It was fascinating to watch the way the Internet behaved in the months leading up to the release of Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus.” I feel like I was one of the few people who wasn’t convinced from day one that the film would reinvent science-fiction and cure the common cold all in one fell swoop, because the near-rabid reactions to every photo and every tiny tidbit of information was sort of terrifyingly intense.
Now Scott’s gearing up for another run of fanboy mania, and I’m curious to see if anyone learned anything from the experience they had with “Prometheus,” or if they’re going to be just as rabid and just as pre-convinced of greatness when it comes to the “Blade Runner” sequel that he’s developing right now.
Here’s why I think no one learned a single thing. Scott gave a short interview to Metro in the UK, and it has been picked up everywhere today and people seem to think that it’s as good as a release date for the “Blade Runner” sequel. Let’s look at what he actually said about the film, which was already announced as being in development:
“It’s not a rumor – it’s happening. With Harrison Ford? I don’t know yet. Is he too old? Well, he was a Nexus-6 so we don’t know how long he can live. [laughs] And that’s all I’m going to say at this stage.”
Wow. First, there’s nothing new there. We already knew he was attached. He said it was a sequel during the “Prometheus” theatrical press. And he’s still convinced that Harrison Ford was a replicant in the original, which automatically makes me pray that something happens to derail this film before he makes it and ruins another legacy.
I’m sorry, because I know some of you liked “Prometheus,” but that movie makes me positively sweat when I think of him returning to the world of “Blade Runner.” I disagree with some of the ideas that Scott has imposed on the film since the 1982 release, and the only solace I can take is that no matter what he says, he’s not the writer, and there was still some ambiguity in place that left it open to interpretation. It sounds to me like he’s decided that if he returns to this world, he’s going to make good and damn sure that Deckard was a Nexus-6, and I have a feeling that’s just the start of the things that will give me a bleeding ulcer.
And while “Prometheus” did not outgross “Avatar” and “Titanic” combined as many science-fiction fans seemed sure would happen, it did well enough internationally that there is still a chance he could make a sequel to the film. He addressed that with Metro as well:
“You’ve got a person with a head in a bag that functions and has an IQ of 350. It can explain to her how to put the head back on the body and she’s gonna think about that long and hard because, once the head is back on his body, he’s dangerous… they’re going off to paradise, but it could be the most savage, horrible place. Who are the Engineers?”
I really don’t care about the nature of the Engineers after seeing “Prometheus.” I don’t think they were interesting or compelling, and looking at the extra deleted scenes on the new “Prometheus” disc, I don’t see anything in there that changes my opinion. For all the mystery that was built up about them, in the end, the Engineer we saw was basically just a big dumb monster running around and punching people. The mythology of the creatures and the way they tie to the world of the “Alien” movies is not only annoyingly vague, but undermines the things that made “Alien” so absorbing in the first place.
The simple truth is that I am tired of prequels and I am tired of sequels that answer questions that never needed to be answered and, as much as I hate saying it, I am tired of seeing guys who did amazing work when they were younger go back and desecrate it today because they are no longer in touch with the same artistic voice. It seems to me that we’ve seen enough examples of this happening now that it should be conventional wisdom now. How many trips to the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls do we need to take before it sinks in?
Ridley Scott is shooting “The Counselor” right now, an original script by Cormac McCarthy, and I’m eager to see that. I certainly think Scott remains a talented and vital artist, and I hope we have many, many more films to see from him in years to come.
I just hope “Alien” and “Blade Runner” sequels aren’t among them.
“Prometheus” is on DVD and Blu-ray now.