It’s a strange world….

Have you read the news today...?
Hey, have you read the news today…?

This has been one of those weeks where I found myself wondering if I’d slipped into the Twilight Zone or something…

ALIEN 5

First came the confirmation, after weeks of rumours, that Neill Blomkamp of District 9 fame (and, lets not forget, Elysium infamy) has signed on to make Alien 5, and that it would be essentially a sequel to Aliens, bringing back Ripley, Hicks and Newt, apparently ignoring the existence of both Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection. Now, I couldn’t give two hoots about Resurrection but I’m a big fan of Alien 3, particularly the workprint version. Indeed, I much prefer Alien 3 to Aliens, as I feel that Cameron’s film really undermined the mystery and terror of the first film, turning it into Rambo in Space. God knows I’m in the minority in that, as the film has its legions of fans who are now hugely excited. But its really bizarre, this whole thing. Are the events of the third and fourth film to be consigned to a hyper-sleep dream? Really, the whole thing boggles the mind. I’m curious to see how Blomkamp pulls the whole conceit off, following Aliens somehow with those characters, considering how many years have passed now and the actors will have aged so much (it is seemingly not being recast as Sigourney Weaver has apparently signed on for the project). Its either some kind of genius project or a horrible cynical reboot disaster…. only time will tell.

More BLADE RUNNER 2 news…

Another project that carries a heavy weight on its shoulders is the promised (or threatened, its a matter of opinion) Blade Runner 2. Alcon, the production company behind the film, has officially announced that the film commences shooting summer 2016 with Denis Villeneuve signed as the director. Villeneuve made the well-regarded Prisonerswhich I haven’t seen yet (but you can be certain its now top of my watch list). Harrison Ford is confirmed, having been very impressed by the screenplay penned by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green (the script being one of the best things Ford ever read, according to earlier reports by Scott). The story is reportedly set several decades after the events of the original film. So maybe Deckard wasn’t a rep after all?

Of course the big news about all this is that while Ridley Scott remains involved (presumably in a producer role) its now confirmed that he won’t be directing. I’m split on this. On the one hand, after Prometheus, I’m rather relieved, as it would have been a huge weight for Scott to equal/surpass his original work. On the other hand, I’m disappointed as there’s that part of me just plain curious to see what Scott could come up with, returning to Blade Runner with all the tech that film-makers have these days. Have to admit its likely a wise move by Scott. If it somehow turns out that Blade Runner 2 is a great movie and a worthy sequel, he still has his name on it- if it turns out to be terrible then he can blame everyone else. Certainly, whatever you think of the project, Denis Villeneuve is a very brave man. Signing on for the sequel to such a classic film (one that hardly needs any sequel at all) must be such a daunting prospect.

But what a strange week its been. Alien 5. Blade Runner 2 confirmed. Add it to recent news that Sony has teamed up with Marvel Studios to reboot its Spider Man franchise yet again…. its a crazy world. To be honest, I still can’t believe that we have another Star Wars movie coming this December. Next thing you know, Vangelis will sign on to produce the Blade Runner 2 score and as a genius nod to his fans release a complete Blade Runner soundtrack with all the previously unreleased music that we’ve been waiting decades for.  Who knows? These days it seems all bets are off.

6 thoughts on “It’s a strange world….

  1. I’ve read conflicting reports about the Blomkamp thing, but one version has it that he was developing an Alien sequel “just for fun”, then he put that concept art from it online, then Fox got in touch asking him to actually make it. If that’s true, it might be a good idea, rather than a cynical attempt to semi-reboot the franchise from the ‘last good one’.

    As for Villeneuve, I’ve not seen Prisoners yet either (been really meaning to (story of my life)), but I’ve heard it said that his other film, Enemy, which was released in cinemas and on-demand simultaneously t’other month, shows why he’s a good choice for Blade Runner.

    I’m cautiously optimistic for both projects, anyway… but then I liked Resurrection, so…

    1. Yeah, I’ll keep an open mind about them. But the whole idea of filming a sequel to Aliens feels so out-of-nowhere its, well, if they pull it off, whatever next? The idea you can make a series of movies and then in one revisionist sweep pretend that particular entries never existed… guess we can forget Prometheus and its bald-guys-in-suits Space Jockeys and go back to the mysterious remains on a strange derelict ship. If you are going to be revisionist though, myself, I’d ignore Aliens too and do a direct sequel to the first film.

      Regards Blade Runner 2, I am also cautiously optimistic. Harrison being in it, with his recent track record, is no guarantee of anything positive, but you never know. At least it isn’t a remake or reboot.

      1. Another “I read somewhere”, but… I read somewhere that Prometheus 2 is still going ahead and Blomkamp’s Alien film is expected to still tie in with Scott’s film(s). I guess we’ll see, but presuming they do still want Prometheus 2, I suppose it would have to.

  2. Matthew McKinnon

    It’s a weird one, alright. Very much a case of ‘do we really need these films? – not really’ vs. ‘well, could be a lot worse’.

    I’m in the minority about Blomkamp: I thought “District 9” was alright, but not the godlike work of genius other people thought. And though I didn’t hate “Elysium” as much as everyone else (lower expectations, I guess), it was pretty sloppy. But if there has to be more Alien films, I think it’s time for a pure hardware/action take again; we’ve mined the weirder side of things for decades now, and I don’t mind the ‘what if?’ notion of branching off from “Aliens”. You can have your cake and eat it, it seems, now.

    As for “Blade Runner 2”, I wish they’d leave well enough alone. But Villeneuve is a real coup. I watched “Enemy” last month, and then quickly snapped up “Prisoners”. He’s currently a better director than Ridley Scott, I’d say without hesitation. Good news.

    I’d like to see a completely different take on LA 2050-odd. What Villeneuve does with his locations in “Enemy” is stunning, and I’d love a contemporary musician to have a crack a creating a new soundscape to match.

    1. Is ‘Enemy’ worth a blind-buy? I see its available on Amazon and you have me interested. I hadn’t even heard of it until today. ‘Prisoners’ is available on Amazon Prime so I’ll try streaming it sometime next week. Need to know if Blade Runner 2 is in good hands…. and your comment has me feeling rather positive. You never know, they might pull something decent out of the bag…

      1. Matthew McKinnon

        I would rent “Enemy” – it’s a bit of a marmite film. But! – I’d buy “Prisoners” on Blu, as it’s beautifully shot by Roger Deakins. I watched it on Amazon as well, and the heavy compression didn’t do it any favours in the darker scenes (and there are many).

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