As I've mentioned in previous articles, I really can't help pitching the prospective Alien 5 and Prometheus 2 against each other. I know I shouldn't, given the pally exterior Neill Blomkamp and Ridley Scott are putting up, but it's so hard to resist! It's like being told not to look at the top of a magazine rack, or not to annoy your younger sibling. You're just gonna want to do it more!
What's bizarre about Prometheus 2 and Alien 5 is that they're being crafted by filmmakers with completely different styles and heritages, and are both claiming to take the brand in a wild new direction. This is all happening at once, with the audience and fandom caught in the middle. I just want to reach out to Blomkamp and Scott, and shout "boys! You can both marry me!" The truth is, I doubt either of these projects are truly for the audience, and are more likely serving each director's desires with the Alien mythos. So, judging by previous movies, rumors, concept art, and each director's body of work, let's pitch Alien 5 against Prometheus 2 and see who comes out on top!
Now in a category literally entitled "Aliens", it might be easy to determine which movie wins. Let's be nice to Prometheus 2 for a moment, and give it the benefit of the doubt. The first Prometheus introduced a few cool concepts, but ultimately didn't wow in the Alien department. I don't think I'll ever forgive it for retconning the space jockeys to not have giant elephant faces. Everything is worse without giant elephant faces! Ultimately, nothing in Prometheus wasn't derivative of established Alien iconography, right down to that non-xenomorph at the end. Although there have been promises of new Alien lifeforms in Prometheus 2, I can't shake the idea that they will be some variation of black goo and or Geiger monster.
Conversely, Alien 5 will have xenomorphs, so it wins this category, just like anything in the world that simply "has xenomorphs". They're kind of a trump card really.
Of course, Prometheus and its sequels takes place in a time before Weyland merges with the Yutani corporation, so it depicts an entirely different company to the one that dispatched the Nostromo, the Sulaco and the Colonial Marines out to LV-426. This is why I'm actually more excited to see the Prometheus 2 iteration of Weyland corp, as for once, it's not retreading ground already laid by the Alien movies... I hope.
Blomkamp's movie is likely still depicting an evil organization that continues to think it's a good idea to bring ravenous space monsters back to Earth for the purpose of bio-weaponry research. Hey, Blomkamp! Jurassic World just did a great job of proving why that's a dumb idea! You don't have to follow suit.
The notion of adventure and discovery is a dubious one to apply to the Alien franchise. Sure, it's about venturing into the far-off reaches of space and coming across unknown lifeforms, but Star Trek it ain't! Shaw's lines from the first Prometheus "we were so wrong!" perfectly embody what these movies think about the whimsical adventure of the cosmos. That said, the concept art initially exhibited by Blomkamp seemed mostly concerned with the Weyland Yutani headquarters, and is aiming for a relatively stationary fight for survival. While I'm not a fan of the confused ideas of discovery and creation that Prometheus revels in, I still prefer it over what could essentially become an arena match!
This is where the real differences in these projects emerge. Neill Blomkamp and Ridley Scott couldn't be more different as creators. One's a heritage artist who helped shape the back bone of sci-fi cinema, and then did nothing else; the other is a young prodigy who excited everyone with his debut, and has dilly dallied around ever since. Actually, they're pretty similar when you think about it. While Neil Blomkamp has lived firmly in the shadow of District 9, Ridley Scott has marched out of the shadows of Alien and Blade Runner so far that he's currently getting sun burn. It's not a good look. It makes him look extra grumpy.
If I had to peg a director to produce a more interesting product in 2016, it would be Blomkamp. While Blomkamp is generally a shakier director who shoots first, makes a movie later, as evidenced by films like Chappie, Scott has slowly descended into the realms of predictability. I'm not getting ready to watch Prometheus 2, but getting ready to watch its script, delivered through Ridley Scott.
What are your thoughts, hopes and fears for Prometheus 2 and Alien 5? Let us know with a post here on MoviePilot, or leave a comment below!