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Friday, April 13, 2012

Ridley Scott Returns to Sci-Fi (and Alien franchise?) with Prometheus

Written by Kirk Baird, film critic and Detroit Film Critics Society member
Ridley Scott defined our future. At least, as we see it in film. He did this first in 1979 with Alien and again in 1982 with Blade Runner, which is why most people—at least film fanatics—associate the visionary director with science fiction.

And yet Scott hasn’t made a science-fiction film in more than a quarter century. Instead, he’s gone on to make critical and audience favorites: the hard-hitting drama Thelma & Louise (1991); the sword-and-sandal epic Gladiator (2000), which won Best Picture; the politically charged war movie Black Hawk Down (2001); and an only-in-America true crime story American Gangster (2007).

The 74-year-old British filmmaker has kept himself busy through the years. But in almost all of his time away from the sci-fi genre there’s been one persistent question asked of him: When is he going to make another Alien movie? Actually, James Cameron beat him to it in 1987 with Aliens, a highly successful action-horror film that redefined the franchise and made Sigourney Weaver a huge star and her Ripley character a cinematic icon.

But Aliens wasn’t the same as Alien. The sequel was non-stop action of swarming, nightmarish creatures attacking military personnel. While the original was a more intimate scare, featuring one nearly invincible creature against a handful of undermanned and desperately frightened humans. It was a haunted house in deep space and it truly terrified audiences when it was released in theaters.

The Alien franchise has fallen on hard times since these films, a victim of low budgets (David Fincher’s Alien 3), half-baked stories (Alien: Resurrection), and an obvious attempt by 20th Century Fox to milk the movies (the Alien vs. Predator series). Thus, you can forgive fanboys for their excitement when word leaked that Scott was finally making another science-fiction film and that it would involve the world of Alien.

Scott has talked about making another Alien for a few years—one that explained what these creatures were and where they came from—but he walked away from the idea before it was fully developed; the studio balked at the budget he needed to make the film. So he moved onto another project, a film called Prometheus, and fans again knew they would have to wait.

Then word leaked from Scott that there were “strands of Alien’s DNA” in Prometheus, and the buzz began anew. There were other tidbits as well. But finally, the new trailer for Prometheus settles the question: Is it or isn’t it an Alien film?

Watch the two trailers and judge for yourself:



Prometheus hits theaters nationwide on June 8th.

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