The name Ridley Scott is synonymous with lowered expectations. No other filmmaker has achieved more success, or is more respected, despite directing some of the shittiest mainstream movies of the last thirty years. The past decade in particular, has not been kind to the prolific septuagenarian, who’s fumbled around in every genre except the one that jump-started his career.
From political thrillers, to romantic comedies, to historical epics, Scott has churned out some of the best looking bad movies of all time. Even though his career has been loaded with misfires, his craftsmanship continues to inspire generations of filmmakers. Though his ad-man's devotion to aesthetics has clearly come with a price. Movies as recent as Clash of the Titans, and Snow White And The Huntsman, are profoundly indebted to Scott’s particular brand of filmmaking. They are ravishing design triumphs, but utterly vacant.
Alien introduced audiences to his patented byzantine production design, while Blade Runner secured his status as a great stylist. Prometheus, which opened this weekend, is a return to Scott’s Sci-Fi roots. Shot in state-of-the-art 3D, and billed as a prequel to Alien, Prometheus is surely his best film in a decade. It leaps off the screen, invested with wonder and optimism, but quickly devolves into an aimless body-horror funhouse. There are so many half-baked ideas on display, the movie inevitably collapses under the weight of its own hubris. Scott has embraced pop-existentialism (and the latest stereoscopic gimmickry) in his effort to get Prometheus off the ground. But at 74 year-old, his time is running out. For once, I wish he’d just concentrate on telling a coherent story.