Sunday, 16 August 2015

Concerning Prometheus 2..

Like many, I found Prometheus to be a bit of an anti-climax, needlessly over-confusing with too many unanswered questions and weak characters. But there can be no denying it was beautifully made by Sir Ridley Scott and is a stunning film to look at.
News on the sequel has been scant with concrete facts few and far between, but what we do know is that it has been slowly simmering behind the scenes on the back burner ever since the original film came out in early Summer 2012. 
As ever, Ridley Scott is a busy man with no shortage of upcoming projects and shows no sign of reducing his workload despite approaching his 80th birthday. Whilst he will definitely be producing the sequel, he has yet to come out publicly and officially confirm he will be directing. His next venture into science-fiction is the soon to be released The Martian starring Matt Damon and rumours are rife that Prometheus 2 will be his next project, with Total Film reporting he will begin shooting in January 2016. 
Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender are locked in place to reprise their roles as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw and David 8 respectively but as of yet no other cast has been announced. The first draft of the script was written by Jack Paglen whose only previous writing credit was the screenplay for 2014's Transcendence, starring Johnny Depp as a brilliant scientist who tries to upload his dying consciousness into a computer program. Michael Green was then brought on to re-write Paglen's draft which is rumoured to feature multiple David 8 androids. Green was responsible for the lacklustre Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds but more importantly devised the script for the potential Blade Runner sequel, a script Ridley Scott himself signed off on as 'damn good.' He also claims to have had 15 drafts of the script for Prometheus 2 before he was happy it was ready.
The plot of the sequel is top secret but will logically continue Shaw and David's journey into the unknown on the Juggernaut ship as they search for the Engineers home world. Scott has dropped a few tantalising nuggets suggesting the relationship between the two survivors of LV-223 will evolve with David manipulating Shaw into fixing his head back to his body and once he is mobile again, he will be more dangerous than ever.

But what of the Alien then? Opinion was split on the first film with many praising the refreshing approach of introducing new creatures and elements and others lamenting the fact the much anticipated Alien prequel did not contain any of the xenomorphs we all know and love. In an effort to quash such rumours from overshadowing the production of the sequel, Scott has come out early and confirmed the original Alien creature that stalked Sigourney Weaver over 4 films will not be making an appearance.

"The beast is done. Cooked. I got lucky meeting Giger all those years ago. It's very hard to repeat that. I just happen to be the one who forced it through because they said it's obscene. They didn't want to do it and I said, 'I want to do it, it's fantastic.' But after four, I think it wears out a little bit. There's only so much snarling you can do. I think you've got to come back with something more interesting. And I think we've found the next step. I thought the Engineers were quite a good start."

He also made interesting comments about modern science fiction films pointlessly regurgitating alien creatures and threats when nothing comes close to the original creature concocted by the late and legendary H.R. Giger. He was not best pleased with how the Deacon turned out at the climax of the first film and promises to make things even further removed this time around.

"It's 'fresh' and getting away from gods and dragons and shit. If I see one more dragon I'm going to shoot myself. Stop the dragons.' Scott describes his original alien as 'the definitive dragon and he's a motherfucker. The alien's real which is why it's probably one of the scariest monsters in film history,' Scott says. 'So with Prometheus 2 what I'm trying to do in reintroduce a fresher form of alien in the third act.' The Prometheus 'baby' alien was, he concedes, 'awfully close to the alien' that tormented Signourney Weaver. His next one promises to be very different."

Prometheus was one of those films that could really benefit with a superior sequel, answering hanging questions and further extending the mythology in new directions that could really make the first film a better experience to go back to. In my opinion the announcement of Alien 5 makes this the perfect blend of old and new. Fans will no doubt be more forgiving now with Ridley Scott's ambition to venture to places even further removed from alien now that they know they will still get their xenomorph fix with Blomkamp's film a year later. Although chronologically the films will be set decades apart from one another, here's hoping there are plenty of connecting threads to bind the Prometheus brand even tighter to its Alien forefather. 

Neil Blomkamp and Alien 5

So way back in January 2015 Neil Blomkamp made headlines by releasing a collection of concept art he personally commissioned for his own interpretation of a potential new Alien sequel. These high-quality images immediately sent fans into a frenzy and was reported by various worldwide media websites. At the time Blomkamp had insisted these art works were created 'just for fun' and that he 'simply wanted to share the artwork with fellow fans of the franchise' but it seems he had an ulterior motive and was testing the water with franchise owners 20th Century Fox. His ploy seemed to have worked and soon caught the attention of the studio. Things went quiet until the morning of February 18th when Blomkamp posted the above image with the caption; "So I think it's officially my next film!" Not long afterwards 20th Century Fox confirmed the news and the project was officially green lit.

Blomkamp went on to clarify that although the artwork was initially completely unsanctioned, he took it very seriously due to a fiercely passionate love for the franchise and a desire to try and make it a reality for his next project. At the time he was heavily invested in post-production on his latest picture Chappie and any downtime he had during sound mixing and visual effects editing was dedicated to his Alien concept. His creative juices were already overflowing thanks to numerous stories, theories and anecdotes he gained from Chappie star Sigourney Weaver on both the past and potential future of the Alien franchise, with Blomkamp making no secret that he took every opportunity on set to pester her for information.

Perhaps the icing on the cake came a few weeks later when it was announced that Sir Ridley Scott himself, director of the original Alien and 2012's much-maligned quasi-prequel Prometheus, would be producing Blomkamp's film. 

Easily the most tantalising aspect of Blomkamp's artwork is the return of both Ellen Ripley and Corporal Dwayne Hicks. Interestingly both reflect the current ages of both Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn and raise the obvious questions of possible story retcons in relation to both Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection. Is it possible these films are to be ignored completely and Alien 5 will be in fact a spiritual sequel to James Cameron's Aliens, something a large majority of the fan base have wanted all along? Only time will tell, but perhaps the first clue is that Blomkamp has already confirmed the title of the movie will not be Alien 5. Read into that what you will...

I have been a huge fan of the Alien franchise and cannot wait to see where this project goes. As much as I adore the special edition of Alien 3, the idea of an alternate sequel furthering the adventures of Ripley, Hicks and hopefully the original derelict ship from LV-426 is a mouthwatering prospect.