Summer Movie Guide 2011

WonderCon: ‘Cowboys And Aliens’, ‘Immortals’, And ‘Dylan Dog’ Footage Breakdown

Sunday, April 3 by

Cowboys And Aliens

As far as I was concerned, Jon Favreau just showed some footage of a cool new western he made. I was looking at all the western parts and what impressed me were the silent exploration and the subtle score.

The western town looks like a Leone/Eastwood movie, where it’s just past the studio backlot era and it looks like a real place people live. Those figures of Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig posing side by side in a widescreen frame are impressive, and Lonergan (Craig) sneaking around town to patch up his side wound is good visual storytelling.

Dolarhyde (Ford) gets a dramatic reveal, with the camera pushing in from behind as he turns around, looking up from under a hat. His issue is his cattle have been blown up, and it’s still approached like a rancher dealing with a real problem. Who would assume aliens? He drags the herder behind a horse because he assumes he’s lying about this bright light that zaps the cows (of course we see it in a flashback).

We saw a substantial alien attack. The ships za the town and snatch up some locals with their long tentacles, but Lonergan is able to blast one out of the sky with a device attached to his wrist. Lonergan establishes that he has no memory before waking up with it attached to his wrist.

After that first attack, the cowboys examine the downed ship at night. The townies are screaming about their captured family members but Dolarhyde shuts them up. A spark startles him though and he fires a round at the ship. That’s a joke, because it just clanks on the metal.

In quicker clips we saw Dolarhyde butt Lonergan with his rifle and Lonergan returned with a sock to Dolarhyde’s jaw. Alien ships fly over the stony canyons. There’s a big battlefield with horsemen galloping below the flying ships.

Jon Favreau said that the quick shot of an alien growling at a cowboy is exclusive to WonderCon, and he’s not going to show it any marketing before the movie comes out. That’s a great plan to keep the aliens a mystery, but I’m not sure the design is so original it’ll surprise anyone. I mean, a hulking mass of dark tissue with lots of pointy teeth kinda looks the same to me.

I don’t mind it. The cool part will be how the old west deals with this creature. CGI just looks like CGI, at least from a quick glimpse, so it seems to me like a familiar sort of creature to today’s audiences.

The Immortals

Immortals will benefit from the public’s interest in getting to know who this guy playing Superman is. Henry Cavill plays an action hero on Greek myth before he become The Man of Steel. At WonderCon, they showed a teaser trailer for Immortals.

I remember the teaser for 300 shown at Comic-Con and this is pretty much the same deal. There are a few memorable money shots and some flashes of setting to establish the tone. Only 300 was the first time we’d seen anything like that. Immortals REALLY looks like 300.

I’ll give Tarsem Singh credit that there’s an overall aesthetic plan. They picked out some shots of armies lining up and slow motion kill shots. It’s got that artificial golden light added in post production, set atop cliffs with fortified castle walls, so it all looks like a moving graphic novel.

Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) has a harem, an arsenal and armory. Theseus (Cavill) seems to be the only man equipped to lead armies, although Zeus (Luke Evans) is on his side so that helps. Theseus finds his bow and it seems to get a magic spark. At the end of the teaser he shoots four arrows in quick succession and they fly with zinging sounds and glowing charges of light.

One totally Tarsem shot is what looks like a grounds-eye-view of a huge battle. You see all the soldiers as if they’re standing on glass. Maybe they were supposed to be flying through the air but I got the impression they were on the ground battling hand to hand, only we got an omniscient perspective, but from below instead of above.

Theseus gives a speech to motivate his troops and he even says, “Today we fight for honor.” Tonight we dine in hell, the glory of Sparta, blah blah blah. 300 had at least three glory speeches so if Immortal talks about honor four times I guess it wins.

Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night

Only two scenes screened for Dylan Dog: Dead of Night’s WonderCon footage, but that might be good. The two clips made the film look very entertaining, didn’t overdo it or give away too much.

Both scenes focused on Marcus (Sam Huntington) and all his zombie powers. In the first clip, Dylan (Brandon Routh) is in the supermarket, pushing Marcus around in a shopping cart. Marcus actually wakes up and notices the smell of his own rotting corpse. He’s also got a tattooed left arm of a different ethnicity he doesn’t recognize. It had to be replaced and they didn’t have any more Caucasian arms.

So Dylan explains that they’re picking up floor cleaner for soap, bleach for his teeth and other ways of keeping zombies fresh. Marcus tries to eat some food left on a counter for samples, but ends up vomiting it into a plastic bag (zombies can’t eat food like living people do.) The deadpan timing with which Dylan hands him the bag shows that they’re onto something here.

The second scene is lit by candlelight, or Dylan’s lighter to be accurate. He and Marcus are locked in a crypt. Marcus really freaks out about it, and a scene that could be annoying is actually endearing. Marcus tries his cell phone in a panic.

It turns out, as Dylan explains, that zombies are world class diggers. Marcus has the power to dig them out. Marcus protests no, no, no, no, no, I lost count of how many “no”s he says. Huntington made it sound like character, not schtick.

Closing with a brief montage, there were monsters and a buff shirtless Routh. Dylan Dog looks like a legitimate Hollywood movie considering its underground indie pedigree. Monster makeup is a plus for me and I like the irreverence towards living with a monstrous condition.