As Ridley Scott gears up for the international release of his latest film, Alien: Covenant, the English director has recently taken time to reflected upon the decisions made while making 2012's Prometheus.
Upon release, Prometheus faced a backlash from fans who were somewhat disheartened by the newest installment of the Alien franchise, despite raking in a whopping $403.4 million worldwide. Speaking with Collider, the acclaimed director shared how he responded to the film's mixed reception.
"It went straight up there, and we discovered from it that [the fans] were really frustrated. They wanted to see more of the original [monster] and I thought he was definitely cooked, with an orange in his mouth. So I thought: ‘Wow, OK, I’m wrong’."
There should be no doubt that this had an impact on Scott's process while creating the film's sequel, Alien: Covenant. In fact, Scott had originally planned to go in a very different direction after the events of Prometheus. Subsequent to the release of Prometheus, he told Yahoo Movies that the Xenomorph wouldn't appear in any sequels to the film. So, we have to respect Scott's dedication to fan service with this significant change.
Scott went on to further explain how his plans were altered thanks to the audience's reaction to Prometheus, describing their opinions as a reflection of his own doubts.
"The fans, in a funny kind of way – they’re not the final word – but they are the reflection of your doubts about something ... and then you realize ‘I was wrong’ or ‘I was right’. I think that’s where it comes in. I think you’re not sensible if you don’t actually take [the fans’ reaction] into account."
It is reassuring to know that after being in the industry for 40 years, Ridley Scott still reaches out to fans and takes their reactions into account - and for this, Scott should be praised. However, the lack of Xenomorphs wasn't the only reason fans were left disappointed.
Upon release, fans and critics alike found that Prometheus had a problematic amount of loose ends. Youtube reviewer Chris Stuckmann also summed up how the audience's expectations had been significantly different to the end result.
"Prometheus was polarizing in its response from film-goers, and one of the largest reasons tossed around the internet was for its deeply confusing and grand scale metaphors. Many walked into this movie expecting a science fiction thriller in the vein of Ridley Scott’s original Alien."
Alien is often celebrated for giving fans one of the most memorable protagonists of all time, Sigourney Weaver's Ripley, while also giving the audience a wide range of side-characters to root for. Even though Prometheus boasted a magnificent cast consisting of Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Idris Elba and Guy Pearce, these characters didn't connect with audiences in the same way. Tom Charity from CNN went as far as to describe the characters from the movie as "close to caricature".
"Scott has assembled an engagingly rough and ready, workmanlike cast, but doesn't give them anything interesting to say for themselves. Theron's brittle executive officer is just too close to caricature, and she's not the only one either. Although she's likeable enough I can't see Noomi Rapace's Shaw proving as durable as Sigourney Weaver's Ripley either. The movie's stand out is clearly Fassbender. So it's too bad David's actions don't make a lot of sense, at least not to this perplexed viewer, who couldn't be sure if the robot was following orders or following his own agenda."
Fortunately, we'll be seeing much more of Michael Fassbender in Alien: Covenant, as the celebrated actor will play two characters throughout the sci-fi flick - a decision that could be yet another way in which Scott responded to fan's desires.
With early reviews of the upcoming film, Scott's efforts have not gone unnoticed. Take Den of Geek's Ryan Lambie for example, who was one of many critics to comment on Alien: Covenant's attempts to address fan's criticisms of Prometheus.
"'Alien: Covenant' feels like something of a response to the criticisms leveled at 'Prometheus' ... 'Alien: Covenant' isn’t, therefore, a perfect specimen. But in the now quite large run of Alien movies ... 'Covenant' still ranks as one of the better ones."
So, it looks like Ridley Scott's open approach to criticism has served him well, and he's showing no signs of slowing down either. With Alien: Covenant about to hit theaters, Scott has already planned a sequel that will connect to the first Alien movie.
It's great to hear that Scott has come to terms with previous mis-steps, and the way in which he has looked to make amends should be commended. Critics have already sounded off with their feelings towards the latest installment in the franchise, so now it's time for the fans to decide whether Covenant holds up as a worthy inclusion to the Alien franchise.
Alien: Covenant will arrive in theaters on 12th May, 2017.
Are you excited for 'Covenant'?
(Source: Collider; Poll Image Courtesy: 20th Century Fox)