4 items from 2011
In all the advertising for Jon Favreau's blockbuster Cowboys & Aliens, the latter element of the provocative title is presented in larger type, thus suggesting the current ascendancy of one genre over the other. Among the dozen or so listed producers are a pair of directors – Steven Spielberg, who has been behind a string of sci-fi movies, and Ron Howard, who has made two ambitious westerns, one rather good, the other a distinct failure.
Based (not surprisingly) on a graphic novel, the picture stars Daniel Craig, a stranger both to the west and to sci-fi, and Harrison Ford, who made his name in the Star Wars movies but came a cropper with his only big-screen western. They play a couple of gun-toting hardmen in post-civil war New Mexico territory, the stamping ground of »
- Philip French
With Cowboys & Aliens due out soon, Terence looks at the history of the sci-fi western, and picks out a few of the best and worst…
Please note: there a few spoilers in this article, but not major ones.
The upcoming Cowboys & Aliens from Iron Man director, Jon Favreau, and starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, may seem like another one of those Hollywood blockbuster ‘high concept' movies (even if it is based on a successful graphic novel). However, the hybrid genre of the sci-fi western is nothing new. In the history of cinema, the six gun and the ray gun have shared the silver screen surprisingly often.
The sci-fi western, like any other film genre, has seen its share of the good, the bad and the ugly. While it's too early to tell whether Cowboys & Aliens will be keeping company with Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef or Eli Wallach, it's »
Filed under: Movie News
'Cowboys & Aliens' has to be one of the better movie titles to come down the pike in quite a while, hearkening back to a past era of genre exploitation ('Earth vs. the Flying Saucers') and mixed-genre mashups ('Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter' and 'Billy the Kid vs. Dracula').
But titles alone don't make the movie. That's up to the directors and stars, something 'Cowboy's & Aliens' has in spades: There's hip director Jon Favreau and an all-star cast including Olivia Wilde, Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Walton Goggins, Keith Carradine and Adam Beach.
The film -- about aliens invading the Earth in 1873, with only ragtag cowboys and Apaches standing in their way -- has been getting a lot of buzz, to say the least and, now that its release date of July 29 is fast-approaching, DreamWorks/Universal has released a new trailer. »
- Harley W. Lond
The resuscitation of the classic western genre seems to occur whenever it's fused with another genre, producing dissonant hybrids, intriguing for their anachronistic elements. These hybrids seem to negate the threat mumbled through clenched teeth that, "There's just not room enough for both of us in this here town." Whereas with Cowboys & Aliens Jon Favreau has pursued the "science fiction western"--following on the outlaw trail of such steampunk narratives as Wild Wild West (1999), Back to the Future III (1990) and the ridiculous but oddly entertaining The Valley of Gwangi (1969)--the category of the "weird west" is even richer in representation, ranging from Billy the Kid vs. Dracula and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (both released in 1966), through Ravenous (1999), The Burrowers »
4 items from 2011
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