By: James Thoo
There was a time, once, where Ridley Scott was an assured Hollywood commodity. When he was shooting a film it was a big deal, and you could almost always expect something good; No, great.
He made ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Thelma and Louise’ and ‘Black Hawk Down’. He made the outstanding ‘Gladiator’ in spite of entering day one of the shoot with only 30 pages worth of screenplay. He of course, changed the sci-fi and horror genres with the original ‘Alien’ movie.
Studio heads and producers emptied their bank accounts and sold their children to finance his every whim.
And then something changed. He was knighted. He became “Sir” Ridley Scott. And he would never make a good film again…
When I was a kid, my dad generally would rather have eaten his own face than spend time playing with me, so I would do anything I could to try and get some time with him.
One night he wanted to watch the first ‘Alien’ movie. So I stayed up and watched it with him so that we could have some quality time where he wasn’t sighing, looking at his watch, or fantasizing about a reality where he had sold me at birth to a third world child slavery ring. We watched it. And the next day, he rented the sequel and asked me if I wanted to watch it with him. It was fantastic… Except it also wasn’t. Because ‘Alien’ traumatized my imagination to the point that I would never again sleep soundly.
So now I was faced with the conundrum. Do I watch it with him to forge more of this bond between father and unwanted son? Or do I decline, let him know that I’m a pussy who may or may not have bad taste in films, and never again have the opportunity to hang out with him. I watched it with him and ended up sleeping with the lights on for the rest of the week. And when I say sleep, I mean tried to sleep. And when I say tried to sleep, I mean arranged my pillows in the shape of a human body beneath the sheets and hid in my closet with a wiffle-ball bat, a flash light and a rationed dietary program.
Anyway, the point of all of this is not to take the necessary lengths to explain how much of a vagina I am, but rather to make the point that I have a personal investment in the ‘Alien’ franchise. It was the primary mechanism for me bonding with my father throughout my childhood, and I owe the largely positive relationship that I have with him now to Sir Ridley Scott.
We bought the computer game and played together at night. We pointed at dogs on the street and laughed about what would happen if a xenomorph burst from its chest like in ‘Alien 3′. I mean, I wasn’t really laughing. I was sweating with the world’s purest form of dread that it might actually happen, but we were bonding nonetheless!
So naturally I’m excited for ‘Prometheus’. I can’t wait. I mean, Ridley Scott returning to the franchise that he built. This is going to be awesome!
But then I’m reminded by the kind of run that Ridley Scott is on.
You can’t put Muhammad Ali in front of a middling heavy weight contender today and expect him to decimate him based on the premise of what he did to people like Ernie Terrell and Sonny Liston back in the 60s. Why? Because that was a prime Ali. Now he’s an old man with a seriously debilitating handicap. That outcome is no longer reasonable to expect. Because he has the handicap.
And so does Ridley Scott. His handicap is being absolutely god awful. Here’s a look at the run that he is on coming into ‘Prometheus’:
‘Kingdom of Heaven’
Armed with – in my opinion, at worst, one of the top three screenwriters working today – Oscar winning screenwriter William Monahan, Ridley still managed to turn out an absolute turd about the crusades. The best part of this film is there is no best part… Probably the feeling of relief when it is over. Orlando Bloom gives a performance so bland that it falls on the spectrum between Vanilla Ice Cream and Low Fat Vanilla Ice Cream.
‘A Good Year’
In this movie, Ridley Scott tests the hypothesis that Russell Crowe drinking wine and nancying around the countryside for two hours is a film. For the record, the overwhelming consensus and truth is that it is not.
Russell Crowe again. Outstanding screenwriter again: Thomas Helgeland. Hey guess what?! Absolutely boring again.
‘Body of Lies’
A second Monahan script for Ridley to play around with, and somehow he made this mess. Leonardo Di Caprio makes an appearance too, in probably his worst performance/film of the decade? Don’t quote me on that. I haven’t seen ‘Revolutionary Road’. And I don’t like revolutions or roads!
So as you can see the omens are not great. But the second trailer is. It’s fantastic. So fantastic that they spoiled pretty much everything that I was wondering about before I saw the trailer. Why did they show the Space Jockeys?? But still, I’m not expecting too much because in addition to the run that Scott is on, let’s not forget the run that this franchise is on:
I’ve at times defended this movie to the hilt because I honestly believe David Fincher is the best director working today and that kind of forces me to be an apologist for the clearly atrocious early work of his career. But let’s be honest, this is the film that set the franchise on to its downward spiral and collapsed its potential like a dying star. I’ve seen Doraemon cosplay with better narratives. I enjoyed crew cut Ripley though.
If Alien 3 put the franchise on a downward spiral, this film gave it a pile driver into oblivion. In this one Sigourney Weaver plays Sarcastic Ripley and has a baby with an Alien and a bunch of other stuff that is just ridiculous and quite frankly offensive.
‘Alien vs. Predator’
Good lord. Tomes could be written of what is wrong with this movie. But I’m being pretty negative in this article though, so for the sake of balance, here are a few things that are worse than ‘Alien vs. Predator’:
- Discrimination on the basis of race
- When you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep
- That gunk you get that accumulates on your lips when you’re really, really thirsty
- The part in Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” when he sexily whispers the word “swaggy”
‘Alien vs. Predator: Requiem’
I can see the creative process when the Strauss Brothers came up with this film. Hey you know how people really like Aliens? And how Predators are freaking awesome? Well ok and now bear with me on this one… What if we made this one about a pizza delivery kid?
So yeah, not really expecting much from this film. But hopefully!
Thanks to Yes World I get to see this movie at the premiere tonight.
For more on Ridley Scott, click here.
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