Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The Space Jockey Rides Out

Credit where credit's due: Speculative Horizons beat me to the punch on this particular news tidbit, which I cleverly favourited upon finding - the better to write about at a later date once I'd rebooted the old slowpoke - before woefully neglecting after a beastly worm seized the opportunity to destroy my wireless mouse driver, so do... well, let's take a breath. Do pop on over there to read the James Long's thoughts on Ridley Scott's forthcoming Alien prequel.

Me? I'm not, I'll confess, half so hopeful as my considered blogger colleague about Alien Zero or whatever the studio ends up calling this strange animal. The initial announcement, before Scott attached himself to the film - like a facehugger to a, umm, face - had me up in arms about another ghastly knock-off further diluting one of cinema's most potent and powerful franchises. When news broke of Ridley's return, I was slightly more hopeful. But only slightly.

Because let's be honest. The man's made some amazing films in his time, but his time, by and large, is long since past. Let's take stock. 1979 gave us Alien. The breathtaking sci-fi opus Blade Runner hit in 1982. In 1985, Ridley Scott directed Legend. 1989 wrought Black Rain. And in 1991, Thelma and Louise. That's a hell of a run, no question, but nearly two decades have passed since that last, and all Scott has to show for the time is one fantastic film, in the form of Gladiator, one reasonably good action flick - Black Hawk Down - and a whole lot of guff. Utter. Bloody. Rubbish.

Seriously. Go on and take a look at the IMDB page. We have the execrable Hannibal, the misguided Kingdom of Heaven, and A Good Year, a dreadful film in which Russell Crowe took a break from mauling journalists to drink some fine wine. Ridley Scott directed GI Jane, for goodness sake. Need I say any more?

Maybe this year's Robin Hood retooling will be decent. It remains to be seen. Certainly Scott is capable of making good cinema - great cinema, for that matter - but recalling this rather storied director's back-catalogue of film, there's a good as chance his latest vehicle for Aussie abuser Russell Crowe will be more self-indulgent tripe. I hope it won't; truly I do. But how quickly we forget.

So I'm saying: let's not go counting our chickens yet. For what it's worth, I'm glad that Ridley Scott is directing this Alien prequel. I hope he redeems himself with it; perhaps it'll mark a return to form for him. There's got to be something to it to have Scott reneging on his vow never to make a sequel, and the exploration of the space jockeys alluded to in the groundbreaking original is a fine foundation to build upon. And though cinema does not spring from visual effects and creature design alone, the potential participation of HR Giger is terribly exciting... though I would stress potential participation. This MTV interview, from which all the chatter has sprung, is just Scott throwing hopeful notions around.

But there's no question about it: to even consider taking it back to one of the people who made the first film such a revolution in cinema is a step in the right direction.

I hope for the best. I do not, for a single, solitary second, expect it.


A few hours after I wrote this article, what do you know? Another telling little tidbit slipped out, this time from Collider.com. When asked if Scott is developing the prequel as a standalone film or a potential series, the director had this to say:

"It’ll be two. It’ll be prequel one and two. Then Alien 1."

Which I think rather speaks for itself.

At least they're not roping poor Ripley in on these dubious prequel shenanigans...

1 comment:

  1. Scott needs a hit, but not sure another Alien movie will be the key. (Not sure Robin Hood will be it, either.) I still prefer to remember only Alien and Aliens.