Which TV westerns would you like to see made into movies? There’s one in the works that I just found out about. I saved that info for last, because this blog started out on movie westerns for 2011, a mix of cross-genre and traditional approaches that says a lot about the changes in our culture.
To me, the most interesting mash-up is Cowboy’s and Aliens, maybe because my husband is a big Sci-Fi fan. The bigger the monster, the better. You can’t have too many giant ants crawling toward your hometown. Neither can you have too many zombies threatening to take over every person on Planet Earth. I thought of him when I was googling stuff for a recent blog. A movie poster came up for Cowboys and Aliens. I thought it was hilarious. Surely someone was joking . . .
The movie comes out in July 2011 and it stars Daniel Craig, my favorite James Bond by far. It also stars Olivia Wilde and Harrison Ford, who is forever etched in my mind as Han Solo, space cowboy extraordinaire. The idea originated as a 2006 graphic novel. Created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and written by Fred Van Lente and Andrew Voley, Cowboys and Aliens mixes the western and science fiction genres.
Here’s the write up from IMDB: “A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys are all that stand in their way.” I love this! My husband won’t be able to resist the alien spaceship, and I’m on board with the cowboys.
Cowboys and Aliens isn’t the only cross-genre western to be in the movie theaters. Has anyone seen Rango? It’s out now, and I confess I haven’t seen it. Johnny Depp is the voice of Rango, a chameleon who ends up in the town of Dirt. There he meets a community of desert creatures in need of a sheriff. The story is full of classic western-isms. A bank gets robbed. Someone cuts off the water to the town. A grizzled old cowboy gives Rango much needed advice and wisdom. And, for course, there’s a duel.
Rango is a western . . . it’s also a cartoon and an alternative reality story. What an interesting mix!
I’m pretty much a purist when it comes to western movies. True Grit (both the old and the new) is more my style, but I’m excited about these cross-genre movies. Not only are they crossing lines in terms of “story,” they’re crossing into places where westerns will find new fans. Both movies will have video games, and Rango is bound to make a splash with children.
It all bodes well for the western genre. But I’m most curious to see is what it does to western traditions. I can’t help but think of Gene Autry’s “Cowboy’s Code.” I hope the new movies reflect those values, because that’s what makes the western genre great.
I just did some more googling and found something else. It looks like The Big Valley is coming to the big screen with a story about Heath, the Barkley son played by Lee Majors. Filming is on hiatus, but it’s supposed to be finished this year. With Lee Majors (as Tom Barkley, the father) and Aidan Quinn (not as Heath, but he’s the lead), I’m all for it!
Has anyone seen Rango? Who else is eager to see Cowboys and Aliens? Any thoughts on The Big Valley? All this movie talk, and now I’m in the mood for popcorn!