2017 is going to be a big year for Ridley Scott IP (intellectual property). Though he does not direct the upcoming Blade Runner sequel, he does direct the new Alien flick. These are two enormously influential films that shaped the science fiction genre for years to come. Blade Runner‘s dark, dystopic take on our future set a high bar on what the words dark and dystopic actually meant. And Alien’s set design is practically artwork. Needless to say, I’m very excited.
But to take a step back, I want to examine the landscape of Hollywood, because, although I have already said I am excited, these films also showcase the standstill of creativity in Hollywood. Both of these films are, to be blunt, genius. They paved the way for how science fiction films should look and feel and gave up and coming filmmakers something to aspire to make. They are rich with imagery and allusions and are more than simply what is on the page. However, instead of creating new and inspiring films, Hollywood puts more money into these because of the reestablished relationship viewers have with these films. In short, they know they are safe bets to make money. That’s not how great art is made.
Look back at how each of these original films were made and you will hear stories about tight budgets and time constraints. Heck, Blade Runner barely got made! True art takes ingenuity, which Hollywood no longer has the patience for, since it is more of a profit machine than it ever was. That’s not to say original screenplays and stories aren’t coming out of Hollywood, but the rate at which those films get green light is far too low.
Now, here is why we should be excited for these two new films. Let’s start with Alien: Covenant. For starters, it is directed by Ridley Scott himself, who, well, has been around the block and knows a thing or two about the Alien universe. And I did like Prometheus and the story it built leading up to this film, and subsequently the initial Alien film. Rogue One did an exquisite job linking to A New Hope and sets up that franchise perfectly. This film bodes that same sort of potential and can provide some very important and interesting clues about the film that started it all, if done well. And the look of the film harkens back to the original film a lot more than Prometheus did, so that excites me.
Also, have you SEEN this cast. To begin, it brings back Michael Fassbender, so, a win right there, and adds: James Franco, Katherine Waterston, Guy Pearce, Billy Crudup, Demián Bichir, and Danny McBride. Like, wow, that’s incredible. The script and movie might turn out to be crap, but damn is that a line-up. Now hopefully Scott delivers a film more on the level of The Martian and Exodus: Gods and Kings.
With Blade Runner 2049, Scott is only a producer. Denis Villeneuve helms the camera. The trailer feeeeeeeeeeels like the original. It captures the visual language that Scott created so stunningly. And the eerie music really sets the tone. The dreary, downcast world Scott created is so iconic, so it will be great seeing it on the big screen again.
Harrison Ford reprises his role as Rick Deckard and along for the ride is Ryan Gosling. It is a perfect pairing of youth and wisdom. This initial trailer does not lend to much to where this new film is going, but there is an indication that Gosling is hunting androids, as Ford did in the first. Was he sent to find the reclusive Deckard? We shall see!
Alien: Covenant hits theaters on May 19, 2017 and Blade Runner 2049 lands on the big screen on October 6, 2017.