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Old 11-30-2020, 02:43 PM   #1
Cremildo Cremildo is offline
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Default Ridley Scott Turns 83: A Personal History and Appreciation

For most of my life, I regarded Ridley Scott as a director who made slick, well-crafted movies that nonetheless left me cold. Spielberg – more embracing, sentimental, whose name graced the credits of so many childhood favorites - used to monopolize my attention. Alien was a modest oldie that was overshadowed by its more action-oriented sequel; Blade Runner nearly put me to sleep back in the VHS days; Black Hawk Down had a relentless intensity that left little room for emotional resonance; Gladiator wowed with great sets, costumes and a star-making Russell Crowe turn, yet the acclaim befuddled me; Hannibal could be summed up as a bizarre exaggeration of its Oscar-winning predecessor. Scott seemed to be an imperious, scowling “man’s man”. Remember his sour face during the producers’ speech when Gladiator won Best Picture but he went home emptyhanded? Tough guy to like.

Nowadays, he’s my favorite filmmaker. How did that happen?

I warmed up to him little by little, starting with the bonus materials on the Hannibal DVD, in which I found him surprisingly funny – the story he told about calling Steven Zaillian’s office and absent-mindedly asking for Ted Telly instead made me crack up. Matchstick Men was an unexpected comedic delight, as was the taut geopolitical thriller Body of Lies and the entertaining period epic Robin Hood. After getting a Blu-ray player, I popped in Blade Runner: The Final Cut which, seen through the eyes of an adult instead of an impatient young teenager, finally earned its reputation as a masterpiece. We’re in 2010 now – I was already a hardcore Alien franchise fan, still more reverential towards Cameron’s 1986 entry. It was around that time I got wind of some exciting news: Ridley Scott would be back to direct a prequel to his own 1979 milestone! Alien: Resurrection and those accursed crossovers that shall go unnamed hadn’t killed the star beast after all. Encouraged by my newfound appreciation for him thanks to how much I had liked his recent output, I began to pay more attention to all things Scott.

Despite not seeing it in 3D and having overcome my initial disappointment that it wouldn’t be a direct prequel, I took a liking to Prometheus from the get-go. It was the kind of movie that encouraged viewers to spend days reading other people’s interpretations and theories after leaving the theater, and also my favorite brand of sci-fi: atmospheric, enigmatic, speculating on our origins, our faith, and whether we are alone in the universe. It was only in the following year, however, when I saw it again at home, that my appreciation blossomed into full-blown admiration. It provided awe and wonder with an edge, something that Spielberg seemingly no longer cared about, having turned into a chronicler of all things Old and Important. Do you know how you can be so thoroughly consumed by a movie to the point that it colors the impressions you have not only of its director’s past legacy but also of his upcoming projects? Suddenly I found myself revisiting and rethinking – in other words, seeing with new eyes – Scott's oeuvre, identifying stylistic and thematic patterns, and above all, though rather subtly, a personality as a storyteller that was unmistakably his own and which he did manage to imprint on some of his films, sometimes even in the most commercial ones. From indifference to mild interest to fandom.

What follows isn’t substantial enough to merit a detailed explanation, so long story short: I rewatched Alien for the first time in over a decade. The result? mindblown.gif. It became my all-time number one movie, and Scott cemented himself as the biggest head in my personal Mount Rushmore of directors. What about his touch that justifies this homage, though? Let’s skip the commonplace - yet totally valid - reasons, such as “a great eye for detail”, “the sheer aesthetic beauty” or “a knack for worldbuilding”. Fostering recurring themes, favoring a certain type of camera placement or movement, setting a particular rhythm to the proceedings during the shooting or in post etc. are but a few of the trademarks of a distinctive filmmaker. Just as relevant is their ability to develop a consistent cinematic reality of their own.

I’d describe Scott’s as one where human behavior and emotion are rendered in a less typically mannered, heightened fashion than most mainstream Hollywood fare, utterly apart from, say, the aforementioned Spielberg. There is an unsentimental, matter-of-fact patina to his outlook on life. Consider how God is represented simply by a curt boy in Exodus: Gods and Kings. Remember the formal, albeit merciless, dialogue-exchange-as-power-play between “father” and “son” that opens Alien: Covenant. A skeptical reader might argue that it’s in the script, therefore not creditable to Scott. I’m not referring merely to the concepts per se but to their enactment, which is guided by the hands of the director. It’s a trait detectable mainly in his 21st-century work. (With perhaps two exceptions - Black Rain, Thelma & Louise -, his post-Blade Runner, pre-Gladiator period feels anonymous, uninspired in terms of self-expression.) You will notice that these two examples stem from not long ago – a deliberate choice to illustrate how the usual claims that he has “lost it” are shortsighted. If one pays attention, however, it’s clear that said resemblance to realism in characterization and setting can be found in good ole Alien, what with its world-weary blue-collar characters, their down-to-earth banter and occasionally blunt interactions, not to mention the cluttered, lived-in interiors of the Nostromo.

Along with a select few colleagues like Mann, Fincher and heir apparent Villeneuve, Ridley Scott is living proof that intelligent life can still be found in big-budget Hollywood, catering to the demands of the adults in the audience.

This is meant as a thank-you note to a filmmaker whose vision not only helped me (re)shape my ability to recognize what I see around me in the wide white canvas of the big screen but also stimulates my imagination with waking dreams that are a tad brainier and, paradoxically, less escapist than those concocted by populist entertainers. Being a fan has never been so exciting: at 83, Scott has no less than three major theatrical features to be released in the near future.

Note to Gaff: unlike Rachael, he will live!

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Old 11-30-2020, 02:47 PM   #2
Starscreamx9 Starscreamx9 is offline
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Scott is hit or miss and honestly I'm not a huge fan of American Gangster, Hannibal, Body Of Lies and also Blade Runner.

I enjoyed like one of these and the rest was pretty boring.

I need to watch more of his stuffx
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Old 11-30-2020, 03:52 PM   #3
DR Herbert West DR Herbert West is offline
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Scott is the man.
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Old 11-30-2020, 03:54 PM   #4
Starscreamx9 Starscreamx9 is offline
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I think that Ridley Scott is overrated.

Too many misses in his career.
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Old 11-30-2020, 03:59 PM   #5
DR Herbert West DR Herbert West is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starscreamx9 View Post
I think that Ridley Scott is overrated.

Too many misses in his career.
That's nice.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:04 PM   #6
Starscreamx9 Starscreamx9 is offline
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Originally Posted by DR Herbert West View Post
That's nice.
He's like Peter Jackson. A few great movies and average/terrible ones.

I'd rather have a small, yet perfect filmography like James Cameron than having Soldier Jane, Exodus and Hannibal etc.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:06 PM   #7
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I do tend to think there are two obvious phases to his career, the Scott of The Duellists, Alien, Blade Runner and perhaps Legend(a bit of a transition) was clearly an auteur who's ambition I think matches any of the greats of cinema. Following that I think you saw him having to shift more to working within the system a lot more BUT he did manage to do so whilst retaining a lot of individuality as a film maker, moreso than latter days Spielberg IMHO.

It does mean his latter career he's much more at the mercy of scripts for me and has more shift in content so I can understand people finding his work uneven.

The Scott of Alien and Blade Runner especially though I think his reputation as a cold film maker really isn't deserved. His love of Kubrick at that time has always been mentioned but I think theres a much more empathic tone to his work even if its sometimes quite subtle.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:07 PM   #8
DR Herbert West DR Herbert West is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starscreamx9 View Post
I'd rather have a small, yet perfect filmography like James Cameron than having Soldier Jane, Exodus and Hannibal etc.
Blade Runner > Any Cameron film

Alien > Any Cameron film

Hannibal > Avatar
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DR Herbert West View Post
How is Cameron's filmography weaker though?

T1 and T2 beats anything Scott has done BY FAR.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:10 PM   #10
DR Herbert West DR Herbert West is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starscreamx9 View Post
T1 and T2 beats anything Scott has done BY FAR.
I disagree.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:23 PM   #11
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Ridley Scott GOAT.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:41 PM   #12
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It's Sir Ridley Scott and yes he is the GOAT.Hands down my Fav.Let's be greatfull we still have him around working at 83.The day will come when a filmmaker of his talents will no longer be around.Then no film will ever look like a Sir Ridley Scott film.Same goes for Spielberg,Cameron.Respect.

Last edited by movieeddie; 11-30-2020 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:41 PM   #13
Starscreamx9 Starscreamx9 is offline
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I disagree.
What movies he has done to match these two?

BR is boring compared to T2 and far less enjoyable.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
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What movies he has done to match these two?

BR is boring compared to T2 and far less enjoyable.
Kingdom of Heaven says hello.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:45 PM   #15
Koller70 Koller70 is offline
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Not a big fan.
I mean I acknowledge that he undeniably redefined science fiction forever with Alien and Blade Runner, and Gladiator is a modern classic, but I also think that he's a huge hit and miss.
Still I'm looking forward to the Gucci movie.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:46 PM   #16
Starscreamx9 Starscreamx9 is offline
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Originally Posted by The Debts View Post
Kingdom of Heaven says hello.
Haven’t seen it.

I honestly will watch a few of his movies in the nezt week.

For now his best remains Gladiator and American Gangster who I enjoyed a lot, rest not so much.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:46 PM   #17
DR Herbert West DR Herbert West is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starscreamx9 View Post
What movies he has done to match these two?

BR is boring compared to T2 and far less enjoyable.
Blade Runner is my favorite film.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:51 PM   #18
Starscreamx9 Starscreamx9 is offline
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Originally Posted by DR Herbert West View Post
Blade Runner is my favorite film.
Can't say I agree, I actually prefer the Denis Villenueve version to it.

What kind of movies you are on? So that might explain Terminator 2 being not as good as BR.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:58 PM   #19
Gacivory Gacivory is offline
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My top 5 favorite Ridley Scott

1. Blade Runner
2. American Gangster
3. Alien
4. Gladiator
5. Thelma & Louise

I think The Counselor is underrated.

My most anticipated of his upcoming slate of movies is the Napoleon project. That sounds like it could be fantastic! I am also interested in Gucci.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:58 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Haven’t seen it.

I honestly will watch a few of his movies in the nezt week.

For now his best remains Gladiator and American Gangster who I enjoyed a lot, rest not so much.
Go with the Director's Cut only on KOH; The differences between the TC and DC are night and day.
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