Ridley Scott

We all know what’s coming… Oh you don’t? Get off this website. ‘Prometheus’ (2012) is coming! In anticipation of this, we’re here to let you know exactly why this is so exciting for any film lover out there.

Firstly we should acknowledge that this titan of cinema is a fellow Englishman. Why is this important? It’s important because in an industry so dominated by the bunch over the pond – who let’s face it, are churning out some horrid material most of the time – we need reasons to nourish the wealth of talent we have over here.

For his final show at the Royal College of Art, Scott made a black and white short, ‘Boy and Bicycle’ (1965). Starring Ridley Scott’s younger brother, and director of ‘Top Gun’ (1986), Tony Scott, the film is about a boy playing truant, riding around on a bicycle as he imagines he’s the only person in the world. For any fan this is worth a watch as you can see the seeds that grew in to the Ridley Scott style. After graduating, Scott went to the BBC as a trainee set designer. It’s here he worked, along with making adverts with Ridley Scott Assosiates (co-founded with his brother Tony), until he got a break with his first feature.

‘The Duellists’ (1977): Winning Best Debut Film and being nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival isn’t the worst way to start your career as a director. The basis of the film comes from the Polish novelist Joseph Conrad, a man who’s writings also inspired ‘Apocalypse Now’ (1979), the ship names for ‘Alien’ (1979) and a wealth of other things. This film is lauded for many reason, the stunning cinematography that would become indicative of Scott’s work, the recreation of uniform and military conduct, the accurate fencing techniques and for being an all round good film. Despite this the film was a disappointment in terms of box office takings.

‘Alien’ (1979): A film that would grab critical acclaim, box office success, become a cult classic and create a cinematic icon in Ellen Ripley, played by and launching Sigourney Weaver’s career. This is the film that gained Ridley Scott international recognition. After accepting, Scott managed to get the budget doubled with his detailed storyboarding and pushed for the idea of making it more horror than fantasy, a decision that makes the film so outstanding. It’s a horror, a sci-fi, a noir, a slasher and a rape movie, put together in a way that was quite simply groundbreaking.

‘Blade Runner’ (1982): A second step in to science fiction and a film that is regarded as initiating the cyberpunk genre. Another box office disappointment, another cult classic. The film today is put together with it’s former and are together ranked as probably the most influential films to grace the genre. Drawing on philosophical themes of hubris, religious imagery of Noah’s Ark, literary sources like Frankenstein, and don’t even think I’m close to running out of the wide range of influence. The possibility of a  sequel / prequel has been teasing audiences for decades with the latest new being that Scott is working on it with filming to start no earlier than 2013.

And it was as quick as that. Two films, three years apart, Scott had redefined science fiction and then left it behind, not to return for thirty years. Between the mid 80’s and 2000 his reputation dipped and revived and hovered around the mediocre mark without much worth commenting on.

‘Gladiator’ (2000): Ridley Scott returns with a bang, bringing in the money, the critical favour and reviving a near dead socks and sandals historical epic genre. The film won 5 Oscars, 4 BAFTAs and 40 or so other awards.

‘Black Hawk Down’ (2001): A war film to further cement Scott’s reputation as a film maker who can have success both critically and financially. This is one of those films that seems to have everybody in, playing roles with varying importance. You will also see in the film various people who actually served in the battle depicted. It’s the films hyper-real nature that caused it’s triumph, something that has been replicated in films such as ‘The Hurt Locker’ (2008).

‘Kingdom of Heaven’ (2005): Another epic that seems to have everybody in. Although I personally enjoy this it didn’t do well when it hit the cinema, this was said to be due to the powers that be paying too much attention to what the preview audiences thought. Scott’s thoughts on this led him to release a director’s cut in 2006 – the one worth watching.

‘American Gangster’ (2007): Scott directs this gangster movie in a way you could only expect from him. It’s not attacked with constant guns and death, instead, it comes with finesse. A brilliant throwback to the classics of the genre. The lead roles giving what is, hard to otherwise, their best performances.

And here we are today, May 2012. Ridley Scott has returned to science fiction with a loose prequel to the ‘Alien’ franchise. This is set to be the sci-fi event of the year, the decade, of we can only guess at how long.

Check back for our views on the film, take a look at the trailer below and make sure you book your tickets people.

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