Teaser trailer for Jon Favreau's COWBOYS & ALIENS oozes John Ford and early Spielberg!
Published at: Nov. 17, 2010, 1:08 p.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. With the release of the teaser trailer for Jon Favreau's Summer 2011 tentpole entry COWBOYS AND ALIENS, I figured now would be a good time to talk a tiny bit about something fun that happened a week or two ago. But let's look at the trailer first, shall we?
Yahoo has it in much better form than their exclusives yesterday.
Pretty damn good, right? It's a real teaser. You don't see the aliens, you don't know the whole damn story in advance and you don't get all the money shots 8 months out from release.
I was in LA recently for a quick in and out trip (that's a hit and run trip, 36 hours in the city, not that I was just there for In-N-Out Burger... although I did that, too) and while I was there a visit to the edit bay of Cowboys and Aliens dropped into my lap, an offer you can't refuse no matter how busy your schedule is.
Understandably Favreau doesn't want me to detail every single bit of the nearly 45 minutes I watched reported until a little later, but I will tell you that the talk I was hearing on the set about going for a John Ford aesthetic wasn't placating the movie geek. This is a western first, down to the casting of all involved, from the Steve McQueen-in-Magnificent-Seven-looking Daniel Craig to Keith Carradine as the kind but tough Sheriff (which felt a little like an extension of his Wild Bill Hickock performance in Deadwood) to Olivia Wilde who has never been more exotic and gorgeous onscreen to Paul Dano's pampered rich kid slimebag to Sam Rockwell as the barkeep to Clancy Brown as the preacher with a shotgun.
Favreau wasn't going for a John Ford feel in this crazy sci-fi action film, he wanted it to be a John Ford movie before the aliens show up. And they don't show up for a little while, letting us get to know the characters a bit before the shit hits the town.
In the first 40 minutes of the movie we are introduced to our characters, every single one gets a moment to make an impression (especially the introduction of Harrison Ford's Col. Dolarhyde, the most feared man in the West until the aliens show up... seriously, nobody has treated Ford like this much of a badass since that shot of the mine-cart light illuminating the pissed off Dr. Jones in Temple of Doom) and then they quickly have to band together in order to save their loved ones.
There was a bit of Hitchcock tease in the opening, only glimpsing aliens as lights in the sky or, when one of the fighters is downed by Craig, as a silhouette in a window. Matty Libatique's lighting is top notch as always (between this and Aronofsky's Black Swan I'm tempted to write him a love letter, all my i's dotted with hearts and glitter sprinkled in the envelope).
The first two reels I watched from beginning to end and we only made one time jump so that I could get a glimpse at Legacy (nee Stan Winston Studios) Effects' animatronic alien. The set was spectacular (more on that later) and the moment I saw, involving young Noah Ringer giving a surprisingly good performance that makes me hate how badly M. Night fucked up The Last Airbender even more, was tense, creepy and more importantly really there. There was a menace to the alien that I wasn't expecting.
Cowboys and Aliens isn't goofy, something that could have easily been the instant knee-jerk for the filmmakers considering the subject matter and the reason I'm personally excited (and happy to see that excitement spreading via this new trailer) is that we're seeing one of our better big budget filmmakers taking genre seriously... two genres in this case and if what I've seen is any indication we could have that rare summer blockbuster that is exciting, thrilling, entertaining, but also doesn't treat us like we're ADHD children that just want something shiny dangled before us every 2 minutes.
That's it from me. What'd you think of the trailer?
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