At the age of 79, Ridley Scott is still going strong. After completing his last film, 2015’s The Martian, he wasted no time diving right into the upcoming Alien: Covenant. But although Scott continues to like making movies, it seems he doesn’t have much use for modern moviemaking trends. The director admitted that he is “concerned” about the future of cinema — expressing a particular distaste for superhero films, which he says have “no story.”
In a recent interview with Digital Spy, Scott revealed he’d been approached to direct superhero movies in the past. However, he’s never been interested, because he doesn’t care for them:
Superhero movies are not my kind of thing – that’s why I’ve never really done one. [I’ve been asked] several times, but I can’t believe in the thin, gossamer tight-rope of the non-reality of the situation of the superhero.
I’ve done that kind of movie — Blade Runner really is a comic strip when you think about it, it’s a dark story told in an unreal world. You could almost put Batman or Superman in that world, that atmosphere, except I’d have a fucking good story, as opposed to no story!
With films like Alien, Blade Runner, and Thelma & Louise, Scott has more than earned his reputation as one of our greatest living filmmakers. And it’s impressive that he’s still doing as well as he is. The Martian was pretty fantastic, and Alien: Covenant looks very promising. That said, he’s not infallible — The Martian was preceded by a string of misses, including Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Counselor, and (arguably) Prometheus — and his assessment of superhero movies seems rather unfair.
True, some superhero movies are shoddily constructed and make no apparent effort to ground themselves in any sort of narrative logic or emotional realism. (Ahem, X-Men: Apocalypse, I am talking about you.) But there are also some very good superhero movies, and there’s nothing inherent to the genre that would prevent a good filmmaker — maybe someone like Scott — from delivering a thoughtful, grounded work.
Then again, Scott’s issues with modern cinema don’t stop with superhero movies. He expressed concern for the medium as a whole, summing up movies today as “mainly pretty bad.” Which isn’t to say he wants to quit the business altogether. “I want to keep doing cinema and I hope it doesn’t affect those of us who still keep making smart films,” he said. “I’m hoping it doesn’t affect me.” On that point, I think we can all agree. Here’s hoping Alien: Covenant is “smart” cinema that delivers on its promise.
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