Ridley Scott

The Martian Trailer photo
There was supposed to be a kaboom.
Although Ridley Scott has had a few misses lately, his adaptation of Andy Weir's The Martian might shape up to be quite a film. It's got a great cast with Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mar...

Not Marvin photo
Not Marvin

Plenty of first looks at Ridley Scott's The Martian


A return to space-faring form?
May 26
// Matthew Razak
The novel The Martian is still in my must read pile, but it's supposed to be a fantastic and science-based tale of space survival, which is basically Ridley Scott's wheelhouse, so the adaptation is basically made for the...

6 things we want from Neill Blomkamp's Alien project

Feb 24 // Per Morten Mjolkeraaen
Remember the story... While some (okay, most) dislike Alien 3 and Resurrection, and would have them burned in a fiery lava pit if possible, I say, "Damn you! Let them be canon!".  We still don't know what Blomkamp has planned for his movie, but it's become a popular theory that he'll take some liberties with the story, say, "forgetting" the existence of the last two movies. I beg to differ; I hope to see him remember them. Not only because this is one of my all time favorite franchise (I like Alien 3 better than Aliens), but also because it's too easy to simply erase them from the timeline. It will, without a doubt, be difficult to make a decent story kicking off where Resurrection left it, but should Blomkamp rise to the challenge, I believe he can make a truly memorable movie. I have no idea how, or in which direction I want the story to go. All I know is I don't want to see Alien 3 and Resurrection be forgotten in the dust.  It's a vast universe, and they have tons upon tons of things to work with. To forgo two movies out of four, is to forgo a lot of this.  But don't necessarily cling to it It's a science-fiction universe, and I think most people can find it in themselves to forgive certain backpedals in the story. Should Michael Biehn return as Dwayne Hicks, a death has to be altered, but movies do this all the time, with variable results. Sure, it's an incredibly cheap way to force pathos into a movie, but it's been thirty years since we all cried over Hicks's death, I think we can find it in ourselves to accept his resurrection.  I'm conflicted when it comes to clone-Ripley, as she couldn't carry the torch in Resurrection at all. Also, do clones age? Sigourney Weaver is still talented and beautiful, but there's no way around the fact that she's not as young as she was thirty years ago. We'll be seeing something like that next year when Twin Peaks returns for a third season. I just hope Blomkamp wants, and is allowed, to take a few liberties, because there's so many crazy things to keep in mind with the timeline that it would probably be impossible to stay completely true to the fiction. Alien, not Aliens One of the reasons I love the Alien franchise is the fact that every movie feels different. Ridley Scott's Alien is pure horror. James Cameron's Aliens is pure action. David Fincher's Alien 3 is pure pseudo-philosophical mumbo-umbo, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Alien: Resurrection is pure, unadulterated hilarity. I hope Neill Blomkamp's Alien X will continue this pattern and be something unique. Still, I'd prefer it be more in line Scott's original horror masterpiece.  Yolandi Vi$$er is hot stuff  Chappie is out in theatres around the world in just a few weeks, and it's not the political commentary (an oppressive mechanical police force) nor the Hollywood faces (Huge Jackman and Dave Patel) that interest me the most; it's Die Antwoord's Yolandi and Ninja. Two of the most unique and zef people around today. As they play Chappie's surrogate parents in this movie, it's impossible to shy away from the possibilities of seeing Yolandi as the new bad-ass female character in the Alien franchise.  As much as I love Bill Paxton and Michael Biehn, it's Ellen Ripley, Vasquez, Newt and of course, the Xenomorph Queen I remember the best. The Alien movies, even Prometheus to some extent, are brilliant when it comes to female characters, and I can't even imagine how cool it could be to see Die Antwoord's frontwoman side by side with Sigourney Weaver. The possibilities are endless, as she could play a totally new character, or even... a grown up Newt (!!). Again, timelines and logic aside, it could be incredible.  Keep it simple  Blomkamp's movies are grandiose, both in terms of narrative and aesthetics. They tell countless tales within their narrative, and it seems he is unable to do it otherwise. The Alien movies are the opposite; they are incredibly simple, especially the first two. Sure, Aliens is bigger in scale, but the story is kept simple; A group of people go to another planet - this group of people try to survive.  It's safe to assume there'll be a lot of sociological and political commentary in the movie, but hopefully he'll dial it back. While I loved the geopolitical commentary in District 9, Elysium suffers from overemphasis, as it seemingly tries to make a comment on every injustice in the world. That will not work in a alien movie, because... ... It's all about the alien We can love Ellen Ripley and every other character from the franchise as much as we want, but in the end, it all comes down to the alien. The xenomorph. The monster-creature from hell. It's the star of the franchise, whether it's silently creeping down a desolated hallway to kill a oblivious victim, or running in a pack, headfirst through turret fire in an attempt to massacre our beloved space marines. It is THE movie monster we all know and remember.  It's also very different from movie to movie. The special effects in Alien 3 may be the worst in the series, but I still love the design of the alien. Less humanoid, the feline-like xenomorph differentiated from the ones we saw in the first two movies, but was equally bad-ass and efficient when it came to slaughter. The final scene in Prometheus is the best in the entire movie - and I like it as a whole - because a new, Xenomorph-like creature, a Deacon, bursts from the chest of an engineer.  Blomkamp's previous movies underlines the fact that he understands special effects and creature design perfectly. The prawns in District 9 were impossible to dislike. They inhabited the frame and their environments, and thus became real. Could Blomkamp translate this to a xenomorph? I'm sure - in fact, I'll do as Matt joked in our Kickstarter article, I'll actually eat a shoe if the xenomorph doesn't look incredible - everybody will lose their minds over it. 
Blomkamp's Alien Wishlist photo
I still can't believe how awesome this is!
We've all wanted to make a movie at some point. We've all thought it through in our minds, from story to characters to the final act that would shock audiences around the world. Our own personal dream movie. A movie we would ...


Blade Runner 2 photo
Blade Runner 2

Harrison Ford says Blade Runner 2 script is the best thing he's ever read


Or so Ridley Scott says.
Dec 15
// Alec Kubas-Meyer
I think we can all agree that Blade Runner is an incredible film. I think we can also agree that it probably doesn't need a sequel. But a sequel is probably going to be made anyway, so all we can hope is that it will do ...

Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings

Dec 12 // Nick Valdez
[embed]218699:42044:0[/embed] Exodus: Gods and KingsDirectors: Ridley ScottRelease Date: December 12th, 2014 Rating: PG-13 Exodus: Gods and Kings is the story of Moses (Christian Bale), raised as the son of an Egyptian general and his close friend Ramses (Joel Edgerton), who's next in line to inherit the Egyptian throne. After Moses learns he's actually a Hebrew child saved from a disaster, Ramses sends him into exile. Through this exile and years of traveling, Moses discovers the Isreaelite God and learns he's been chosen to free the Isreaelites from slavery. Then we've got all the beats you remember: plagues, Passover, and an Isreaelite army training montage.  There was a big casting controversy surrounding this film before its release. When Ridley Scott revealed that the Egyptians (and Moses) were played by white actors while the non-white actors were stuck with the lesser roles (like slave and thief), it caused quite a stir. Arguments went back and forth as to what the cause was (ranging anywhere from "you can't sell a film with non-white actors" to "this is historically accurate"), but I'd like to confirm that at the end of the day, none of that actually matters. Exodus: Gods and Kings is a big, dumb, and goofy epic so the whitewashing is like vanilla icing on the cake. It's an oddly helpful anchor as you slowly realize the rest of the film lacks this kind of conviction. Exodus can't decide whether or not it wants to be religious as there are semblances of both anti and pro religious arguments. While there is an active presence of God in Exodus, it's portrayed as a young boy making rash and violent decisions, and it's wonderfully sacrilegious (He makes Moses raise an army of Hebrews, sends sharks and alligators as a plague, kills without hesitation) when there're hints that Moses might just be senile. But it totally backs out of this by falling back on the "faith over all" that's inherent in this story. It completely comes out of left field as "faith" isn't a major theme of this film before the final third.  Whether or not you agree with the faith, a story praising the work of God at least knows what it wants to do. And it's not like the other side of that coin wouldn't work either. A recent example, Darren Aronofsky's Noah, proves that you can tell an agnostic version of a religious story and still hold weight. Without the fervor brought on from commitment one way or the other, we're left wallowing in this grey matter. Add this to Exodus's overtly long run time, any period of indecisiveness is felt even more so. The pace is almost punishing (exacerbated by the amount of filler present in the narrative). And honestly the turgid pace and whitewashing would've been fine had anyone done anything of note. Other than Joel Edgerton as Ramses (who stands out with his prim, nervous take on the Pharoah), no other cast member (even Christian Bale) survives in this blob. It may be the fault of the source material, but there are far too many characters given far too little screen time to actually care what anyone is doing. And when someone does show up and says something, what little plot they're given is swept under the rug in favor of something else. It's like weaving a rug thread by thread, taking a break, and starting from a different end each time. Nothing's ever started, so nothing finishes.  Oh, and what was that accent Christian Bale? Seriously.  Exodus is evocative of classic Hollywood tropes in the best and worst ways. With biblical stories of this ilk, there's just some things you have to accept. You have to accept they're going to be a certain length, you have to accept it's going to retell the same story once again, and you've got to accept that it's going to have certain underlying messages. But you don't have to accept an un-entertaining film. While this bloated narrative does invoke the "epic" nature of classic Hollywood (and it looks pretty damn good in some areas), and is therefore coincidentally nostalgic (bad as it is, seeing white folks rescuing brown folks is something we've seen time and time again), it's so mismanaged that you're better off with one of the many other takes on this story.  If after reading this review you're still somehow compelled to go out and see Exodus: Gods and Kings, here's a funny tidbit. During my screening, a gentleman in the row in front of me fell asleep...twice. It wasn't the humble, slumped over sleep either. He had an abrasive, loud snore each time.  I don't think there's a criticism more fitting. 
Exodus Review photo
Like wandering the desert for forty years
Folks don't know this about me, but I have a soft spot for biblical stories. Having been raised half Roman Catholic, half who gives a hooey, I have an abundant knowledge of Christian bible quotes and intricacies. Regardless o...

3001!? photo
3001!?

Ridley Scott to produce '2001: A Space Odyssey' sequel, '3001: The Final Odyssey'


Keep calm and approach with trepidation
Nov 03
// Sean Walsh
Renowned curator of all-around quality content, SyFy, has ordered a mini-series adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s 3001: The Final Odyssey, to be adapted by Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean, G.I. Jo...
Exodus Trailer photo
Exodus Trailer

Newest Exodus: Gods and Kings trailer lets the people go


Oct 02
// Nick Valdez
I can't watch help but watch these trailers for Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings without thinking about all of the other times I've seen this story played out on film. The Ten Commandments, The Prince of Egypt, that one...
Exodus: Gods and Kings photo
Exodus: Gods and Kings

Ridley Scott addresses Exodus: Gods and Kings' White cast


"You can call them whitey whackers!"
Aug 29
// Nick Valdez
Casting in Hollywood has always been predominantly White. You can argue about certain stars or certain roles, but that's the cold, hard truth. Regardless of the film, the leads have always been a certain race, and in a perfec...
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Blade Runner 2 script is finished, brings back Harrison Ford


Ridley Scott says it's good, rest of the world is dubious
Aug 26
// Matthew Razak
We've been hearing about the Blade Runner sequel for nigh on forever now, but it looks like one giant hurdle has been leaped: the screenplay is finished. Ridley Scott told EW as much while also telling them that it was "...
Ridley Scott's David  photo
Ridley Scott's David

Ridley Scott producing biblical film based on David


"But Goliath is dead, I smote him myself. I smoted him good!"
Jul 14
// Nick Valdez
With Noah, a Ben-Hur remake, that Bible miniseries, a film based on Pontius Pilate, and Ridley Scott's own Exodus: Gods and Kings in the pipeline, it seems like big Biblical adaptations are making a comeback. That's pretty co...
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New images for Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings


In ancient Egypt everyone was white
Jul 01
// Matthew Razak
We've seen a scant few images from Ridley Scott's upcoming Exodus: Gods and Kings (that's a new full title by the way), which stars Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Pharo Ramses. Nothing says Egypt like two w...
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Rumor: Prometheus 2 coming in 2016?


This idea is Alien to me.
Mar 24
// Mike Cosimano
According to sources at Bleeding Cool and The Wrap, the next film in Ridley Scott's Prometheus saga is set to release on March 4th, 2016, just under two years from now. Last Thursday, 20th Century Fox set multiple d...

NRH's Final Analysis: Blade Runner

Jan 01 // Nathan Hardisty
Blade Runner is a film that seems impossible. A loose adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel that takes a chisel to the early eighties New American Exceptionalism; blends noir with sci-fi neon edge; charts a society that has devolved, decayed and is only one twitch of a dystopia away; has an atmosphere of dread, rain whilst still having this improbable momentum and, whilst doing all of this, keeps focus on its main philosophical pincer move. What does it mean to be human? Blade Runner opens up with a view of a flickering eyeball seeing the hellish industrial landscape, with fumes and fire flaming up into the night sky. This eye has been called Orwellian by Ridley Scott, the sight of God by many critics and, by myself, a self-aware gesture that looks directly into the audience and asks for their own meanings and interpretation. Blade Runner is a film that doesn't exist in one concrete, confirmed 'canon' format; it is spread across versions and across entire generations. Much like its protagonist, it is trapped in ambiguity. Much as Deckard is neither Replicant nor Human, not truly, so too is the film not truly a 'film'. That probably reads like pretentious twaddle and you're right, it's a bit of a leap to say that Blade Runner isn't really a 'film'. I do mean it though. Blade Runner is a film that deals with the ambiguity of humanity, it's only too fitting that it itself exists across various platforms, versions and different narratives. In some, Deckard is a Replicant and in others he is not. In some, there is a happy ending and in others there is a nod of despair. It's been edited, re-cut and cut again and I doubt it'll even stop happening. Even fan-cuts of the film have become incredibly popular.  Blade Runner really is the transcendent film. Its provocative commentary, themes that all dovetail into the same literary soup and, quite especially, its visual flair all make it one of the finest efforts in storytelling full stop. It's a brave piece of work given the context of eighties political highs with a thaw in the Cold War. There's something of an air about the thing; it may be 2019 but it certainly feels like 1982 is clawing at the gates. Blade Runner is a smart thriller but its true juiciness lies in how it puts across the grandest ideas with fairly minimal effort. Roy's final speech of existentialism, which truly challenges the notions of memory and humanity, is pretty much a theatrical monologue. He speaks on the rooftops above the sheeple who mill about and seem more Replicant than the Replicants themselves; who are out in the stars living the highest of lives. Deckard himself is just a treat of a character. He doesn't state his feelings, not really, and most of his persona, emotions and even 'purpose' are all guesswork. That's what makes the film a constant joy for all of us fanatics; speculation. There's so much material to work with. Authorial intent, to me at least, is a silly avenue to take. Art is really defined by what we take away from it, and Blade Runner, to me at least, offers vast amounts of ways in which to approach its oil-painting of a rain-soaked moral wasteland. I've asked myself whether or not the film suffers any 'pure' faults in the classical sense. Performance, visual, script etc. that sort of criticism. It's hard to judge given my Vangelis-tinted glasses when approach the film but, quite frankly, I'm not sure there's any fault at all. The cinematography is mind-blowingly gorgeous, the visual effects are all blended together perfectly and, depending on your version (The Final Cut is, in my opinion, the definitive version) the narrative momentum is mostly preserved. Performance wise? Harrison Ford shows off his ability to give weight to the most mildest of scenes, Rutgur Hauer has the show of a lifetime and Sean Young, first timer, manages to show a robotic romantic quality about her character. All of them breathe depth into this beautiful beast of a film. If there is one thing to pick apart, it's how Blade Runner really 'looks' on your first viewing. Even my first viewing was full of some tepid confusion followed by a lot of extra reading. Coming back to it again and again and experiencing specific true 'peak film' moments, moments which are now completely familiar to me, is a joy that few mediums can express. Blade Runner's first viewing pales in comparison to its tenth. It's a film that deserves to be picked apart, it needs your dedication. This is not a popcorn sci-fi flick in any sense. That's what keeps me coming back. Everytime I feel my view of the film is enriched in some way. Changed. Deepened. I'm currently trying to carve out some of the pure racial and religious commentary within the film, whilst also digging up some specific writings on the special effects. Blade Runner, you might say, is one of my life projects. I 'research' it. I don't think I'll ever stop and I wanted to end Weekly Analysis showing off my enthusiasm, trying to state exactly why specific films keep me, and perhaps you, coming back again and again. Reviews often don't do the film world justice, analysis gets to meanings and the true joy that film allows us; to express ourselves within expressions. To talk about the messages behind food in Pulp Fiction, to argue about the politics at play within The Dark Knight and to bask in the truth that all of cinema has to offer us. And on that note: [embed]217078:41069:0[/embed]
Weekly Analysis photo
"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe..."
Is there anything left for me to say about the film? I'm trying not to get ahead of myself but I'm something of a Blade Runner fanatic and, some might say, even a Blade Runner academic. I've written a book on the film, I...

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First image of Christian Bale in Exodus has a beard


Dec 30
// Matthew Razak
If there is one thing that Hollywood has taught us that is a historical fact it is that Moses had a beard. While Bale's beard in Ridley Scott's Exodus might not be as epic as Charleton Heston's was it is good to know that the...
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Ridley Scott updates us on all the movies


Prometheus 2, Blade Runner 2 and Exodus
Oct 28
// Matthew Razak
Ridley Scott is a really busy person and while on press for the incredibly disappointing The Counselor he decided to update us all on those other little films he's got going on: Prometheus 2, Blade Runner 2, The Forever ...

Review: The Counselor

Oct 25 // Matthew Razak
The CounselorDirector: Ridley ScottRated: RRelease Date: October 25, 2013  [embed]216716:40854:0[/embed] The Counselor is definitely a Cormac McCarthy story. Dark and layered with characters as morally ambiguous as a politician. It's got a stellar cast as well, as McCarthy films usually do. Michael Fassbender plays the titular Counselor (we never learn his actual name), a man who has run into some money problems and so joins Reiner (Javier Bardem) and Westray (Brad Pitt) in a lucrative drug run. Things go wrong, embroiling not only those three in a run from the drug cartels, but also the Counselor's fiance, Laura (Penélope Cruz), and Reiner's not so trustworthy girlfriend, Malkina (Cameron Diaz). If the plot sounds a bit thin, it's because it is. The movie functions as more of a character study than a drug drama and dives head long into discussions on morality, life and the choices we make. Dives might be too soft a word. The film plunges like a runaway care into these themes and leaves little room for exposition or story set up, instead choosing to make the audience pick up the plot points as it rambles along. I'm all for movies that don't hold your hand, but ambiguity should not be mistaken for intelligence. The Counselor seems to be mysterious simply for the sake of being mysterious. Instead of piecing together a cohesive whole it functions more as a series of conversations that feel like they're trying to be smart. There's no restraint for McCarthy it seems, and so a conversation on preparedness in life, which admittedly would have played well on the page, comes off more like a philosophical lecture than a scene in a movie. While McCarthy's previous adaptations may have taken liberally from his text on the page they were all controlled by a screenwriter who knew how to make it work on the screen. It doesn't help that director Ridley Scott doesn't appear to want to make the movie work either. Scenes jump around so much that for the first half of the film it's hard to get a bearing, and by the time you do it's hard to maintain interest as the tenth overly long, "deep" phone conversation begins.  The worst part might be that there are moments in this movie that are sheer brilliance. Scenes that transcend the rest of the film's desperate attempts to seem smart and actually are. There's an overall narrative and structure that could have worked if the film hadn't been busy meandering into so many quagmires. Near the end of the movie Fassbinder gives an Academy Award worthy performance while a cartel boss unravels a beautiful philosophical debate on how our decisions create new lives for us. There a few moments and scenes in the film that really work and they almost make sitting through the rest of the movie worth your while. Unfortunately, they are just a few too far between to really make the movie pump. McCarthy's screenplay is littered with greatness, but there was no one there to turn all that litter into a piece of modern art. The cast tries its damndest, though. Given long monologues that are tough to swallow and some incredibly intense scenes almost everyone delivers as best as you could expect. Fassbender is especially striking as his shell of a character is slowly destroyed throughout the film. Bardem is as intense as ever and while many of the scenes between the two actors aren't actually that great seeing them play off of each other is. It's pretty clear that everyone involved in the film dug deep to pull out their performances, but the depth is unfortunately a facade.  Well, everyone except Cameron Diaz, who delivers an almost film wrecking turn as a confusingly malicious character. She can't seem to wrap her performance around the complex ideas that her character spouts and so the already bloated dialog sinks hard. She has the last monologue at the end of a film of monologues and it is easily the worst. It's not all her fault as the movie, for some reason, sees the need to actually hold the audiences hand at the exact moment it shouldn't. The one moment when things should truly be obscure -- when you've finally gotten into the characters thanks to the actor's stellar performances -- is the exact moment when everything gets spelled out. It's a bad film choice covered by a bad performance. It's such a strange conclusion to such a complex movie. The Counselor could have a lot going for it if it just got out of its own way. There's some incredible ideas, writing, directing and acting in this film that all get bogged down under the movie's almost desperate need to seem deep. But it's really that ending that nails the coffin closed because once you do get into The Counselor you can start to appreciate it. It's at that very moment when it stops appreciating you. 
The Counselor Review photo
McCarthy should have hired one himself
Cormac McCarthy books have been made into some of the best movies you will ever watch. The likes of No Country for Old Men and The Road are the epitome of how adaptations should work and McCarthy's blend of philosop...

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Trailer: The Counselor starring Fassbender, Pitt, Bardem


Aug 20
// Liz Rugg
In The Counselor, Michael Fassbender stars as a lawyer who finds himself in way over his head when he gets involved with the dangerous world of drug trafficking. Judging from this trailer, things go awry pretty badly, and Fa...
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Christian Bale is Moses in Ridley Scott's Exodus


Aug 14
// Matthew Razak
Ridley Scott's upcoming Bible film, Exodus, is already a hot topic thanks to it being about the Bible, but it's about to get even more interesting as the aptly named Christian Bale has been officially cast as Moses for the fi...
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New trailer for Ridley Scott's The Counselor gets bad


Aug 08
// Hubert Vigilla
A new trailer has arrived for Ridley Scott's The Counselor, which was written by Cormac McCarthy, the author of Blood Meridian, The Border Trilogy, and The Road. The film stars Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Pené...
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Trailer: The Counselor


Jun 26
// Matthew Razak
Holy intensity, Cormac McCarthy and Ridley Scott. The first trailer for The Counselor has landed and it is damn full of stylish power. Who knew Scott could be this slick after the bombast of his last few films. It's a f...
Prometheus 2 photo
Prometheus 2

Prometheus sequel is certainly happening, nabs new writer


At least it's not Damon Lindelof...yet.
Jun 18
// Nick Valdez
Whether we like it or not (and despite rumblings of pre-production trouble), Fox is moving forward with a sequel to the blockbuster head scratcher, Prometheus, just as Noomi Rapace hinted at a few months back. Hey it's n...
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Noomi Rapace confirms Prometheus 2 script in the works


Prometheus 2: Electric Boogaloo (that's still funny, right?)
Feb 27
// Nick Valdez
In an interview with The Playlist (while promoting Dead Man Down), Noomi Rapace (known around these parts for her female badassitude) has confirmed that she has met with Ridley Scott and that a script for a Prometheus sequel ...

Damon Lindelof not working on Paradise (Prometheus 2)

Dec 20 // Hubert Vigilla
From Collider: Collider: I know from people at Fox that they were really happy with the worldwide box office of Prometheus and that they are moving forward on a sequel. Are you involved at all? Damon Lindelof: I am not. Ridley [Scott] and I talked at great length during the story process of the first movie about what subsequent movies would be if Prometheus were to be successful. And I think that the movie ended in a very specific way that hinted at, or strongly implied that there were going to be continuing adventures worthy of writing stories. What those stories would be would not necessarily usurp or transcend the Alien franchise as we saw it because we know that the Nostromo hasn’t come along yet. So the idea was to set up a universe that... Is it a prequel? Okay. If that’s what we want to call it, sure. But the sequel to this movie is not Alien. The sequel to this movie is this other thing. So Ridley and I talked about what that other thing might be, and he was excited about doing it. But then I think what ended up happening was that the movie came out, and there was a reaction to the movie. And I got really wrapped up in Trek, and really wrapped up in this movie that I'm producing and writing with Brad Bird. And I have a TV project that I was really passionate about. Ridley and I had a meeting after Prometheus came out where we started talking again about where this journey would go. And in that meeting I said to him, unfortunately, before he could ask me and go through the discomfort of whether he was going to ask me or not... It's sort of like having a date where you're letting the other person know, "I'm in another relationship." So I can't tell you that he asked me and I said no. But I did communicate to him that I was working on these other things. The thing about Prometheus was it was a rewrite. Jon Spaihts wrote a script and I rewrote it. And still it was a year of my life that I spent on Prometheus, kind of all in. The idea of building a sequel to it -- from the ground up this time -- with Ridley is tremendously exciting. But at the same time, I was like, "Well that's probably going to be two years of my life." I can't do what J.J. [Abrams] does. I don't have the capability. I'm usually very single-minded creatively. I can only be working on one thing at a time. So I said to him, "I really don't think I could start working on this movie until I do this other stuff. And I don't know when the other stuff is going to be done." And he was like, "Well, okay, it's not like I asked you anyways." He and I are on excellent terms and it was a dream come true to work with him. But much to the delight of all the fanboys, I don't see myself being involved in Prometheus-er.
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Ridley Scott's Prometheus is a gorgeous movie rife with half-baked, pseudo-intellectual ideas. It's also populated by embarrassingly stupid characters. A lot of my gripes fall at the feet of Damon Lindelof, who rewrote&n...

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Ridley Scott's Prometheus was a gorgeous-looking movie filled with some the most abysmally idiotic characters I've seen in a long while. (e.g., How do you get lost when you have a digital map? Why can't you run diagonally or ...

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Ridley Scott's I Am Legend vampires are better than CG


Nov 12
// Nick Valdez
Francis Lawrence's I Am Legend (starring Will "Movin' in with your Auntie and Uncle in Bel Air" Smith) was okay. Not bad, not great, but okay. Part of the reason my enjoyment for it was tempered was that the vampires had cha...
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Ridley Scott discusses Blade Runner, Prometheus sequels


Oct 11
// Thor Latham
After having just seen Prometheus for the second time, I'm not particularly excited about any news involving a sequel. If anything, my distaste for the film has only grown from viewing it again, but there were still plen...

Book: Alien - The Illustrated Story

Sep 04 // Hubert Vigilla
Adaptation is an interesting and difficult animal. When going from one medium to another, something will inevitably get lost and replaced. But in a sense that's the point -- adapting material isn't about transcription but translation. Good translators of literature, for example, need to consider how to make the cultural idioms in one language function in another while also considering rhythm, tone, voice, etc. Lots of attempts at direct, literal, word-for-word translation between languages winds up absolute gobbledygook. (If you don't believe me, run that last sentence through Babelfish and see what happens when it comes out the other end.) So maybe the xenomorph from the Alien films is a fitting metaphor for the nature of successful adaptation: the resulting creature takes on some of the features of its host medium but is still tied to its source material. I still think that Alien, the source material, is superior to Alien - The Illustrated Story, but in so many cases it's difficult for the adaptation to surpass the original. Usually it happens when the source material isn't that good (e.g., the book Jaws vs. the film adaptation Jaws), but Alien is a bona fide masterpiece. Yet Alien - The Illustrated Story is always visually interesting and dynamic, finding ways to emphasize the strengths of the story in sequential art terms. Rewatching key scenes from Alien the film and comparing them to Alien - The Illustrated Story, it's just so clear that movies and comics are two distinct mediums with their own strengths. Anyone who thinks that comic books are a mere storyboard for films doesn't understand how either medium works. In the film, the chest burster scene plays out over a minute or two, and the horror comes in the escalating grand mal seizure, the silence and the pauses from the first shot of blood, and that moment of absolute weirdness when the creature appears, squeals, and scutters across the table. In film, you have motion and composition, editing to heighten the sense of confusion and accentuate the incomprehensible moment of the alien's appearance, the passage of time, the play of sound, the nuances of the human performers. In comics, it's about playing with the panel and page breaks to create time and movement, the beats of a page turn, the expressiveness of a line, and the manipulation of color. In the Goodwin/Simonson version of the chest burster scene, there are three pages, 15 panels total, and one page is the bursting forth. The alien coming out of Kane's chest is not a small moment (for a lack of a better description) because the small moment full of horror works better on film. Instead, it's like a rocket shot out of the body followed by gallons of arcing blood, a geyser as bold as Beta Ray Bill's hammer blow on the cover of Thor #337. I wish a bit more of this gory expressiveness was given to the eventual reveal about Ash (Ian Holm in the film). It's much more gruesome in the movie than it is in the graphic novel. I didn't have time to check if Goodwin or Simonson saw the finished version of Alien before working on this adaptation for Heavy Metal. If they didn't and were just working from Dan O'Bannon's screenplay and some concept art, I wonder how much of that screenplay was changed when shooting the actual film. I mentioned earlier that the comic has the feel of Heavy Metal/European comics of the time, and you can sense that in Simonson's art. It's still his distinct linework, no doubt about that, but there's something different about it during this part of his career. In in way, it's less like he's channeling Jack Kirby and more like he's channeling early Enki Bilal. There's actually something of a Howard Chaykin feel to some of the faces too -- it's like Sigourney Weaver by way of Simonson by way of Chaykin, if that connection makes any sense. Simonson, Chaykin, and Jim Starlin shared a New York City studio space in the late 1970s, so I assume they influenced each other's styles to some degree. This European feel may also have to do with the size of the graphic novel and the page layouts given the size. In this new printing, Alien - The Illustrated Story measures roughly 8" x 11", which is shy of a hardcover comic album but a bit larger than some European comic/bandes dessinées reprints in the United States. And because of the density of the pages and the play with panels and gutters, there's something less like an American superhero comic or even an American alternative comic (or at least given my narrow knowledge of them). That three-row/three-column/nine-panel bristol board grid is abandoned for something looser. My brother flipped through the book and commented on the colors of Alien - The Illustrated Story being so vibrant and bright, which was odd for an adaptation of a film that's not especially colorful. I think part of that is a reflection of the aesthetics of comics in the late 1970s. Bright colors seemed like they were generally the pervading style. Even something like Moebius and Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Incal had the bright colors you'd expect our of Power Pack or Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen. Or, you know, House of Mystery and those infamous EC books. It did make me wonder how different this would have looked if Bernie Wrightson had done it or, if given the same limited page count, how contemporary creators would approach the adaptation. Alien - The Illustrated Story winds down a little too quickly because of the page count, but maybe the haunting last moments of the film can only be done in a film... or maybe with 63 pages rather than 61. We sort of get the action-movie ending instead. Apart from a few scans I found online, the majority of the images that appear with this post don't do the color restoration job justice. Alien - The Illustrated Story is gorgeous to look at. There are little swirls and little gradients of color -- it looks like watercolor and water-based paints, to my untrained eye -- that just don't come through in these photos. This is the sort of book that you read through and then reread, getting your face up close to the artwork to discern how each color was laid down. In addition to tracing the path of the brushwork, on some of the pages there are creases and wrinkles. The scans are so good that you can see the warp in the original art after all these years in Simonson's archive. I suppose a pristine image might be preferable to some, but I have thing for those imperfections caused by age. It's got more character and more history. I wonder if the colors have deepened over time as well just like they'd do with any work of art. Back when I was just a kid, one of first comic books I read was a Golden Book illustrated adaptation of Gremlins. It wasn't that great a comic book or an adaptation even though I still talk about it fondly, but it did feature Billy fighting a roomful of human-sized robots in the climax for no apparent reason. Maybe the reason I talk about it fondly is that scene. It was an adaptation abandoned the spirit of the film and while memorable, I only remember it because it because of that moment that was so out of place. (Though maybe it'd fit with a comic book adaptation of Gremlins 2.) I only mention it now at the end of this spotlight on Alien - The Illustrated Story because Goodwin and Simonson's work is much, much better than that. And I wish this had been one of the first comic books I ever read. It's a fine adaptation of a classic movie, definitely, and it's an example of how an adaptation can be done successfully, but it's also a fine comic book in its own right that can now be celebrated and enjoyed again.
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Archie Goodwin & Walter Simonson's 1979 comic book adaptation of the Ridley Scott film is finally back in print
Originally published in 1979 by Heavy Metal (the American counterpart to France's magazine Metal Hurlant), Alien - The Illustrated Story had been out of print for more than 30 years. It's a rightfully acclaimed adaptation of ...

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Three images from an alternate Prometheus scene


Aug 27
// Thor Latham
Warning: This is ever so slightly spoiler-y. Prometheus is still a bit of an open wound for me. I know several people who really enjoyed it, but for me it was nothing but sloppy story telling and a slap-dash attempt to s...
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The "Is-It-or-Isn't-It" Alien prequel, Prometheus, is receiving a baby sequel in 2014 or 2015. While I haven't seen Prometheus yet, I'm sure the chance for further exposition will help the crowds that felt the film left ...

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Ridley Scott adapting BBC's The Day Britain Stopped


Jul 26
// Thor Latham
File this one under completely random and unnecessary, but it looks like Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian are interested in producing a feature film adaption of the BBC's made for t.v. docu-drama The Day Britain Stopped. Origi...

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