Regular readers of this column will doubtless be aware of my distaste for the recent run of films directed by Ridley Scott and the disdain for the regard in which he is held following a career set apart by only two true masterpieces, one great one, a few good ones – and a lot of dross.
He has no shortage of swagger and ego, though, so remains at the top where other, better filmmakers of less repute, noise and commercial clout flounder.
So you can imagine how I took the news that he was digging around his greatest work to make a prequel.
The whole thing stank of the chance to make a big score and my mood was not improved by a string a number of trailers that gave a lot away. He still says it’s not a prequel’ – sorry Ridley, but you need to check a dictionary.
All my rage and anger has subsided though, because our Rid, on going backwards, has actually gone forward and delivered a really entertaining and interesting film. It’s not a masterpiece, it might not even be great, but it’s no dross.
A fantastic cast are on board (Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Idris Elba) to tell the story of archaeologists heading out into space upon finding messages in caves, funded by the powerful Weyland Corporation, eagerly interested in what is out there.
When they arrive at their destination they realise the messages were not friendly, not friendly at all. And the future, of life on earth, and science fiction cinema is revealed in frequently gripping, constantly geek drooling fashion. More like this please Ridley, but leave Blade Runner alone.
Snow White And The Huntsman
The second re-imagining of the Snow White legend in recent months is a vast improvement on Mirror Mirror but it’s still shambolically disappointing, especially from such a great idea and great cast (headed by Charlize Theron again).
Huntsman Chris ‘Thor’ Hemsworth is charged with killing Snow White Kristen ‘Bella Swan/Cullen’ Stewart but decides to become her protector and they hatch a plan to dethrone the evil Queen. It’s a good place to start the story, but the film never really gets to grips with balancing innovation and tradition and it’s all a bit messy. There are some great performances, some nice moments and Theron is brilliant.
The Angels’ Share
Ken Loach’s latest is another from the viewpoint of the Scottish working classes but it’s full of the mischief and light-heartedness that underpinned his entertaining Looking For Eric, a far cry from his deeper works such as The Wind That Shakes The Barley.
The film deals with serious issues through the bottom of a whisky bottle as a young man faces his demons after being introduced to the fine art of whisky tasting while on community service. Minor Loach, but minor Loach is better than major most others.