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Ridley Scott Abandons Alien Prequel

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the he-must-be-infested dept.

Sci-Fi 170

An anonymous reader writes "With Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox announcing that the much-vaunted 3D Alien prequel has now mutated into an original SF film project called Prometheus, starring Noomi Rapace, the author of this article recalls his 2007 interview with the late Dan O'Bannon, who presumably is happy about the news, wherever he is. Asked what he'd like to see happen to the xenomorph franchise, the Alien co-creator said: 'I'd like to see it stop. A horror movie's a fragile thing, and once you've gotten past the original, it isn't scary anymore. So you do a bunch of sequels to a horror movie, all they do is drain any remaining impact out of the original...it's not as effective as it would have been if you had just left it alone.'"

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170 comments

Not even waiting for the actual slashdotting, (0)

klingens (147173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889010)

now sites close as soon as /. links to them.

I see hard time ahead for /., maybe they need to create their own content now?

Re:Not even waiting for the actual slashdotting, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889016)

maybe they need to create their own content now?

Don't be ridiculous, it's a news site. They just need to repeat more celebrity gossip.

Re:Not even waiting for the actual slashdotting, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889154)

now sites close as soon as /. links to them.

I see hard time ahead for /., maybe they need to create their own content now?

With the "editors" they have now?

That'd be a train wreck - a pitifully small one done with little toy trains. So pitiful that it'd make a Gomez Addam's toy train wreck seem epic.

Re:Not even waiting for the actual slashdotting, (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889702)

>So pitiful that it'd make a Gomez Addam's toy train wreck seem epic.

But, that *is* epic, by *any* standard!

Applies to all movies (5, Insightful)

Troll-Under-D'Bridge (1782952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889018)

So you do a bunch of sequels to a horror movie, all they do is drain any remaining impact out of the original

I'm sure this applies to any hit movie. I mean, the first time they made Scary Movie, it was a guilty pleasure. Now it's, well, just dull. There are few exceptions. Empire Strikes Back thematically seems better than Star Wars. The revelation of the relationship between Luke and Darth Vader was good enough to be parodied by Toy Story (was it 2 or 3?). But the Star Wars prequels? Maybe the producers should take a hint.

Re:Applies to all movies (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889072)

I don't think that I really agree. Nobody is forcing you to watch the sequels or prequels. I still haven't seen Alien 3, even though I've liked all the other ones. I just treat them as different movies rather than different parts of the same movie and I win.

Re:Applies to all movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889140)

You should see Alien 3 at least once, at least if you like Alien more than you like Aliens.
While some people really dislike Alien 3 there are also people who think it is a really good movie.
I have never heard anyone argue that it is as good as Alien or Aliens but I still think it beats the crap out of a lot of other movies that are out there.

Re:Applies to all movies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889416)

Alien 3 was the end of the series and was ruined by studio interference, I believe Finchers assembly cut shows what could have been.  The early scripts for Alien 3 were terrible, it's clear that the studio wanted a follow on from the Cameron film rather than a conclusion to the original.  So we have:

Alien: Edge of the seat visceral horror [*****]
Aliens: A film about motherhood disguised as cheesy shoot-em-up [**** ]
Alien 3: A poorly plotted, plodding drama [***  ]
Alien 4: The horror of tragic descent into self-parody [*    ]

There's also the 2 Alien cash-ins made by talentless hacks for an audience of braindead 14 year olds.  Despite the huge influence of the first 2 films, the currency of the titular creature has been destroyed. Scott had previously mentioned a prequel idea without any human characters and this would make much more sense than using relativistic space travel as a set-up to include humans.  I'm actually more interested to see what Scott comes up with now he has freed himself from the legacy of an increasingly crappy movie series.

Re:Applies to all movies (2)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889440)

Alien 4 deserves half a star for the swimming alien scene and that's all.

I was really hoping this prequel would be a return to greatness, as otherwise you're right, 3 was a bit off a dropoff, but the rest were pure shlock cash in :(

Re:Applies to all movies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889652)

No, Alien 4 belongs together with the Matrix sequels; in my mind they were never made.

Re:Applies to all movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889946)

> Nobody is forcing you to watch the sequels or prequels.

Someone is, and that someone is you. Naturally, if you enjoy something, you want more of it, so when a sequel or prequel comes around, we want to see it to extend the experience of that original work that resonated with us. Despite knowing full well in advance that the movie could be a humongous bomb, we'll be likely to see it anyways, often because of a lack of reason (humans aren't primarily logical creatures; we want that experience extended so we'll justify it by doing things like brushing bad reviews off as being inexperienced, being unable to use will power against our curiosity and desire, etc).

tl;dr: We're all predictable. Prepare to lose your money.

Re:Applies to all movies (2)

Tobenisstinky (853306) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889092)

I think that Aliens was a far better movie than Alien. That said, I also wouldn't class it as a horror movie, more of a really intense action movie. But good sequels are few and far between - it's been said many times here, a good movie is not about the special effects, it's the story that matters.

Re:Applies to all movies (3, Interesting)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889714)

I think that Aliens was a far better movie than Alien.

I agree- or rather, I'd say that personally I much preferred Aliens to Alien. I initially put that down to having seen Aliens first (possibly spoiling some of the surprise and effect of the original), but when I later heard Alien described as a "horror movie in space", I realised that that was also the reason. Horror movies just don't work for me, however much I'd like them to.

That said, I also wouldn't class it as a horror movie

Which is probably why I enjoyed it better though...

more of a really intense action movie.

...I'm not really that much into action movies either, but I still enjoyed it! Anyway, Aliens probably worked and felt fresh because they *weren't* trying to copy the original or out-do it, but managed to keep its spirit while doing something different.

Alien 3 was dull though, and while Alien Resurrection was somewhat more enjoyable, its French "comic book" feel clashed with the more realistic style of the original films, mitigated only slightly by the time that was meant to have passed between them.

Re:Applies to all movies (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34890238)

I think that Aliens was a far better movie than Alien.

I agree- or rather, I'd say that personally I much preferred Aliens to Alien.

This. If you're going to have an objective view on the merits of something, personal opinion shouldn't enter into it. Aliens is the more entertaining film, watching the original remains an extremely unpleasant experience. The chest-burst scene is one of those rare defining moments in cinematic history, the entire film a nightmarish artistic triumph. Aliens is just a dumb popcorn flick with quotable, cliched B-movie dialogue.

You can't make statements about something being "better" based on subjective criteria like entertainment value. The production design on Alien and Blade Runner is enough to secure their places as important and influential artifacts of late 20th Century popular culture. They (along with Kubriks 2001) will outlive many films that viewers found more entertaining.

Re:Applies to all movies (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889854)

I don't think it's better. Alien still is an incredibly effective horror film, a sort of space-based locked room mystery. Aliens was more of a military SF-style movie, so in a way they are considerably different films. I enjoy them both, but they are almost in two different genres.

Re:Applies to all movies (1)

zakeria (1031430) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889910)

Yes Alien is the only horror out of them all, the rest are just action movies.. I prefer Alien for its cinematic qualities and Aliens for its 80's style action that we don't get anymore. Alien 3 was a dull disaster and the 4th was an attempt to being the cinematic feelings from Alien and combine it with 2 & 3 resulting in boring dribble!

Re:Applies to all movies (4, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889238)

The first movie might have been a horror movie, but I'd classify the other ones as "action thrillers". In my opinion future movies could still succeed as action thrillers even though it'll be hard to do a new horror movie based on aliens (since a part of horror is in the unknown, and the aliens and their limits are now mostly known).

Re:Applies to all movies (2)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889384)

And remember how good the Matrix seemed when we first saw it, and then how bad it seems in retrospect after seeing the rest of the Wachowski brother's "vision"? That's a movie whose impact was actually lessened by the sequels - it was better when we filled in the blanks with our imagination than when we saw what passed for the "answers" presented in Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions (the truly horrid mess of the series).

The original Star Wars movies are, thankfully, separated enough in time and form from the later prequels that many of us can still view them as they were originally (well, assuming you can find a copy of them without George Lucas' idiotic revisions) and simply pretend that the dull drivel made years later doesn't exist.

Re:Applies to all movies (4, Informative)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889646)

That dull drivel has some entertainment value though not at all due to the efforts of Lucas and Co. Might I direct your attention to reviews (with a meta-story among these and other reviews) of The Phantom Menace [redlettermedia.com] , The Attack of the Clones [redlettermedia.com] , and The Revenge of the Sith [redlettermedia.com] ? These are video reviews and very much NSFW (but still very analytical and all the movies are thoughtfully picked apart). They are also rather long, each over an hour.

Re:Applies to all movies (3, Funny)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889410)

So you do a bunch of sequels to a horror movie, all they do is drain any remaining impact out of the original

I'm sure this applies to any hit movie. I mean, the first time they made Scary Movie, it was a guilty pleasure. Now it's, well, just dull. There are few exceptions. Empire Strikes Back thematically seems better than Star Wars. The revelation of the relationship between Luke and Darth Vader was good enough to be parodied by Toy Story (was it 2 or 3?). But the Star Wars prequels? Maybe the producers should take a hint.

How about a cowboy version : Use the Horse Luke.

Re:Applies to all movies (2)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889486)

I don't think it applies to other genres as much as it applies to horror movies, though. A lot of what makes a movie scary is mystery and uncertainty. A monster is never as scary as when you don't see it, don't know what it is, and you have no idea how to protect yourself. By the time you hit a sequel, it's all old hat. You know what the monster is, you've gotten a good look at it, and you've seen someone stop it. It may be interesting or fun, but it will never give you the same sene of dread.

Re:Applies to all movies (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889906)

Indeed. It's one of the reasons the later Jaws movies never really worked. The first Jaws movie uses a similar approach to that of Alien, to slowly over the length of the whole film reveal the monster, and in fact spending most of the film keeping the bomb under the table (an allusion to Hitchcock's bomb theory of suspense). In fact, I'd say these movies owe an incredible amount to Hitchcock's methodology. Look at a movie like Psycho or Vertigo, and I think you see the playbook that good horror/suspense films like Jaws and Alien played into; permitting the audience only unsettling glimpses, using the psychological effects of fear sink in rather than just bludgeoning us over the head with horrifying scenes.

Even by the time of Aliens, we knew the principle attributes of the monster. Yes, they added a few elements; making the monster a hive species with a bad-ass queen, but in essence the nasty things the monster does had already been established by the end of the first film.

Re:Applies to all movies (2)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34890406)

Well yeah, I think a large part of the reason that Aliens still worked pretty well is that it sort of reintroduced mystery by changing the nature of the monster. Instead of having another lone alien creeping in the darkness, you have an overwhelming army of aliens backed by an alien queen. At the beginning of the movie, you're back to being uncertain of the nature of the danger you're facing.

You can't just do that ad infinitum for several sequels, though. Adding more aliens doesn't do much, since you've already seen an overwhelming force of them. Making them overwhelming-er doesn't really change the nature of the danger. You also can't just put a little twist on things by mutating the monster a little, since you're not substantially changing the nature of the danger. You still pretty much understand what the monster is.

But even with as good a job as Aliens did in changing the nature of the danger, it still couldn't really be a horror movie to the same degree. I'd argue that Aliens worked not only because it was moderately successful in changing the horror elements, but it also made up for the horror shortcomings by becoming more of an action/adventure movie than the original was.

Re:Applies to all movies (2)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889600)

This is why I never watched the two Matrix sequels, and I never will.

Re:Applies to all movies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889932)

What are you talking about? There was only one.

Re:Applies to all movies (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891110)

They were actually fine. It is a messianic tale and follows that to the end. If you can't see that all messianic tales ripoff the ones before it then you really need to educate yourself a little. The current favorite one about that Jesus fellow is a total ripoff of much older stories.

Re:Applies to all movies (4, Insightful)

cybrpnk2 (579066) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889638)

It certainly applied to how the Borg were handled in the star Trek franchise.

Re:Applies to all movies (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34890122)

It all depends on how it's handled. Horror movies are especially vulnerable, though, because part of the horror is in your lack of knowledge about the monster. Since you already know some of what's going on the second time around, it's not as scary.

Of course, in the right hands sequels can be made very well. Look at Toy Story for one example of a movie that never planned to have sequels, but the sequels were as well done as the original.

Re:Applies to all movies (1)

Dupple (1016592) | more than 3 years ago | (#34890668)

Except Aliens (Alien 2) changed the genre from the original and made a good film in it's own right, though it is of it's the time. Thank whoever you thank that there has been no Blade Runner sequel / prequel / remake, or some other some other BS Hollywood cash in on the franchise. Or maybe just thank Riddley Scott. Go watch Dark Star ;)

Alien in 3D? (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889042)

Okay, I admit, I loved Avatar in 3D, but everything does not need to be in 3D! Not sure I would be into an Alien 3D.

What? It is going to be Prometheus 3D? Did I just become one of the survivors from Predators or Groundhog Day?

Re:Alien in 3D? (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889278)

If you can't make it good, make it 3D!

Though I'll admit I'm biased as my eyes don't see 3D all that well in real life, never mind when they are expected to see things as out here while still focusing on a point over there...

Kinda glad, even though I like the 1st 2 (1)

steelersteve13 (1372165) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889044)

The prequel did not have to be exactly like the 1st one. If done correctly, it could have been good. But how many times does it work out like that? Rarely.

Good news (5, Interesting)

calzakk (1455889) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889066)

Actually, this is very good news. Alien and Aliens will never be bettered, fact. The rest (including A vs P) either ok or poor. Anything new will be guaranteed disappointment.

Who actually wanted to know where the xenomorphs came from? Whatever happened to imagination?

Re:Good news (2)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889096)

We all know the Xenomorphs were the results of obsessive Korean players playing Starcraft all year long to the point that, after a few generations, they physically evolved into Zergs which later became known as Xenomorphs.

Re:Good news (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889124)

Actually, this is very good news. Alien and Aliens will never be bettered, fact. The rest (including A vs P) either ok or poor. Anything new will be guaranteed disappointment.

Who actually wanted to know where the xenomorphs came from? Whatever happened to imagination?

There might have been a lot of fan interest for that. A friend is writing a prequel to a story I worked on with him due to fan requests. The original is quite popular on the free sites where it is posted now.

Tying into the original topic here, he has an eBook deal now for an adaptation of the original story for another site that has a somewhat different audience. Could be some of what happened here, the "people who know" saying there is a better market for a new movie rather than continuing the old franchise.

Re:Good news (0)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889130)

A friend is writing a prequel to a story I worked on with him due to fan requests.

Should read: Due to fan requests, a friend is writing a prequel to a story I helped him with.

Re:Good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889422)

Actually it would be:
Due to fan requests, I helped a friend writing a prequel to a story.

Re:Good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889460)

Actually it would be:
Due to fan requests, I helped a friend writing a prequel to a story.

I did not help him due to fan requests. The fans requested he write a prequel to a story I helped with and I am not working on the prequel with him.

Re:Good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889186)

Imagination? I've been imagining where the xenomorphs and the space jockey came from long enough. Now I want to see one of my imaginings become real on the big screen. Whichever one. It's too tempting and interesting to not want to see it. I find it hard to believe that someone wouldn't want to see where they came from.

Now... Whether it is a good idea to create a movie showing us this... I don't know.

Re:Good news (4, Interesting)

Barny (103770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889236)

The original Alien was horror, true suspenseful horror. The reason it worked, despite a lack of modern special effects was that they didn't show too much, they let your imagination fill in the blanks as only a good horror story will.

The human imagination can still come up with things a hundred times more scary than special effects can achieve, if only because they are tailored to that persons one fears. This is doubly so these days when pretty much every kind of scary thing has been shown to us on the big screen with crazy high definition special effects, anything new either has to be so picture perfect its not funny (see district 9) or, as with alien, leave us jumping in our seats at some perceived scary part.

Another good example is the ear cutting scene (or lack thereof) in reservoir dogs.

Re:Good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889418)

I watched Alien years ago. I felt horror and suspension. I'd feel it again whatever prequels or sequels they make. It doesn't matter if I know what I'm seeing, the people on the Nostromo don't, and you can feel how they feel. Their feelings are portrayed wonderfully, the atmosphere is portrayed wonderfully, I don't need to not know what happened to enjoy it fully.

I don't see how revealing the backstory would do anything to remove any awesomeness from the original. And even if it does, I'm not going to rewatch it over and over again, I want something new. And if anything, a good sequel would probably do less "damage" than the obvious realization that "the space jockey people were breeding genetically created monsters and equipping space bombers with them, then things went wrong", which is inevitable after you watch the original enough times.

Re:Good news (0)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889280)

I've always took issue with this attitude of "GAH STOP GIVING ME DETAILS YOUR DESTROYING MY IMAGINATION!!!!!ELEVEN"

Serisouly, if you like to imagine your own backstory for the xenomorphs do it. There being an official backstory shouldn't prevent you from imagining you own one.

Hell, you can even rewrite the obviously ripped parts and create another similar species, how many xenoclones are there?

The Zergs, the 'Nids, the Flood, the 'Roids even the Crabies qualify . Plenty of room for variation. And of course it has a huge overlap with the T-Virus and family.

How does the fact that the Xenomorph backstory is expanded ruins your imagination? You might as well never watch another movie or read another book then.

Re:Good news (1)

conark (871314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889290)

i agree. the first two are classics. everything else stunk. i never cared for Fincher's version. i refuse to watch Resurrection, despite owning it (I have the 4-pack). and AVP didn't look that great to me either. besides, if you really want to watch so-called sequels, just tune to the SyFy channel. it seems as though all they do is regurgitate 80's SyFy plots with D rated actors and bad CGI.

Re:Good news (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889466)

Resurrection isn't a bad film (as far as trashy SciFi goes), but it doesn't fit with the rest of the series at all. If you think of it as something other than an Alien film, it's quite enjoyable. If you think of it as part of the Alien universe, it's horrible. Alien 3, on the other hand, felt like an Alien film, just a really bad one.

With that in mind, I think that's a good decision. I'd rather have a good Alien-inspired film, rather than an Alien film that makes compromises to fit in with a franchise.

Re:Good news (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889824)

Resurrection isn't a bad film (as far as trashy SciFi goes), but it doesn't fit with the rest of the series at all. If you think of it as something other than an Alien film, it's quite enjoyable. If you think of it as part of the Alien universe, it's horrible. Alien 3, on the other hand, felt like an Alien film, just a really bad one.

You got that right. I actually did enjoy Resurrection, but it has a very different "feel" to it than the first three movies- a distinctly French "comic book" style versus the more "real" originals. Not to the extent of (say) The Fifth Element, but enough that it jars when you consider it next to its predecessors.

Re:Good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889310)

> Who actually wanted to know where the xenomorphs came from? Whatever happened to imagination?

Who wants everyone to stop using the word "xenomorph"? Raise your hand.

It's just an obscure way of saying "alien shaped." Sheesh.

Re:Good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889438)

It's used in the scene where the Lt is briefing the marines before the drop.

Re:Good news (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889722)

Actually, this is very good news.

It's great news. And perhaps he will have some more time to concentrate on how to bring one of the best sci-fi novels (Forever War) to the big screen.

Re:Good news (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#34890330)

And perhaps he will have some more time to concentrate on how to bring one of the best sci-fi novels (Forever War) to the big screen.

Speaking of disappointing sequels... :-)

Creating a movie vs. creating a franchise (5, Interesting)

TreeInMyCube (1789238) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889094)

Larry Niven wrote a series of novels with consistent backstory, physics, and an evolution over time -- the Known Space series. J. K. Rowling knew there would be 7 Harry Potter books, and J. Michael Straczyinski (sp) planned Bablyon 5 to have a story arc over 5 seasons. Asimov intended the Foundation Trilogy as a cohesive whole; I think that his later additions to that universe, including the tie-ins to the "I Robot" universe were motivated more by publishers than by his original vision. Perhaps Dan O'Bannon never wanted to create a universe, or a self-consistent backstory... he just wanted to make a scary movie with a surprising powerful alien. The second movie also worked as a suspense/thriller, even though we knew what the aliens' abilities were.

Re:Creating a movie vs. creating a franchise (2)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889754)

Larry Niven wrote a series of novels with consistent backstory, physics, and an evolution over time -- the Known Space series. J. K. Rowling knew there would be 7 Harry Potter books, and J. Michael Straczyinski (sp) planned Bablyon 5 to have a story arc over 5 seasons. Asimov intended the Foundation Trilogy as a cohesive whole; I think that his later additions to that universe, including the tie-ins to the "I Robot" universe were motivated more by publishers than by his original vision. Perhaps Dan O'Bannon never wanted to create a universe, or a self-consistent backstory... he just wanted to make a scary movie with a surprising powerful alien. The second movie also worked as a suspense/thriller, even though we knew what the aliens' abilities were.

The real difference is each of those authors were in much more control over the franchise than most movie director/writers/producers are. Authors generally don't have to worry about what a star wants, dealing with ego of a big producer who has his or her own 'vision', etc. They also have the luxury of not having to tell a story in a little over an hour. TV shows may be easier because you can build a story arc - and it has been successful even if individual episodes are weak - such as in the Sopranos and The Wire - so it's less of a sell; where as each movie is a one shot deal that stands on its own.

Re:Creating a movie vs. creating a franchise (1)

g4b (956118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889784)

well, not every author devotes himself to mythical writing, as does not every musician devote himself to metal.

planned universes have to come from a mind, which thinks about these things. imagination paired with lots of creativity and abstract thinking.

as dungeon and dragon novels however show us, not every universe created as background story works in actual stories very well, as does not every universe work very well if it is born by a (successful) story for creating additional content.

tieing together alien and predator was a good move for novels and pc games, it was not for movies.

i'd rather see more from the riddick universe. also please stop straczinski making bad continuations of a very great space opera. he clearly has no idea how he would continue the story of bab5.

btw, if you think you are a worldbuilder, a mythical writer, who likes books like the silmarillion, or ancient myths in general, you like to develop your stories and worlds in your mind, you might consider george macdonald as a good reading. tolkien and lewis loved him. he is very inspiring, indeed.

Re:Creating a movie vs. creating a franchise (1)

buckeyeguy (525140) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889820)

Aside from whatever extra cash it may have generated, Niven and Asimov both revisited their flagship works after long layoffs to tie up loose ends in the stories. Easier to do that with a sequel than a prequel. With a prequel all you do is mess with the story that people think they already know and, broadly generalizing, that tends to piss people off (e.g. SW Episodes 1-3 as prequel for Episode 4).

Pulling my copy of Foundation's Edge off the shelf (old school print, yo!)...and your suspicion about the publisher's wishes shows up in the afterword... it's all references to other books that would now tie in to the new storyline. Bald-faced profiteering! This is why I avoid sequels (and prequels) and look for the new, fresh stuff. Good for director Scott, I hope this new project is worth watching.

Re:Creating a movie vs. creating a franchise (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#34890032)

Larry Niven wrote a series of novels with consistent backstory, physics, and an evolution over time -- the Known Space series.

True, but he also wrote several sequels to Ringworld... Now, personally, I liked The Ringworld Engineers but The Ringworld Throne commits the heinous crime of undermining a crucial element of the plot of Engineers (as well as being a rather dull story in which not very much happens).

The second movie also worked as a suspense/thriller, even though we knew what the aliens' abilities were.

Yes - the strength of Aliens was that it took the idea in a completely different direction. The later sequels were more like do-overs of the same idea, although Resurrection did have the added interest of a mismatched crew of space mercenaries (you'd think there was a TV show and maybe a movie in that idea alone - they could have called it "glowworm" or "Tranquility" or something...)

probably for the best (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889128)

I'm a huge fan of the Alien franchise. I was very eager to see another alien movie with Ridley Scott and H.R. Giger involved. I didn't actually expect much out of it... But I was eager to see what we'd get.

But, let's be realistic here... After those first couple of movies, it's really been downhill.

From TFA (4, Funny)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889198)

Prometheus will star Rapace as scientist Elizabeth Shaw (cast by Scott after the director was impressed with her work in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), with Charlize Theron and Angelina Jolie mooted as possible co-stars in a script that previous rumours have outlined as featuring a female-manned spaceship crew with a distinctly lesbian atmosphere.

Now, what was wrong with the old outline?

sequels are usually worse (5, Informative)

Jodka (520060) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889228)

As this graph [datapointed.net] shows, regardless of the genre, sequels are usually worse than the original.

Re:sequels are usually worse (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889710)

Everyone knows most sequels suck.

But are there any good prequels?

Re:sequels are usually worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34891048)

I very much enjoyed the recent Star Trek movie.

The graph is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34890184)

Come on, Back to the Future II is rated that low? Batman Returns is rated high? Yeah right.

Re:The graph is wrong (1)

maeka (518272) | more than 3 years ago | (#34890456)

Come on, Back to the Future II is rated that low? Batman Returns is rated high? Yeah right.

Any system is going to have it's outliers. I think rasher's shown similar outliers using IMDB instead of rotten tomatoes. I also think it is presented more clearly.

http://rasher.dk/filmgraphs/ [rasher.dk]

Re:sequels are usually worse (1)

Viperpete (1261530) | more than 3 years ago | (#34890568)

Interesting graph, I wonder where "Army of Darkness" would place on it compared to "Evil Dead" and "Evil Dead II."

I looked for it and didn't see it, but I assume that it would not be there as it is a triquel and a "B' movie.

Re:sequels are usually worse (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34891228)

Hah, the biggest outlier is Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Seeing how District 9 turned out (2, Interesting)

KuRa_Scvls (932317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889234)

Seeing how District 9 turned out, this will be a good thing.

To those that are not aware, District 9 evolved out from a Live-action Halo movie project.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_9#Development [wikipedia.org]

What? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889306)

District 9 had nothing to do with Halo. Peter Jackson was going to do a Halo movie at the time, but it fell through, so he instead created District 9, based on the short film Alive in Joburg [wikipedia.org] .
 
Even if D9 were inspired by Halo, how does that have anything to do with TFA?

Re:Seeing how District 9 turned out (-1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889508)

Seeing how District 9 turned out,

You mean, as RACISM IS BAD a crappy remake RACISM IS BAD of Alien Nation (not exactly an artistic masterpiece itself), with a really RACISM IS BAD unsubtle message RACISM IS BAD (UNLESS IT'S AGAINST NIGERIANS, THEY'RE ALL CRIMINALS) and a plot that failed to make sense on so many RACISM IS BAD levels. It did have some big RACISM IS BAD explosions.

Somebody please lock this man in a room w/ Lucas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889530)

For at least a day

Re:Somebody please lock this man in a room w/ Luca (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889624)

I think most of /. would rather see Lucas locked in a room with the alien.

the problem with sequels (3, Informative)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889550)

There's no compelling story to tell.

We can't use Lord of the Rings as an example because it' really one big film in three parts. But we can use Empire as an example. The first film told a proper story and Empire continued it. It was good drama. Same goes for Terminator 2. There was room in the universe to tell another story. But after two time travel stories, the only possible room left in that universe was to tell the story of the future war. No time travel. Just Judgement Day, John Connor putting his military together, the fight against the machines. Some people might say this is essentially a prequel since these events were already established as having happened beforehand but I think there's still room to tell an interesting story. There was certainly no need for another fucking time travel story like T3. T4 was almost the story they should have told but executed in the most ham-fisted, talentless fashion imaginable.

The Matrix, on the other hand, was a movie where a sequel was completely impossible. Neo had already won. The war was over but for the fussy details. There is simply no possible way that anyone could do a sequel of any good with that movie. You have one movie, it told the whole story. There's no room for any sort of sequel, period.

Something like Pirates, that could do with sequels. The original movie shouldn't have been any good in the first place, being based on an amusement park ride and a completely transparent excuse to make money. But it happened to be light, enjoyable fun, really fun. Kudos for them. So then they went at the sequels with a vengeance and hate-fucked every last bit of fun out of the whole thing. You could have had three nice, all ages adventure movies like Indiana Jones. Instead it was just limp, lifeless shit.

Could someone tell another good story within the aliens universe? Of course they can. The question is will they? Not likely. Every movie is put out there to make money but there's a difference between something greenlit in the hopes of making some money versus something that's now seen as a cash cow and, more importantly, something that is now a formula. They'll let you play around with first movies but once they think you have lightning in a bottle, they won't let you change a thing. Mass produce it and see if we can suck all the milk out of this teat. There will never be another good aliens movie or another good predator movie because the suits will never release enough control for it to be any good.

Re:the problem with sequels (3, Interesting)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#34890166)

The Matrix, on the other hand, was a movie where a sequel was completely impossible. Neo had already won. The war was over but for the fussy details.

I don't think that's the problem. The problem was that a major factor in The Matrix's success was the look and atmosphere of the film. There hadn't been anything like it at all in mainstream western cinema - but by the time the sequels hit the streets, "bullet time" and extreme martial arts had become cliches.

Its the same reason that there should never be a sequel to Blade Runner - the plot of which was nothing to write home about, but it completely re-defined the look of on-screen SF. (I'd pay to see a "straight" re-make of the novel, but I doubt it would be commercially viable).

Re:the problem with sequels (1)

Boronx (228853) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891194)

Rewatch it. It's still pretty awesome watching Neo progress to Supersayan, and the sequels still suck.

What's wrong with more Alien? (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34889872)

I'm the only person I know whose favorite Alien is 3. Everybody else hates it for one reason or another. I think it's the best one.

I was really peeved by the whole alien versus predator saga. Why cut the Alien universe to ribbons? Just for some Dark Horse - inspired shit? Now we have to assume that the Bishop that told Ripley he's the actual Bishop android designer was lying. Because that guy died on Earth hundreds of years earlier. Pissy! Frickin' piss box!

I thought Alien - Resurrected was total shit, I mean why make a goofy comic sequel to a horror movie? But it eventually became a mixed blessing when it produced an interview with Weaver who said she was up for making more Alien movies anytime the producers wanted her to. I always thought, "wow, Weaver, she's this huge-ticket actress, very prestigious, Alien is probably a stain on her career, I can't imagine how they drag her into slinking around in the muck like that..." and I finally got the chance to put it in perspective: Alien movies is where all her money comes from. How many people here rented "Gorillas in the Mist" much in the last twenty years? Anybody? And then, even later on, I realized that it was best for the fourth movie to be a comic blast, because there shouldn't have been another sequel, but it's the kind of thing that needs to be addressed, for closure. So for me, Resurrection came to embody the seal on the cap, so to speak, "there aren't going to be any more sequels".

Too bad you can't really make a prequel -- Ripley never had any contact with the species before the first movie. There's no place for it to fit. You could try to rig up some bullshit story involving an original and a clone, but you'd have to explain the clone's lifetime of memories.

Anyways, I don't see the big problem. Why do people get so miffed? Just because sequels and prequels are typically done bad doesn't mean they always have to be.

And just because some artists are perfectionist or egotistical doesn't mean you *HAVE* to "honor" their every intent for their art. Part of being a mature artist is releasing your artwork, and releasing means releasing in every sense of the word. I think the co-creator's thought that making sequels lessens the impact of the horror is self-illusionment that his horror is some kind of prima materia. It's just a flick; it's scary to anybody who hasn't seen it before, and less scary to those who have, period. There might be a point about making the Alien itself this cultural icon, making it too commonplace so that people are exposed to it before they see the film and so aren't surprised and shocked when it first appears, but they already fucked that up with the concept art appearing on the posters and every clip of the creature appearing in trailers from the very beginning. And was he really so egotistical that he thought it would become ubiquitous? That kids would be sipping Alien Blood *WITH MORE VITAMIN C* at school lunch? That we'd all kick Mario in the ass and play Alien: Platform Saga from now on? That by the time you're ten years old you're so sick of hearing about and seeing Aliens everywhere, now that you can sneak into the theatre to watch the Gala Event 1,000th Re-Showing of the original (shyeah) you don't even want to because blaggggh you puke face hugger pasta in white cheese sauce in your sleep? Puh lease.

Some people. Idealists, too. But some PEOPLE.

Re:What's wrong with more Alien? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 3 years ago | (#34890172)

kids would be sipping Alien Blood *WITH MORE VITAMIN C* at school lunch?

Given what the "actual" Alien blood was like in the films, if this drink was remotely realistic, the results would be horrendous... :-O

Re:What's wrong with more Alien? (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#34890296)

How many people here rented "Gorillas in the Mist" much in the last twenty years?

James Cameron? (Am I the only one who thought Weaver's chain-smoking in Avatar was a reference to "Gorillas in the Smoke"?)

Why do people get so miffed?

Because bad sequels get written and promoted at the expense of new ideas.

Re:What's wrong with more Alien? (1)

gerddie (173963) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891402)

I'm the only person I know whose favorite Alien is 3. Everybody else hates it for one reason or another. I think it's the best one.

No, you're not the only one :)

Counterexample of a superior sequel (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34889934)

Godfather 2.

No Franchise Rape? (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 3 years ago | (#34890240)

Ridley Scott has never been one to go the route of Lucas and Spielberg who constantly rape franchises for the easy trip to the bank. You've got to hand it to the guy for wanting to make films and not cash vehicles. I'm looking forward to this, especially if Noomi Rapace is involved. Check her out in the movies based on the Millenium series.

Disco is NOT dead ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34890976)

Disco is LIFE!!!

The problem with prequels (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34890990)

is that they do damage to the backstory. If you've followed the series you've been given hints of a backstory by the authors/writers and your imagination fills in the rest. Prequels pull back the curtain to show you everything missing, and it usually doesn't match your expectations. Hence the Star Wars prequels and most everyone's reaction which was disappointment. Another example is the Brian Herbert Dune novels. His father had already done an excellent job writing much of the backstory and it wasn't necessary to know every single detail. There are many others like this such as the latest Star Trek film, although it at least made the attempt of rewriting history through a time travel story (albeit well worn). I now avoid prequels and reboots because they don't meet my expectations. As the previous poster above said, if you don't like them don't watch them and I take that advice to heart.

Re:The problem with prequels (0)

Boronx (228853) | more than 3 years ago | (#34891218)

Why would anyone in their right mind pick up a "Dune" book by Brian Herbert? There is something seriously wrong with science fiction fans.

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