to soak their creative dry-spell?
Of course, that was before I learned that ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ was in fact a successful graphic novel from Platinum Studios, controllers of the largest independent license library of comic book characters, created by the Studio’s founder Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and published in 2006. The unconventional genre-clash gained so much attention that Universal Studios and DreamWorks soon got their hands on it and next month, movie audiences will get to explore the result. It is considered the dark horse this season – “the true wild card among the summer 2011 popcorn films – a gritty cowboy tale that just happens to be interrupted by an alien invasion flick,” writes herocomplex.latimes.com.
Blockbuster filmmaker Jon Favreau has purposely put together, along with producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer and executive producer Steven Spielberg (there he is again!), this hybrid cowboy tale in such way to avoid the obvious entrapment of comedy or camp – all considering the ‘on-the-nose’ title. According to herocomplex.latimes.com, much effort was put into the screenplay so to make the story a western first, a sci-fi second. Speaking about the universe of the movie; “The audience knows what [the aliens] are after years of Spielberg movies but the guys on the horses in the movie have no words for what they’re seeing,” explains Roberto Orci, one of the writers and producers.
The cross-franchise action has Daniel Craig starring as the stranger who stumbles into the town of Absolution with no memory of his past but with a mysterious shackle on his wrist. Little does he know that the city is held in an iron fist by Harrison Ford’s Colonel Dolarhyde who’s cruel reign leaves no room for strangers. However, the tale of dust and true grit is abruptly interrupted when scarcely comprehensible objects attack the desolate city from the sky and abduct the stunned and helpless. Soon the hard-eyed stranger is the small town’s only hope for salvation.
Also starring is Olivia Wilde, Paul Dano and the charismatic Sam Rockwell. But it’s Ford’s turn as Absolution’s menacing Colonel which is drawing most attention in the cast, and according to an interview with the icon himself: “Ford seemed as surprised as anyone by the fact that he hadn’t starred in a cowboy movie since Jimmy Carter was in the White House.”
“For years, I’ve thought the western – as a genre – needed this guy,” said Ron Howard. “Harrison has this persona that fits the western. In a way he was a cowboy in ‘[American] Grafitti’ and ‘Star Wars’ and when you see him on screen in this setting it just feels right.”
With expectations heightening each week for phenomenal visual effects and competent acting, the ultimate clash of universes is bound to keep cine-fanatics on their toes. And think about it – is the idea that far-fetched after all? Plenty of time to make up your mind before July 29.
Image provided by cowboysandaliensmovie.com