Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cowboys vs. Aliens

A recent trip to the cinema served as a reminder for to watch (and probably shake my head in incredulity) this summer’s Cowboys &. Aliens. Despite the respectable names in the cast such as Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Harrison Ford, whose presence seems indicative that their careers are temporarily trapped in rut, I can’t quite decide whether Cowboys & Aliens aims to be the typical Hollywood summer action blockbuster a parody of the genre, or even a sly, self-aware recognition of the efforts of classic mockbusters such as Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus, Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus, and Snakes on a Train. It seems as if the producers picked these two groups for the sole reason of appealing to the nostalgia factor of old westerns as well as the our preoccupation with super beings from the unknown (c.f. Alien, Predator, Alien vs. Predator, etc.)

With that in mind, I was struck by how consumed the movie industry is with the depiction of massive, apocalyptic natural disaster and similar large catastrophes. Since Hollywood is fairly well attuned to the demands of movie-goers, it seems as if society by large has developed some sort of death wish. From King Kong in the 1930s to the asteroid films Armageddon and Deep Impact in the late 1990s Emmerich’s Independence Day and the Day After Tomorrow, it is clear that we enjoy seeing hundreds, if not thousands, if not millions of other people perish on the big screen. Cowboys & Aliens seems to share a similar sentiment, pitting a presumably highly advanced race of extra terrestrials against a motley crew of dusty westerners, many of whom will probably die in the face of fighting these invaders. Perhaps this is a manifestation of some kind of defense mechanism where we find it hard to watch violence when it hits too close to home, such as Spike’s attempts to rape Buffy. The violence on a large scale dehumanizes the violence and carnage, thereby divorcing it from the value we place in life. At some point, intimate and shocking violence turns into a spectacle where the marginal horror due to additional destruction is small and tempered by the thrills of watching epic battles. With that said, I can say I'm looking forward to the parody of this pseudo-parody. Let's hope it's titled along the lines of Ninja vs. Cowgirls


  1. I saw the trailer for this movie as well and really could not determine what to make of the upcoming film. Although the cast is legitimate and the idea of cowboys fighting aliens is novel, a certain part of me was not impressed with the plot. People seem to be enthralled with the idea of the end of the world, but the concept of the world ending at the hands of the cowboys is a tad ridiculous. I respect the acting of Daniel Craig, but his wielding of a wrist-attached laser of some sort seems campy to me. Pitting highly-advanced aliens against the simple lifestyle of cowboys. I wouldn't see the movie in theaters, but I may rent it at some point just to see if the movie lives up to the action in its preview. Until then, I will continue to wait for Craig to appear in the upcoming James Bond film.

  2. The world coming to an end is an intriguing concept because it makes one contemplate a universe without humans. Not only is the individual dead, but also the future of human race. As for myself, I do not find an apocalypse scary since I have nothing to relate it to and no institution has taught me how to prepare or what to do. I consider the sun absorbing the earth in a couple billions years way more interesting and scarier than aliens vs. cowboys. Nevertheless, I am still going to see the movie. Daniel Craig is a force.

  3. When I first heard about this movie I just laughed. The title reminded me of snakes on a plane just because its basically just saying what happens in the movie. I really thought this was going to be along the lines of snakes on a plane and be more of a joke than an actual blockbuster movie. But after seeing the trailer I think it is going to be much more legit (compared to snakes on a plane that is). people will go to see this movie just because its got big explosions, a bunch of CGI and of course Daniel Craig

  4. Well, Stalin said it best: "One death is a tragedy; A million deaths is a statistic." It's exciting to see the spectacle of destruction on the big screen, especially when cultural tension is high. The Cold War inspired a good deal of apocalypse movies, just because everyone was worried about the actual end of the world. I'm not sure if the interest these days is actually sparked by something like that though, since the fears of nuclear Armageddon have mostly passed.


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