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December 10, 2010

In space, no one can hear you suck

Alien_The_Pilot_aka_Space_Jockey.jpg

Ridley Scott's Alien prequel now has a title; production is set to being in March (hat tip to Beautiful Atrocities).

Oh, and by the way, let's stop calling it "Ridley Scott's Alien prequel" — the title is Paradise.

We're told that Paradise reboots the original Alien franchise, in that the story follows a group of space travelers who encounter a monstrous alien creature that picks them off, one by one.

I have to say this does not sound terribly promising.

Ridley Scott as of April this year:

It’s set in 2085, about 30 years before Sigourney [Weaver’s character Ellen Ripley]. It’s fundamentally about going out to find out ‘Who the hell was that Space Jockey?’ The guy who was sitting in the chair in the alien vehicle — there was a giant fellow sitting in a seat on what looked to be either a piece of technology or an astronomer’s chair. Remember that?

Yes, thanks. But I also remember Kingdom of Heaven, is the problem.

H.R. Giger called his painting The Pilot - a much grander, more mysterious name - but, hey, it's Ridley Scott's baby. The trouble isn't in resurrecting this story thread per se, the alien distress/warning beacon and the alien(s) who sent it are part of what puts the medias in Alien's in medias res. The trouble is that in exploring this storyline we lose yet more of the shadows that leant the original film its Lovecraftian cosmic menace, already attenuated in the stark blue light of James Cameron's (admittedly excellent) sequel. Even Scott acknowledges the Xenomorph form was "played out" by the following sequels, he can't be bothered to remember whether there were four or five films in the franchise. Now we risk losing the Space Jockey as well.

Worse yet, by giving us the same Ten Little Indians narrative structure yet again - and yet more of the inevitable, egregious CGI that has propped up so much lazy sf storytelling - it is difficult to believe Scott has any surprises for us. I hope I'm wrong. I really do. But if just one more ill thought out installment of this franchise gets released it is game over, man. Game over.

Not so fast: Fox communications VP Chris Petrikin tweets to say the film will not be called "Paradise". Just as well, it's not a great title.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at December 10, 2010 07:48 AM

Comments

I would be impressed if just one director said "no" to the lure of megadollars for lousy sequels. There's gotta be at least one guy ready to say "No, how could I possibly tack on a sequel (or prequel)? How could repeating the same formula a half-dozen times improve the story arc of the original work?"

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 10, 2010 11:32 AM

Ask and you shall receive. I give you that man amongst men, that paragon of self-restraint, that artistic monkey wrench in the Hollywood machine: James Cameron.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pR4TD6lgcCU

No, I'm perfectly aware that Cameron isn't immune to sequel-itis. There's more blue-skinned treehuggers in our foreseeable future. I simply expect that the man has a fantastically low boredom threshold, and that's what's prevented him from revisiting most of the work that he's done (obvious exception of T2, but I think that only happened cause he got to play with CG early in the game).

Posted by: Ash [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 10, 2010 12:13 PM

He should make "Voyage of the Space Beagle" ... which has nothing to do with Alien of course! Completely unrelated. I merely mention it in passing.

Posted by: The_Campblog [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 10, 2010 06:15 PM