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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hump-Day Harangue: Alien Prequel Needs Ridley Scott!

I have, on occasion, been accused of being a little too negative. Fair enough, I'm always open to criticism. Perhaps it's a little too easy to constantly go off on a rant tearing down this sequel or that remake, demanding that some movie or another not be made, as I did recently with the Saw franchise. So today, I'm going to take the high road. I'm going to come out in favor of a new sequel--or more accurately, a new prequel. But I have one very crucial condition.

I'm all for an Alien prequel. But only--I repeat, only--if Ridley Scott is the director.

I continue to be amazed every time I see it what an extremely well-crafted and terrifying film the original Alien is. It's one I never get tired of. I guess it's a "comfort movie" for me, you might say. And although I will never go as far as many others will and say that James Cameron's sequel Aliens is even better, it is also a hell of a movie. But since then, I've watched my beloved Alien franchise go through a slow and painful death.

First there was David Fincher's Alien-cubed, which I actually enjoyed, but which was flawed in a great many ways. Killing off Hicks and the little girl before the movie even starts was probably the single most egregious. From there, I'd rather not even talk about it. Aliens ripping out Nick Tortelli's brains in some farcical horror space comedy; two half-baked and ill-conceived Predator crossovers...it's enough to make me pull an Ash and start spouting 2-percent out of my bodily orifices.

So I'm all for returning the Alien franchise to its former glory. But it has to be done right. And the only man who can pull that off, as far as I'm concerned, is the man who realized Dan O'Bannon's incredible vision in the first place back in 1979. Some may suggest Cameron, but to me, the guy has lost his mind ever since becoming "King of the World". He can go direct another 3-D movie about fish, as far as I'm concerned. I want me some Ridley.

I'm not sure what this prequel would entail exactly, but Ridley Scott has proven enough to be so completely in touch with the material that I'm sure he'd do a bang-up job. Checking out the special features on the recent Alien special edition DVD was more than enough to further convince me of that. The man speaks with great passion for the material, and remarkable insight--while admitting to not even having been much of a fan of sci-fi or horror. Normally that's strike one in my book, but in his case I find it gives him even more credibility. He approached the project with a clean slate, and created something remarkably fresh and powerful in the process.

The good news is, according to Entertainment Weekly, that 20th Century Fox, which owns the rights to the franchise, is saying it will only greenlight a prequel if Ridley directs. Now, Scott was already signed on as a producer, but had hand-picked some German commercial director by the name of Carl Erik Rinsch to helm the picture. Boo. Luckily, here is one instance in which studio meddling may actually be serving a greater good.

No word yet on whether Ridley will buckle under the pressure and consent to once again direct the actions of stuntmen in H.R. Giger-designed bodysuits, but this blogger can hope with fingers and toes crossed. It's not like the guy's not active in the director's chair anymore, and it's not like he still doesn't pack a mighty punch, as the likes of Body of Lies and American Gangster have recently shown.

So make it happen, Mr. Scott. Show us you can save Alien from mediocrity and finish (?) the series out with a real bang. And help me wash those images of Nick Tortelli in space out of my brain...


gord said...

I'm gonna be honest and say that while I love all the Alien films (minus Resurrection actually) the Directors Cut of Alien 3 is actually my favourite. There's just something about the new cut that really does it for me. Alien is good and creepy, Alien 2 is a badass action film, but I love Alien 3 for its character study and against all odds nature, real life and fictional. (much the same way I prefer Day of the Dead to the other films, all of which almost fit the Alien pattern I described above)

Sure the main characters are killed off (which actually suits the story far better), and sure the effects aren't great (remember people it's before CGI), but I think it's a great end to the trilogy and it's definitely got grit and heart. It's not a perfect drama, or a perfect sci-fi film, but I think it does both of those things quite well and as a whole it really succeeds. Check out the new Cut those who haven't. I'm not saying it'll change your mind, but after buying the film on DVD just to have them all, and previously hating it, it certainly changed mine.

Anyways, promotional rant aside, I totally agree B. Ridley's film isn't my fave of the series (it might be third in fact behind 2, I just need to see them back to back) but he's a hell of a director and if anyone knows the world best it's him.

The only thing this film needs, and I absolutely demand, is practical effects and dudes in suits. I'm taking miniatures, matte paintings, foam latex, all that stuff. It worked so damned well previously and I'd love to see them really give it a go again. CGI can be used to enhance things, but I don't want totally fake worlds, props and villains.

RayRay said...

Wow, great post, and not just because it is about one of my favorite, and yet star crossed, movies franchises. Alien and Aliens are unquestionably two fantastic movies, and I agree Alien 3 was a passable but flawed sequel.

Resurrection was awful in many ways, except for growth of the badassness of Ripley, which I find to be the only enjoyable aspect of that movie.

I have been mulling a post deconstructing the Predator cross-overs, but I have yet to get passed devolving into angry, profanity laced rants. We hates them, my preciousss.

Yet an Alien prequel would be something else, and Ridley Scoot to boot. If he could return to the flavor of Alien, with its space opera come haunted house creepiness, dispense with using the alien form as just a visual effect, would be fantastic. How often, if ever, has a franchise made such a comeback after plumbing such deplorable depths?

And will they give the man who started it all, H.R. Giger, his due without being embarrassed into doing so?

And sorry, Gord, but there is nothing on God's green earth to make me think Alien 3 is superior to the first two. It's main failing was it was essentially a cheap replay of the first, but in a prison colony instead of an M class Starfreighter. The killing off of Newt and Hicks were only insult to that injury. While not bad, it trod very little new ground, and was a standard Hollywood grab for dollars without trying too hard to make something really special. It really was a step back from where the story was going after the first two.

gord said...

Oh I'm not saying Alien 3 is BETTER, I'm just saying I like it more.

In a ratings comparison of the three films I'd give the first two 5 stars, and the third 3. I understand all its flaws and how it cannibalized/neutered the prequels and all that but I still watch it more often than the other two.

B-Sol said...

Ray, anytime you feel up to doing that Alien/Predator diatribe, feel free. After all, you're still the Vault's resident expert on space monsters.

scary clips said...

Another freakin sequel! Damn!

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