Cowboys & Aliens Isn’t a Comedy, Although It Looks Funny
December 2, 2010

Cowboys & Aliens, Universal’s intended blockbuster for next summer based on a troubled comic book, has run into yet another problem: audiences think it’s a comedy when seeing the trailer.

Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig in Cowboys & Aliens

Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig in Cowboys & Aliens

Deceived by a title and a premise that many find inherently comic, potential viewers must now cope with a realization that [director Jon] Favreau wasn’t kidding when he told fans at the Comic-Con International convention last July that he planned to mix a “by-the-book, right-down-the-middle western” of the kind once made by Sergio Leone and John Ford, with really scary science fiction, like “Alien” or “Predator”.

The article goes on to cite the failure of the Wild Wild West remake as causing a change in plans for the film — which was originally intended to be more humorous, in the style of Men in Black, an action comedy — to feature a more serious tone.

Universal’s got quite an uphill struggle here. I know I’d be more likely to see a movie with a sense of humor, but this seems instead to want to be boys’ action, which bores me if there aren’t some lighter touches. I’m not sure anyone is really looking forward to this, although it’s a great premise, if handled appropriately.

13 Responses  
Rivkah writes:  

Actually, Matt and I are both really looking forward to this, but we take for granted it’s a guy film. But I like shoot-em-up guy films. :)

Not sure why people think it’s comedy, either. Just seeing the preview, it’s immediately apparent it’s a suspense/action film. There isn’t any humor or jokes. It cuts right to the action.

Of course, I think I’d see this just to get Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford in the same film. :D :D :D

Scott Cederlund writes:  

I saw the trailer for this just before Harry Potter. It seemed like the crowd may have actually been digging the trailer, showing some fun stuff without digging too much into the premise. But at the end of the trailer, when the name was announced, everyone laughed at the name of the movie.

That’s when I knew it was doomed.

Johanna writes:  

That’s an interesting clarification of the response, rather like what happened to M. Night Shyamalan with Devil — people were into the idea until his name came up on screen. Ah, the vagaries of marketing.

Lynn writes:  

The problem with Wild Wild West was not that it was a comedy. The problem was that it was *terribly written.* I think that is the first film I ever walked out of, at the pleading of the person I saw it with.

What’s really too bad is that the had all the pieces there to have done a good job, script aside. It’s odd that Universal would want to dredge up that parallel.

steve b. writes:  

To combat the perception that it’s a comedy they should add a scene where Al Swearengen shows up and calls a dinosaur a cocksucker.

Charles Knight writes:  

I think people would have to be a little slow to watch that trailer and conclude it’s a comedy.

Joan writes:  

Yeah, my reaction is much like Rivkah’s, in that I’m not sure why people are thinking it’s a comedy. The title’s a bit funny, I suppose, but I certainly didn’t notice any jokes or comedic bits in the trailer. Guns and explosions, yes. I plan to see it, because I love Westerns and they aren’t exactly thick on the ground these days (though not even that scarcity could get me into Jonah Hex), but I’m certainly not expecting Men In Black Go West. That doesn’t seem to fit at all.

Grant writes:  

I think the title alone gives the impression this is a comedy. I saw the preview at the theater and people were laughing. And not with it…more at it. As for me, I’ll see just about anything that Harrison Ford is in. Although Indy 4 did shake my faith in him just a tad. ;)

Mireille Sillander writes:  

It’s the title. When naming a piece of work, things like this should be considered. What sort of expectations would people have had if LOTR was called 4 Hobbits And Some Taller People?
I must say that I’m actually disappointed if they didn’t do it with comedic elements at all, not even dry comedy, but went with the Alien/Predator route. I guess I just don’t see the point. We have loads and loads of generic some-group-of-people vs nasty aliens/monsters movies. Why would you want to go there? You have premise that’s inherently silly and such an opportunity to make a fine dark comedy. Something unexpectedly subtle. And they just want people against aliens. It’s disappointing. I guess I’ll just have to hope it’ll be unexpectedly layered and that your two leads live up to their name.

Jim Perreault writes:  

“Cowboys and Aliens” is not the only preview that garnered a laugh that I thought odd. So did “Little Red Riding Hood”, which I thought was a pretty decent preview.

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