Geeks have always shown Ridley Scott deference because of Blade Runner, and horror fans respect him for giving us the original Alien. Now the director is revisiting both. This week, news broke that Scott would be making another Blade Runner installment; this follows his upcoming film Prometheus, which is loosely — but crucially — tied to the original Alien.
As exciting as that may seem for a child of the 1970s like me, I can’t help but have reservations. Look at George Lucas. The Neckless One is not, nor will he ever be, the same caliber filmmaker as Scott, but what he did to the Star Wars canon is nonetheless reprehensible. Scott has made more watchable films in the last decade than Lucas has in his entire career, but that’s not to say there haven’t been a few stinkers (Robin Hood, anyone?). Having worshiped at the altar of Alien (see this previous post about my childhood fixation with Kenner Toys’ doll from the ’70s) and endlessly pondered the mysteries of Blade Runner, I reserve the right to be deeply disappointed if Scott pisses on these achievements.
I know, I know — the Alien series has already been tarnished. Alien Vs. Predator did a fine job of that. Still, I stand by the original passel of sequels (even the much-maligned Alien3), and the first movie is one of the best horror/sci-fi films of all time.
I’d love for Scott to reproduce the claustrophobic, retro-futuristic terror of the first flick in any context. And that seems to be exactly what Prometheus aims to do. Originally a straight-up prequel to Alien, the movie is now being described by Scott and co-scribe Damon Lindelof (“Lost”) as a standalone work that “shares DNA” with the original film. How much DNA remains to be seen, but there are rumors that Prometheus will touch on the origin of the “space jockeys” — those ginormous, fossilized figures glimpsed on the planet where the crew of the Nostromo first encounters the Xenomorph (or at least its face-hugging eggs).
I have hope, but we’ll have to wait until June 2012 to find out whether it’s founded. (Check out this report from ComicCon for a few more details.)
Even less is known about what Scott has planned for Blade Runner. Is it a prequel? A sequel? How many more steps removed will it be from the Philip K. Dick source material? At this point, there isn’t even a script, to say nothing of a release date. As things come together, it could end up being like Prometheus and only share “DNA” with its predecessor.
What do you guys think of all this? Is it a cynical cash grab destined to diminish our formative cinematic experiences, or the promise of something great?