Aliens Invade The Super Bowl
Are alien invasion films "in" again? You'd certainly think so what with four of the major Super Bowl TV spots featuring the extraterrestrial menaces up to no good. We've got three of the four right here (the fourth film, Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, isn't really an October Country kinda film, nor am I a Michael Bay kinda guy, so he can go get his free publicity elsewhere.)
First up, Super 8. Written and directed by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Joy Ride, Fringe) and produced by Steven Spielberg (Jaws, War of the Worlds), Super 8 is said to follow a group of six young children in 1978 Ohio, as they use a Super 8 camera to make their own home movie. One night while filming near a remote stretch of railroad track, the children witness a truck collide with an oncoming train leading to a catastrophic derailment. Amidst the fire and destruction, something inhuman emerges.
Perhaps it's the trailers' music, accompanied by shots of children racing around on bicycles in picturesque small town locals, but the TV spot has a wonderfully nostalgic vibe, recalling the days when Spielberg was working with Amblin Entertainment don't ya think? There is no way I'm missing this one. Super 8 will be in theaters June 10 from Paramount Pictures.
Next up, Cowboys & Aliens. Based on the 2006 graphic novel of the same name, Cowboys & Aliens is a science fiction / western film directed by Jon Favreau (Swingers, Iron Man) and produced, yet again, by Steven Spielberg (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Poltergeist). Starring Daniel Craig (Dream House, The Invasion), Harrison Ford (Raiders of the Lost Ark, What Lies Beneath), Sam Rockwell (Clownhouse, Joshua, Moon) and genre stalwart Clancy Brown (The Goon, John Dies at the End, The Burrowers), the plot concerns a loner named Jake Lonergan (Craig) in 1873 Arizona, who awakens with no memory of his past and a mysterious shackle around his wrist. He enters the town of Absolution where he learns he is a notorious criminal wanted by many people, including Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Ford), who rules the town with an iron fist. But Absolution soon faces an even greater threat when mysterious forces attack the town from the sky, taking anyone in their path. While Jake's shackle holds the key to defeating them, he must align himself with Dolarhyde and other former enemies to make a stand against this mysterious and more powerful new foe.
I'm on the fence with this one. Good hokey fun, or ridiculous catastrophe, I guess we'll see come July 29th when Universal Studios releases Cowboys & Aliens into theaters. Though I have this nagging idea in the back of my mind that this story was tailored made for the likes of Joe R. Lansdale to gets his wackadoodle fingers into. What a movie that would have been. Oh, if wishes were horses.
The third and final movie, Battle: Los Angeles, is Jonathan Liebesman's (The Killing Room, our review can be read here) sci-fi / horror film inspired by "true events".For years, there have been documented cases of UFO sightings around the world - Buenos Aires, Seoul, France, Germany, China. But in 2011, what were once just sightings will become a terrifying reality when Earth is attacked by unknown forces. As people everywhere watch the world's great cities fall, Los Angeles becomes the last stand for mankind in a battle no one expected. It's up to a Marine staff sergeant (Aaron Eckhart) and his new platoon to draw a line in the sand as they take on an enemy unlike any they've ever encountered before.
I find there is really never a middle ground with invasion films like these. They are either awesome (War of the Worlds, Mars Attacks) or they are dreadfully awful (Independence Day, Skyline). Director Liebesman filmography isn't a scale by we can anticipate what to expect either, having had a rather spotty career thus far. From the divine (The Killing Room) to the so-so (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, it had it's moments) to the just plain atrocious (Darkness Falls), if Liebesman's output is any indication, we could have anything from the next great, classic invasion film on our hands, to the next multi-million dollar yawn, or the next great Hollywood train wreck. The presence of Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight, Rabbit Hole) lends a bit of class that has me leaning one way though (fingers crossed). At either rate, the studio knows how to cut a wicked theatrical trailer, and now, a TV spot that certainly has my attention. Battle: Los Angeles will be in theaters March 11 from Columbia Pictures.