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Rise of the Planet of the Apes

19 Apr

Planet of the Apes. Have you seen it? I was in college when I happened to catch the Charlton Heston original late one night on cable, and after the first twenty minutes, I remember thinking it was really, really… gay. A bunch of male astronauts crash land on an unknown planet, strip naked and bathe with one another, and lie around musing how much they miss their dear friend Landon. It was pretty weird, and no one really explained quite why a movie that supposedly made a pretty strong case for the Civil Rights movement, had so many naked men in it. Flash forward 30 years and several B-movie sequels, and you’ve got Tim Burton, master of the modern day gothic, giving us a pretty uneven remake. Was it necessary? I don’t know, but it certainly had way fewer naked dudes. Skip another 10 years, and Hollywood does what it does best – squeezing blood from a stone, reigniting the franchise with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, set for release this summer.

Starring James Franco and Brian Cox, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is set in modern times, and is supposed to be the beginning point for what would eventually become the planet of the apes that Heston knew so well. Forget that we already know the punch line, and that the planet that is ruled by super-intelligent monkeys is actually Earth, Rise of the Apes shows us how we got there. Franco, a scientist working on a cure for brain damage victims, tests his new serum on primates (like all good movie scientists – see Outbreak). A friend to the funky monkeys he operates on, Franco’s ‘Will’ begins to notice that while the brain does indeed begin to repair itself, it doesn’t stop there, and grants higher intelligence to the apes that receive the drug. Soon the captive gorillas learn how to open their cages, and all hell breaks loose from there, unleashing a horde of super-smart damn dirty apes upon the city.

Now let’s set aside the obvious first question about James Franco as a convincing genius scientist, and just focus on the movie in general for now. A film about scientists who go too far and have to deal with playing God? Fine. A movie where humans are attacked by intelligent animals? Great! I loved Jurassic Park. But a Planet of the Apes prequel where all the apes terrorizing the city are actual apes? Wait just one minute there. A movie where monkeys get loose and trash the place is fine, but already knowing ahead of time that they’re going to win, and eventually turn into upright walking and talking Roddy McDowalls, just doesn’t work for me. The apes in the movie don’t appear to have formed language skills, and they’re still knuckle dragging gorillas with ferocious wild tendencies. When I watch a ‘Planet of the Apes’ movie, I want my monkeys talking, using tools, and basically living the life I do now; in a “civilized society.” What I’m getting is a movie about a bunch of apes escaping from the zoo.

Now, onto the question of James Franco as a brilliant biologist. Sure, I don’t know the guy, and given stories I’ve heard, I bet he’s very well-read and able to formulate abstract thoughts. However, I’ve never heard of the guy constructing complex enzymes needed to rebuild cell structure, and frankly, the majority of the roles I’ve seen him either show him as a half-baked actor (Flyboys), or a fully baked stoner (Pineapple Express, “Freaks and Geeks”). Yes, he showed much range in last year’s 127 Hours, but he was playing a granola nature boy, who let’s face it, was probably high the night before heading out into the canyons of Moab, Utah. His look, mannerisms, even his voice, just scream Liberal Arts, and for us to believe that he holds advanced medical degrees, let alone even made it through his pre-med classes, have us calling shenanigans right off the bat. Not something you want your viewer to have to constantly fight the urge to question throughout an entire film.

So, will it suck?

Yes, of course. Franco is ill-equipped for the role, and hasn’t yet established himself as an actor with the range to tackle anything more than a high-ranking lab assistant. And the movie doesn’t provide any of the social commentary that could be made of our still very racially segregated state. It’s just another action movie that omits the big questions, much like Will Smith’s I Am Legend. Remember what we thought about Tim Burton’s movie? I’ll remind you – “not much”. The original Planet of the Apes was a science fiction fable about what could happen in the nuclear age when we blast our cities back to the pre-dawn era, and where humans are the sub-species to a master race of apes. Was there action? Sure, a little horseback riding and hand to hand combat, but that only served to drive the underlying message. Burton’s apes were wildly jumping monkeys running through the jungle, and the movie just didn’t work until the final scene, which only left us wanting to see that, not the previous 90 minutes we just sat through. With Rise of the Planet of the Apes, it seems like we’re getting a movie that is meant to set up a franchise, but not necessarily a movie that we want or need to see. It’s nice to know just how the apes came to get their super-intellect, but forgive me for saying that I’d much rather watch a film that questions what would happen if the primates were the ones running society, rather than a movie where a bunch of apes run amok.

The Hangover 2 Official Trailer

24 Feb

The Wolf Pack is back, but where’s Doug? 

So we finally get our first look at the much anticipated follow up to the Zach Galifianakis show that was The Hangover.  The sequel got a lot of publicity even before the trailer dropped.  Trying to double dip on its cameo-of-the-year with Mike Tyson‘s appearance, the producers cast anti-Semite and accused wife beater Mel Gibson as a crazy tattoo artist.  After a cast mutiny, the director gave the Aussie the boot and cast Liam Neeson instead.

The most promising aspect of the teaser is the absence of Doug…or maybe he’s been turned into that monkey.  Easily the weakest part of the first, yet the peg that makes the plot possible.  Now we’re following Ed Helms’ Stu to Thailand for his marriage to Jamie Chung (poised to have a big year with her gig in Sucker Punch).  The boys are on the run from some trouble.  Who knows what it is at this point, but it will be outrageous enough to top the hijinks of the first movie. 

We’re excited about the plot centering around Helms’ character.  He was under-utilized in the first film and was reduced to over-reacting to any given surprise.  We can only hope he’ll cap off his wedding with a song he composed himself.  Galifianakis is always a treat.  Maybe he’s annoying to some, but he will definitely have the most interesting lines.  Bradley Cooper is a great alpha male but was pretty much just eye candy in the last one.  Unfortunately though, a quick look at reveals that Tyson is back and so is the dreadful Ken Jeong.  I will only defend his acting in the NBC show, “Community.”  But what may be the biggest coup in movie cameo history is none other than Nanny groper Bill Clinton.

The Caucasian version of Billy Dee Williams

So, will it suck? 

No.  I was in the minority when the first one came out in that I thought it stunk.  Galifianakis shined, but it just seemed superficially funny.   I’m not going to like this one either unless Helms takes the lead with meatier lines.  I know he’s supposed to be milquetoast, but he’s in Thailand now and he has a tattoo on his face.  Anything goes.  Despite my misgivings, this will be a hit at the box office and will be quoted for years to come.  Maybe in the next one they’ll accidentally kill Doug and have to pass off his life impaired body ala Weekend at Bernie’s.

Sucker Punch

22 Feb

by josh

Remember when movies were filmed on soundstages or in real -life settings, and models and rubber costumes were used to stand in for spaceships and weird lookin’ aliens? Chances are that you don’t, seeing as how even dramas are now winning visual effects Oscars, and Hollywood movies are charging faster and further into the digital world, replacing backgrounds and sometimes entire characters, using CGI.  However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While many movies got it incredibly wrong (Episode I: Phantom Menace, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow), some of them actually get it right, like 300’s all CGI backdrop (and possibly abs), and Sin City’s comic-book style violence and story-telling. Fitting then those directors will continue to go with what works, and Zack Snyder, the man who brought you 300, returns to theaters this spring with the highly stylized riot grrrl flick, Sucker Punch:

Set in the 1950’s, Sucker Punch tells the story of ‘Babydoll’ (played by Emily Browning), a young girl sent to live in a mental institution, after everyone she knows dies, and she goes all “Section 8” on her evil stepfather. Once locked up, she befriends other institutionalized girls (Abbie Cornish, Jenna Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung), who are fed up with the shabby treatment at the girls home (and some guy named ‘Blue’), and vow to escape into an alternate reality in their minds, to pick up weapons and items needed to escape the real world facility. A map, fire, a knife and a key – all good things to have handy when making a jailbreak, but the fifth thing’s a mystery, and we’ll just have to go along on their journey to see if they all make it out alive.

First thing that comes to mind when watching this trailer is Coooool! Hot chicks in thigh-highs, playing with guns and swords in settings ranging from WWII to a robotic future – could a fanboy ask for more? Kicking off the clip with some Led Zeppelin really sets the tone, as the depressing institution facilities, complete with forced labor and a wicked girl fight, reminds us that we’re a far cry from Little Orphan Annie, and “hard knock life” doesn’t really cover it. The girls have it pretty rough, but a dance teacher (played by the always beautiful Carla Gugino) teaches them how to escape their reality, and fight their captors in the process, which gets the ball rolling for what looks to be one kick-ass adventure.

Now the special effects we get aren’t necessarily groundbreaking, but it’s the flip-flop between the reality and fantasy worlds, and the prospect that what you do in the fantasy world will help you escape your real-life jailers, gets us all jazzed up about the plot of the movie. We got the same thing in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, and it’s exciting to see how the real and fantasy worlds parallel each other. In Sucker Punch, there’s sure to be no lack of action or excitement to be had in either world, and if Pan’s Labyrinth was a beautiful and heartbreaking fairy tale, then Sucker Punch is going to be its amped up, psychotic first cousin.

But, will it suck?

No. There are enough movies throughout the year that play on a handful of screens and get the title of “must see” and “year’s best,” but let’s be honest, sometimes we want to break out and have a little fun at the movies. We got that last year with Kick-Ass, and the year before that with J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot; sometimes it’s better to set the brain on coast and enjoy a little eye-candy. In the post-Holiday wasteland that January and February can be for Hollywood movies, Sucker Punch is going to be that first great ride of the year, gearing us up for the summer blockbusters that lie just around the corner. Lots of action, a bit of thinking, and girls running around in skimpy clothing? Looks like our spring awakening has just begun…

To preview the Sucker Punch movie posters, click here…

Emily Browning in Sucker Punch


11 Feb

by josh

Comic book movies generally fall into two categories – the ones that take the genre seriously, hiring top-rate directors and incorporating realistic plots and action (Iron Man, Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise), and the cash grabs, starring lessen known characters, quickly thrown together in the hopes of capitalizing off the genre (Ghost Rider, The Punisher). But what happens when you combine the two? I mean, what would we get if they took a middle-of-the-road superhero, and beefed it up with A-List actors and a director whose resume reads more “Shakespeare” than “Superman”? Well, we’d get Thor, the upcoming comic book movie that looks to stand out among the crowded pack this summer.

Directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Natalie Portman and the relatively unknown Australian actor Chris Hemsworth (he played Captain Kirk’s dad in the latest Star Trek) as the titular Norse god, Thor is your classic Shakespearean tale; reckless son is banished by his king of a father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), and must protect Earth from his evil half brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Hmm…that sounds like eight or nine different Shakespeare plays. At any rate, aside from being a comic book movie, this sounds right up Branagh’s alley.

From watching the trailer, we can deduce three things: 1. Thor is NOT a God, per se, but rather an alien, or warrior from another dimension, 2. Thor and his mighty hammer, the nearly unpronounceable Mjolnir, are mistaken by the government as special ops weapons, and 3. Chris Hemsworth really likes to walk around without his shirt on. Those three things are certain. The rest of the plot is still unknown, with the biggest gap being why the hell Natalie Portman is there! Does she work for the government? Is she just a random (beautiful) citizen that happens to find Thor as he crashes down from who knows where? Either way, Branagh came up with some reason to add this highly regarded actress to his movie, and hopefully we’re better off for it.

Now, adding up the Shakespeare references, combining the kick-ass action of Thor taking out an entire military base with only fists and mid-air double-footed kicks, and bouncing back between real-world and Thor’s home world (Asgard – we looked it up), the trailer gets a bit jumbled. How much of the film is going to center around the magical world of Gods and monsters, and how much will it take place here on Earth, with our lesser, Earthly foes? It’ll be a fine line to walk weaving the two together, but at this point, it kinda reminds us of the Heman movie Masters of the Universe, starring Dolph Lundgren. Muscle bound hero who wields a magical weapon and battles otherworldly foes on Earth and other dimensions? Apparently I’m not the first one to come up with this.

So, will it suck?

No. Comic book movies are a tricky sort. Yes, to date, Thor’s closest claim to being a household name was in 1987’s Adventures in Babysitting (with a young Vincent D’Onofrio playing the part!), but with news of a full on Avengers movie, and the likes of Branagh and Portman along for the ride, it’s clear this isn’t some rush job, and both the studio and Branagh took their time getting together a good script and filming a good movie. Judging by the sheer premise of the film and Thor comic book, this isn’t going to be a gritty, ultra-realistic world like Nolan’s Gotham City, but with a superb cast and a Shakespearean pedigree behind the camera, not to mention how kick-ass Thor looks in his full armor and cape getup, we see this combination of the Bard and summer blockbuster as a match made in Valhalla.

Thor, the new film

Captain America: The First Avenger

9 Feb

by brian

Way better than JD Salinger’s kid

Nerds have been salivating over this movie since it was announced.  Now, everyone who was watching the Super Bowl is drooling and it’s not because of the guacamole.  The foremost reason I’m in love with this movie already is because of Chris Evans’ scrawny frame.  Jealousy overcome, I am now better than him.  What, the super serum worked?  Ok, well that was short lived. 

There’s a lot packed into this thirty second spot.  We see the genesis of our hero in a special effect body mash-up that was expertly used in The Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonThe trailer spends a lot of time showing this part of the movie.  I assume they do this because they’re not finished shooting and this is all the usable footage.  They will do well to get through the transformation process quickly and get to the badassery.  And boy is the badassery…well, bad ass.

Evans fills out the patriotic costume very well.  He looks like he was born in it.  The outfit is clearly Captain America, yet it seems better.  Instead of a comic book artist drawing unnecessary appointments, this costume looks like it was made with purpose…like it actually has tactical value.  I like that. 

Evans will bring his signature smart-alec attitude to the role and at the same time he will fill it like the leader Captain America is.  While we’ve been fawning over Evans, the most interesting three frames of the trailer comes late when Hugo Weaving reveals his sinewy Red Skull visage for the first time.  One of the best comic book villains of all time, Red Skull is evil incarnate and will be one of the most fun characters to watch on the big screen in 2011.


Good thing they took Accutane off the market

So, will it suck? 

No.  A patriotic super hero played by an actor who can deliver deadly one-liners and punches will win big at the box office and with critics.  Hugo Weaving gave us one of the best bad guys of cinema with The Matrix’s Agent Smith.  He will deliver again with Red Skull.  I have a feeling the comic book aficionados will appreciate this movie as well.  Just look out at ComicCon for all the cosplayers in their American flag uniforms.

Your Highness

17 Jan

By josh

It’s easy to spot a stoner movie; the raunchy humor, the silly pratfalls, the actors who are in it, and the countless references to pot. Even the titles are cleverly disguised innuendos, like How High, Half Baked, and Dazed and Confused. So what happens when you take the obvious signs of stoner film heaven, and add A-List Hollywood names and big-time production values? Well, you get Your Highness, the next big bowl-packing hit from the guys that brought you Pineapple Express

*Warning: Red band trailer may contain scenes not suitable for all audiences

Starring James Franco and Danny McBride as two brothers, one gallant and one gastrically challenged,  who must set out on a quest to rescue Franco’s bride-to-be (Zooey Deschanel) from an evil wizard (Justin Theroux), this period piece plays like The Princess Bride for today’s kids. Except this one has the mouth of a sailor, and a really hot bikini-clad Natalie Portman. Starring as a Xena-like warrior they pick up along the way, Portman makes a rare comedic appearance here and hangs tough with her stoner pedigree costars. After fighting off monsters and foes along the way, the unlikely band of rescuers defeat the wizard, get the girl back, and all live happily ever after.

The most unlikely thing about this band of travelers, however, is who they are in real life. While Franco and McBride starred alongside stoner kingpin Seth Rogen in 2008’s Pineapple Express, they are by no means pot-film newbies, with Franco cutting his teeth as a burnout in Judd Apatow’s “Freaks and Geeks” and McBride knocking out inebriated audiences since 2006’s The Foot Fist Way. But as of late, Franco has been getting serious Oscar attention over his portrayal of a self-made amputee in 127 Hours, not to mention the fact that he’ll be hosting the awards show alongside Anne Hathaway come February. And let’s not forget Portman, who is also generating serious Oscar buzz for Black Swan, which she already won the Golden Globe for – what are these two A-Listers doing in a stoner flick that is as crass and tasteless as anything you’d find on a frat guy’s movie shelf?

Having fun, apparently. After his breakout role in Foot Fist, McBride has been doing solid comedy work in Hollywood, and is considered one of the leading comedic minds in movies right now, recruiting friends and fans to make appearances in his hit HBO show “Eastbound and Down.” Penning the script and reuniting with his Pineapple Express director, the film combines big, unpretentious laughs with big-budget special effects, and they invite their friends along to enjoy the ride. Portman and Franco fit right in, with the only sore thumb sticking out in Deschanel, who has always seemed a more delicate flower when it comes to gross-out comedy, and her screen time looks to be minimal here, anyway.

So, will it suck?

No. With a surprisingly competent cast, rich blockbuster effects, and a script written by one of Hollywood’s up-and-coming comedy kings, this should prove to be the first big quotable movie of the year. While some might write it off as lacking any brain cells, those who have seen McBride’s work know that the crude humor is completely infectious, and with assistance from future Oscar winners Franco and Portman, there’s no doubt that this journey is going to be anything but fun. As an action film, a fairytale, and a romance movie, this should prove to be one that we’ll be watching years from now, as a companion to our copy of The Princess Bride, but with way more dick jokes.

...not to mention Natalie Portman in a thong.

Will It Suck TV for Jan. 7th, 2011

6 Jan

The holiday’s are over.  You’re back to work or school just phoning it in.  Guess what?…so is Hollywood.  Hear what the WillItSuck guys have to say about Nick Cage’s “Season of the Witch” and Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Country Strong.”

Yogi Bear The Movie

13 Dec

by brian

You all must have been very bad this year. Our Christmas present from Warner Bros. is a 3D installment of one of the most boring cartoon characters ever. Yogi Bear hits theatres December 17th, just in time for us to curse God right before his son’s birthday.

Yogi is a mix of live action and animation. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? it aint. Starring Tom Cavanagh , Anna Faris, Dan Aykroyd as “Yogi” and Justin Timberlake as “Boo Boo”, this movie is one that doesn’t seem to be made for kids. Sure it’s animated and filled with prat falls, but take a look at the cast. Tom Cavanagh was the quirky Ed on NBC and the quirky brother of Dr. John Dorian on Scrubs…on NBC. Anna Faris attained notoriety in Scary Movie. The last time Dan Aykroyd was relevant to kids was when he starred as “Ray Stantz” in Ghostbusters. I’m sure kids know who Justin Timberlake is, but it’s probably not from his days in *NSYNC (it’s hilarious when my nephew sings that holiday song we all love, “Dick in a Box”). The last piece of evidence that this movie was made for reminiscing older people is the TV Guide. Check it. Is Yogi Bear the cartoon on any channel? I don’t know one kid who prefers Yogi to “Yu-Gi-Oh!”

I always thought Yogi’s antics and plans to ruin pick-a-nics were blah. Ranger Smith caught Yogi and Boo Boo again…oh that Yogi. Oh look, a bear using a magnet to steal a lunch box. There he is again, this time it’s a fishing rod, or maybe he bribed some ants to walk away with the watermelon, and now he’s being tested for diabetes…oh, wait…that was the “very special episode of Yogi.”

So, Will It Suck?

….Yup. Kids aren’t impressed with Yogi. They won’t appreciate Dan Aykroyd. Justin Timberlake’s voice is unrecognizable as Boo Boo and Anna Faris is a straight to DVD Scooby Doo feature away from being out of the business all together. I do think the grown-ups will like Cavanagh. He kinda seems perfect for Ranger Smith. But, for all those who prefer the darker days of Yogi when he busted that miners’ strike or told his drunk father what he really thought, check out the video below for the alternate ending to this weekend’s release.

Green Lantern

29 Nov

By josh

Hollywood is running a glut of superhero movies right now, and if you think it’s already overloaded, just wait until the Avengers movie comes out. But in the meantime, we’re getting the comic book backpages. Sure, “Superman” and “Batman” were naturals, and okay, “Spider-Man” and “The Incredible Hulk” proved their worth as popular 70’s TV shows, but along the way someone got greedy. We got a Catwoman spinoff directed by a guy with one name, Ghost Rider starring an entirely too old Nicolas Cage and some fake hair, and not one but two Punisher movies, only one of which had Thomas Jane. And let’s not forget that Daredevil starred both Ben Affleck and Colin Farrell (shudder – possibly the worst offense of all). But while we keep getting movies made about superheroes that barely anyone outside of a comic book convention has ever heard of, should we immediately write them off as quickly made cash grabs? I mean, the best part about last year’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine might just have been the five minutes Ryan Reynolds was onscreen as the relatively unknown “Deadpool.” It left you wondering, could Reynolds have the charisma to carry an entire movie about a comic book character that 90% of the populace has never even heard of? Well, wonder no more, as Green Lantern opens up next summer, and we’ve got our first glimpse at the trailer.

Reynolds plays Hal Jordan, a daring test pilot who flies by the seat of his pants both in and out of the cockpit, and Blake Lively plays his by-the-book partner who seems like she could be a real uppity one. After having to ditch a plane mid-air, it seems like Jordan’s life couldn’t get any worse, but then he finds an alien that crash landed to earth, who informs him that he has been chosen by a very special ring to join the Green Lantern Corps to protect the universe, and anything he can dream up in his mind, the ring makes happen; a very exclusive job for only the most fearless. After playing around with the ring for a bit, a very big-headed Peter Sarsgaard proves to be a threat to society, and a CGI suited Green Lantern must stop him from doing….something.

This movie has been getting buzz since it was announced Reynolds would be taking the role, rather than a much-expected Deadpool spinoff, and then over the summer, Entertainment Weekly released photos of the all-CGI suit that would be used in the film (that’s right, the entire suit has been painted on in post-production), that started debates about how real the entire thing could possibly be. But now we get the trailer, and by the looks of it, all five seconds, we don’t have any reason to complain about the suit….yet. In fact, we don’t have much to complain about at all. Reynolds seems his normal, charming self, and aside from a more sci-fi tale than your normal superhero movie, as we visit alien worlds and see alien versions of other Green Lanterns, the whole thing looks to be really well put together.

But, there is one gripe I have, and that’s in Blake Lively. She seems fine on “Gossip Girl”, and in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and she wasn’t the worst thing about this summer’s The Town, but acting next to Reynolds, who just seems like a natural in front of the camera, is proving Lively to be a liability in the couple seconds we see of her in the trailer. On top of that, we just have to question how the director is going to play the whole “anything I see in my mind, I can create” scenario, as the only real power we see so far is in the form of a giant cartoon fist knocking out three bad guys in a back alley. Will they take a knowing nod to the comic book art of the golden age, or is this going to get kiddie and campy real quick?

So, will it suck?

No. Reynolds has just been fun to watch, starting back in 2002 with his big-screen breakout with Van Wilder to the guy’s version of a chick-flick with 2008’s Definitely, Maybe. He’s relaxed, charming, and funny, and yes, we might just have a movie crush on him. So expect him to carry the movie, much like Robert Downey Jr. did with Iron Man. The major question comes in the form of the graphics – what will that suit look like in action, and how cartoony will the ring’s special powers actually be? From the looks of it, we aren’t worried, as the suit seems to come off with a surprising touch of reality, and that “giant punch” looks more like a clever in-joke for comic book fans, that will probably be played up minimally in the film. Summer seems far away, but from what we’re seeing, in our books, “green” means go.

Cowboys & Aliens

27 Nov

By josh

Hollywood is in love with alien invasion movies lately. Skyline premiered earlier this month, and the trailer for Battle: Los Angeles is now previewing in theaters. It seems like there’s a veritable invasion movie renaissance happening right now. However, what those two movies have in  common – hostile aliens invading modern-day L.A. – is probably the biggest thing that sets it apart from next summer’s big close encounter flick, Cowboys & Aliens, as the name so clearly gives away, these aliens make their run at earth’s domination in the wild, wild west. With a premise that has B-movie written all over it, this Steve Spielberg-produced, Jon Favreau-directed film looks to be an A-list blockbuster of the first kind.

The trailer opens up with Daniel Craig awaking alone in the desert with no memory, and a strange other-worldly metal bracelet on his left wrist. He proves to be a wanted man, and lawmaker Harrison Ford wants the rights to him after he’s captured by a local posse. All standard practices in any western, oh, but then I forgot about the alien attack. Spaceships come down and start tearing up the frontier town, and you can officially kiss your traditional western goodbye. Ford and Craig team up, Olivia Wilde plays the beautiful girl, and that bracelet on James Bond’s wrist proves to be the only weapon that can stop the unfriendly visitors. So far, so good.

How this movie has kept such a low profile while in production is beyond me, but from this first look, it looks to be a lot of fun. It’s great to see Daniel Craig team up with Harrison Ford who, aside from the phenomenally disappointing return to the Indiana Jones universe with Crystal Skull, hasn’t been in a legitimate action movie in years. It is going to be incredibly fun to see Ford in a serious action role again, for despite its silly premise and steampunk cues, Cowboys & Aliens takes on a more serious tone. With a feel of the recent War of the Worlds remake (the sights and sounds are very reminiscent), we’re in for a thriller of an alien movie, with one hell of a twist.

The people you can thank for that tone is Worlds director Spielberg, and Favreau, who after proving he can bring box office gold with Iron Man, has gotten quite the clout as big-time director in Hollywood. It’s clear that as producer, Spielberg’s got his fingerprints all over this, and he’s got quite the track record with alien films, with Worlds and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But let’s not forget who was responsible for that completely misguided fourth Indian Jones film, and despite Favreau’s recent success, unfortunately we remember the last time he visited space with 2005’s Zathura. Both director’s have hits and misses when it comes to science fiction, but with Spielberg they’ve proved rare, and hopefully Favreau can continue to ride this high.

So, will it suck?

No. And I say that as objectively as I can. Yes, I love Steven Spielberg; yes, I’m a huge fan of both Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig; yes, I’m in love with Olivia Wilde, and I’ve been rooting for Favreau since Swingers came out in the 90’s. But viewing this trailer, you’ve got two things going on – you’ve got the Old West-meets-aliens thing going on, and you’ve got a smirk-free, straight-faced take on it. How easy would it have been to be tongue-in-cheek with this one? I mean, remember what happened with Wild Wild West? We praise the person who proposed this movie, and after studio execs had a good chuckle, said “No, I’m serious.” Aside from the great casting choices, the thing that’s making this movie work for me is that fact that Favreau and Spielberg are taking a good idea seriously, no matter how ridiculous the concept may be.


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