And now Ridley Scott wants Harrison Ford for Blade Runner II? The saddest thing an artist can do is to be forced to go back to their past to amuse the masses. This was the trap that poor George Lucas fell into: Try-and-try as he did to remake Star Wars he couldn’t pull it off. The result? Of course we all stood in line and watched Jar Jar Binks, but now that it’s been more than a decade since The Phantom Menace and today fanboys still yearn for the real thing — Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. And sadly I fear Ridley Scott is going down the same path to schlockdom.
Don’t get me wrong: Prometheus is going to give fans of Alien all the eye candy that they’ve been dying to eat since the days when James Cameron made them happy with the semi-worthy sequal Aliens. But I’m telling you now: Ten minutes after the Blu-ray director’s cut come out, nobody will care. And what makes me sad as a cinema fanboy is that with a Blade Runner sequal in the works I know that while Ridley Scott’s bank account will be enviable that when we look back on his career this will be the dark ages.
Is there an alternative? Yes! I desperately wish that Ridley Scott would instead go the Stanley Kubrick route and never repeat himself. I’ll grant you that some Kubrick films are better than others, but even the Kubrick film that you like the least will always make you stop what you’re doing when channel surfing and pay attention to what he has to say. This isn’t by accident: Kubrick could have cashed out, but he went out of his way to not play that game.
The first thing Kubrick did well was that instead of turning into a producer like Lucas, he kept directing — and not only directing but writing scripts as well. He could have gone all Hollywood, yet he made his home in England so that he could be as far away from the corruption as he could travel. Kubrick hated the idea of sequels, so much so that he destroyed all the models from 2001: A Space Odyssey, least they get used by a second rate director in a second story. And while he may have failed to prevent 2010 from being made years later, nobody blames him for it.
Of course I don’t kid myself that Ridley Scott won’t make another Blade Runner film, and sadly I’ll still find myself standing in line with all of my fellow junkies on opening day — yet it’s sad to me that Hollywood doesn’t have the vision to take a chance and do something new for a change. Alas the franchise model of filmmaking is profitable, but it isn’t good for the soul. And I think that’s why I admire the first Alien film and Blade Runner, while hating the likes of other films that came out in that era like Star Trek: The Motion Picture and yes The Phantom Menace.