RIdley Scott Isn’t Done With Alien Quite Yet

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Enough Already. 20th Century Fox

Ridley Scott recently appeared on The Empire Podcast to discuss Blade Runner 2049, and he also talked about the Alien franchise.

According to Scott,  the next film will focus more on A.I. While acknowledging the evolution of the Alien is “nearly over,” he wishes to transcend to another story set in the same universe. “The world that the A.I might create a leader if he finds himself on a new planet,” Scott explained He promises fans he has quite a “big layout” for the next one.” Well shit.

There isn’t a franchise that deserves to die more than Aliens. The first film, a slow, atmospheric, minimalist horror film, is easily one of the best of the genre. Its sequel, helmed by James Cameron, ditched the languid pace in favor of machismo action, resulting in a film that isn’t great, but a hell of a lot better than it has any right to be, with some iconic imagery to boot.

That’s where it should’ve have ended, with two films that defined the modern horror and sci-fi aesthetic that we’ve allowed a lauded place in our memory, right beside The Day The Earth Stood Still and Rosemary’s Baby. There should never been any cause to think meanly of a franchise so seminal. But here we are. Nearly four decades later, and were still being subjected to prequels and sequels to a film that existed before films were haunted by the now ever-present franchise cancer.

The downfall of Alien has two distinct culprits. The first was the attempt to devolve the series into a popcorn slasher: introducing the predator, doubling down on the jumpscares. The second, more perilous misstep, was attempting to add existential weight to the films. I love Scott’s work as much as any self-respecting cinephile, but the philosophical pontificating prevalent in both Prometheus and Alien: Covenant was downright embarrassing.

Alien isn’t 2001: A Space Odyssey, it was never intended to be. The titular Alien in the original film remains nameless in its entre runtime because its origin and classification not only doesn’t matter, its ambiguity avails the terror. It’s a nameless placeholder for our fear of the unknown, trust and each other.

The narrative gymnastics necessary to expound upon a concept so intricately broad can only birth two outcomes: convulsion or repetition. Scott has managed both in his determined effort to keep this galactic fuckery drudging ahead, leaving no stone unturned in his need to wax poetic about the nature of humanity and the cosmos. If there was any life to be had in Alien, it died the minute any chance of realizing Neill Blomkamp's script did, a script praised by both Sigourney Weaver and Cameron, and which would have served as a bookend to Ripley's journey.

Here’s to more movies that no one asked for.

 

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