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Great Scott

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Mark Kermode | 18:01 UK time, Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Tomorrow I get to see the eagerly anticipated new Ridley Scott film Prometheus. What better time to reveal my 5 favourites movies from his career.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Hey, a clip! If anyone else was trying to avoid the trailers you're not doing your best to help.

  • Comment number 2.

    I’ve consciously made the decision to go into Prometheus completely cold, no reviews, no Rotten Tomato percentages, no research of any kind, nothing. I’ve never approached a movie in this way. I want to make sure that my opinion of the film is not colored by a review or a cross section of reviews, but is mine and mine alone. The film simply seems too important for that.

  • Comment number 3.

    Don't argue with four of these Dr. K but despite your sterling and almost compelling defence of White Squall I'd replace it with Gladiator. Indeed, as I think back over Scott's career I feel a top eight would be fairer (though still no place for White Squall).

    To this end we could add Kingdom of Heaven but ONLY if it was the Director's Cut, which is a much more coherent film. I can't think of another film, and I include the Lord of the Rings trilogy here, which presents better battle sequences. Then, I'd add Someone to Watch Over Me, which has a good performance from Tom Berenger (before he more of less spent the rest of his career playing a sniper) and a great one from a then unknown Lorraine Braco. Finlly, consider The Duellists. Has there ever been a more beautiful and painterly film? It's the sort of film that helps film academics explain the significance of tableau!

    Oh! No place for Black Rain or Matchstick Men...

  • Comment number 4.

    Good choices ... although I'd argue it's pronounced 'Deckherd' with a silent 'h' but that's nit-picking. The ultimate (ie latest) cut of Bladerunner is my favourite. Everything the Director's Cut has but with the problems (wires / wrong actors as stunt doubles / bad sets etc) corrected to the point where the uninitiated wouldn't even spot it. Very subtle work. Having said that: on the Blu-Ray set there's an option to view the outtakes and they're presented in narrative chronology almost as another cut of the film: now that's interesting too!

  • Comment number 5.

    As a proud member of the general moviegoing public not bound by contractual agreements will give my review tomorrow. While I cannot claim to have seen all of Sir Ridley Scott's films I will still give my favourites among those I have seen:

    5. The Duellists (the beautiful landscapes and duels of the two protagonists left me stunned).

    4. Thelma and Louise (because that is a film that truly respects women and has a feminist message that sadly got lost recently or we would not get atrocious films like Sex and The City 1 and 2).

    3. Gladiator (Joaquin Phoenix and Russel Crowe at their best, even though the director took some liberties with historical facts but the direction is great)

    2. Blade Runner (the Director's Cut is the definitive version for me because I don't need to have a voiceover telling me everything that I can already see on the screen and making Deckard a replicant has so much more depth).

    1. Alien (the slow pacing, all performances are great, especially Ian Holmes, and the enigmatic creatures and amazing special effects are secondary to no other film of the genre).

    Here's to the hope that Prometheus will make my list in the future, although I'd hate to throw one of my 5 out.

  • Comment number 6.

    Where on earth is Gladiator, Black Rain, and Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut) If there ever has to be an argument of a director's cut improving the film than Kingdom of Heaven is surely a prime example. Sure Orlando Bland is terrible, but the film itself is vastly improved.

    Also Black Rain is an unappreciated film, sure its a vehicle for Michael Douglas and Ridley Scott was a director for hire on the project after Paul Verhoeven dropped out, but this brilliant cop thriller is a staple of the genre and unlike some cop thrillers of the period, it actually deals with action, production design AND characters. Douglas' performance is superb and the soundtrack (Scott's first collaboration with Hans Zimmer) is 80s sublime.

    Now for the positive; Black Hawk Down is a brilliant war film that not only amps up the action to eleven but also defies the confusion of being in battle and the adrenlaine that comes up during battle.

    Alien; the only film in the franchise that is worth watching (yes even Cameron's film is vastly inferior) a brilliant horror film and a brilliant sci-fi film that delivers on shocks and surprises and, like Blade Runner, delivers on the possibility of a plauable future, a dirty and industrial enviroment.

    Blade Runner: What's there to mention on this masterpiece. Although I have to choose the Final Cut as my prefered version. That little sequence when Deckard is on the streets on his way to Taffy Louis's night club is brief but both brilliant and mezmerising.

    Also The Duellists; a brilliant costume drama that tries to break away from the cliches of the genre and becomes a European set Western that deals in rivalry between two officers of the Napoleonic wars. Sure the American accents may seem dodgy (Carradine's especially) but this brilliant debut is both a very satisfying and a great introduction into the worlds that Scott would go on to create.

    Its a shame he didn't get to do Dune after Blade Runner though. Would've been better then Star Wars for sure.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'll chip in with my five

    5- American Gangster - A slobbish good cop and the coldest villain in a long time. Great performances and a killer soundtrack what more could you want?

    4- Gladiator - When I was working at our local multiplex this was one of the few films to make me actually say 'wow'. Battle scenes that draw you in and an amazing performance by Russell 'Sure I can do an ancient Roman accent' Crowe.
    (although it should be said that from day one the 'pillow of sand' that supports our dead Gladiators head has always bothered me).

    3- Alien - As you have already mentioned just looks spectacular

    2- Blade Runner - See above

    1- Black Rain - Okay an odd choice I know, But I love this film. Michael Douglas gives his best performance since Coma and Scott really does seem to have a love/hate relationship with Japan. Cliche ridden and dark in every sense of the word (just imagine how unwatchable a 3D version would be) it is MY guilty pleasure.

  • Comment number 8.

    Top 5 Ridley Scott Films

    1. Gladiator (2000)- A Sweeping sword n' sandels epic and a triumph on virtually every level.

    2. Alien (1978)- A slow-paced, gripping mix of haunted-house horror and Sci-Fi thriller with a terrific central performance from Sigourney Weaer and loads of gut-ripping tension and gory violence.

    3. Black Hawk Down (2002)- A gripping and hard-hitting stuy of men at the heat of carnage that throws you into the blistering chaos with utter conviction.

    4. Kingdom of Heave (2005)- Another extraordinary epic of marvellous direction and extraordinary battles and sets. Almost as breathtaking as Gladiator.

    5. Robin Hood (2010)- An accursate and realistic interepretation that sticks to history and delivers a terrific show.

  • Comment number 9.

    Agree with your choice of Blade Runner as no. 1 Ridley Scott film (although personally I would find it hard to separate it from Alien), but seriously, Thelma & Louise in the top 5 and no sign of Gladiator! Madness!

  • Comment number 10.

    The Duellists and Alien are Ridley Scott's two best movies by a long chalk. I liked Thelma & Louise as a movie going teen but doubt whether it would really stand up if I watched it today - though as the movie that introduced Brad Pitt will always hold dear in my memories.

    As a massive fan of the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep I have always found Blade Runner very disappointing. Gladiator is similarly overrated - the spectacle of the shots of the Colosseum is fantastic but that isn't enough to make a film.

    So let's look at the recent track record

    Robin Hood - Rubbish
    Body of Lies - Rubbish
    American Gangster - Rubbish
    A Good Year - Absolutely Awful, really really bad
    Kingdom of Heaven - It stars Orlundo Bland do I need to say more?
    Matchstick Men - I did quite like this
    Black Hawk Down - I've not seen this cos I have read coherent argument that it is racist whatever Dr K says.
    Hannibal - Rubbish
    Gladiator - Overrated as already said.
    G.I. Jane - Do I really need to comment? or does it speak for itself.
    White Squall - I confess I've never even heard of this, let alone seen it.
    1492: Conquest of Paradise - I like everyone else in the world have not seen this either.
    Thelma & Louise - Was awesome as a 16 year old girl, not so sure now.
    Black Rain - Rubbish and racist.
    Someone to Watch Over Me - I confess I don't remember this.
    Legend - Tom Cruise with his original nose and teeth running around in a nappy.

    This is leading me to my final point which is that as Alien is one of my favourite films of all time I am not looking forward to Prometheus. I really really hope I'm wrong but trepidatious doesn't really cover it.

  • Comment number 11.

    I agree with you on all these choices, Dr. K, but would also like to nominate "The Duellists" as a runner-up. Despite some rough edges, it really is a great film. And it has an important, dare I say timeless, message in the end.

    Fingers crossed for "Prometheus."

  • Comment number 12.

    No, A Good Year? For shame.

    I can't really argue with that list, I'm really glad Black Hawk Down was included too. I've stuck up for that film on a number of occasions.

  • Comment number 13.

    Just thought i'd correct Mark...Blade Runner is one of the top five films made EVER! Not just in Science Fiction. Simple.

  • Comment number 14.

    1- Blade Runner
    2- Alien
    3- Matchstick Men
    4- Thelma and Louise
    5- American Gangster

    Dare I say, I actually prefer Tony Scott films, with Ridley Scott they are always desperately disappointing.

  • Comment number 15.

    Surely The Final Cut is the definitive and best version of Blade Runner? The 1992 Director's Cut did not involve Ridley Scott, despite its title, and was one of the reasons why he felt compelled to make his own Final Cut, to end all debate over which version was best. And I think he was justified in doing so. It is excellent.

  • Comment number 16.

    madgirlipswitch, you CANNOT not see a film and defend this by claiming you're making a moral point based on someone elses argument. The great K himself said shame on anyone who watches Little Man. I still watched it. Have to make your own decisions. Black Hawk Down is not rascist and certainly deserves to be on the list. Personally, I'd put it even higher.

  • Comment number 17.

    Some good choices (well White Squall is utter pants), but I'm confused in there not being any mention of the fantastic Gladiator.

    My Top 5 is:
    1. Blade Runner: The Director/Final Cut (both are the epitamy of genius)
    2. Alien (although my fave Alien movies James Cameron's Aliens, there just more memorable characters and moments in the film. Plus Lance Henrikson Bishop is a better android/synthetic being than Ian Holm's Ash)
    3. Gladiator
    4. American Gangster
    5. Thelma & Louise

    I look forward/dread the Blade Runner sequel/follow-up.

  • Comment number 18.

    No Gladiator in that 5 Mark, were you not entertained? Blade Runnner would make number in any of it's versions.
    I have such high hopes for Prometheus i will be gutted if i don't like it.

  • Comment number 19.

    Like other people on this blog i've been desperately trying to avoid seeing the Prometheus trailer, to the point where i stood outside during a screening in my socks. I will listen to your review retrospectively, but i don't know wether i should bother with the 3D version, because if anyone can make 3D work its going to be Sir Ridley.

  • Comment number 20.

    If you're going to sing the praises of a lesser known Ridley Scott movie Mark what about Matchstick Men. The fantastic use of music superb set design and wonderful photography are obviously to be expected but the film is also very funny and has a brilliant central performance from Nicholas Cage. I'll repeat that.. a brilliant central performance from Nicholas Cage. Matchstick Men is certainly one of my favourite Ridley Scott films and shows how with the right script he can produce great character driven cinema without having to rely on the visceral intensity of Alien, Gladiator etc

  • Comment number 21.

    Might as well stick my ha'pennyworth in here:

    1. Blade Runner, obviously
    2. Alien
    3. Black Hawk Down
    4. American Gangster - seriously underrated
    5. Thelma & Louise

    On a side note, I don't know if I'll bother with Prometheus in cinemas. All the showings around here are in 3D, with only a token 2D showing here and there, which is sure to be packed out. Hate to say it, but if it's a choice between being gouged by greedy cinemas and waiting for the DVD, I can wait.

  • Comment number 22.

    I'm really surprised not to see The Duellists in there Dr K. Great performances by Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine, which shows he is an actors director, as well as the wonderful backdrops and fine costumes. I think Keitel gives one of his best performances as a man driven my an almost insane desire for satisfaction against some wrong he almost fails to remember as the duels become ever more brutal.

    Certainly can't complain about your no. 1 choice though.

  • Comment number 23.

    I really like Hannibal. It is hard to think of a film that good that has a reputation for being that bad.

  • Comment number 24.

    Dr. K,
    I am sure you have discussed this before, but why have you not included Gladiator on the list? I am only a recent listener to the show, so I am sad to say that I have missed many of your opinions on older movies. I would love to hear your general opinion of Gladiator.

    I am a little surprised that people are nominating American Gangster into this list. Personally I thought the movie was a only decent attempt at a gangster film, but no where near the level of Godfather, Goodfellas, or the Departed. I found it somewhat boring and mundane. I really cannot think of anything that made the movie stand out. Some healthy debate on the topic would be intriguing.

  • Comment number 25.

    Ooh, I've come away from watching that wondering what other movies would feature in your list of Top 5 sci-fi movies of all time!
    Found myself nodding sagely to all your comments there Dr K, especially about Black Hawk Down. Scott is famed for his precision film making, a lot of thought goes onto every shot. As you rightly said, he meant for that film to convey the confusion and panic of a military situation. And yes, he is an actors director.
    Not sure I would have the exact same top 5 though, but certainly my no 1 would match yours :)

    5. Someone to Watch Over Me - Scott brings a stylish edge to this 80s thriller which seems to have passed a lot of people by. It's a shame because there are some great performances from Mimi Rogers, Tom Berenger who was a big star at the time (great to see him pop up again in Inception recently) and Lorraine Bracco.

    4. Gladiator - A proper old fashioned epic, don't care what anyone else says, I love it. It's got Olly Reed for goodness sake, what's not to love.

    3. Thelma and Louise - for all the reasons you mentioned.

    2. Alien - Still one of the best sci-fi movies of all time. Convinced it will be held in high regard forever.

    1. Blade Runner - the best sci-fi movie of all time, although I would imagine Dr K would argue that label belongs to Silent Running. ;)

  • Comment number 26.

    Great Scott! Have you never seen The Duellists Mark?

  • Comment number 27.

    I really feel I must defend Hannibal. I think it is an enjoyable slab of grand guignol film making.

    Having seen Blade Runner in all it's forms (starting with the original 1982 cut which I saw as a 12 year old), I thought it was a good film back then (and as a 12 year old I couldn't grasp all its themes but the opening is amazing even on TV). I then saw the Director's Cut and then the Final Cut and think the Final Cut is not just the definitive version but a text book example of how to do excellent, subtle addtions of CGI to a film (George Lucas please take note)!

    Black Hawk Down is a loud, noisy mess (which I suppose is what Scott was intending) but I still don't like it much.

    Suming up, I don't think Ridley Scott (like Terry Gilliam) has ever made an out and out stinker of a film. He has made films that I don't much care for (American Gangster, Legend) but he puts a lot of passion and care into his movies and he is one of the most under rated British film makers of the last 40 years.

  • Comment number 28.

    1/ Blade Runner
    2/ Alien
    3/ Prometheus (Fingers crossed)

  • Comment number 29.

    Perhaps you didn't include it because it's a short but I think Boy and Bicycle deserves a mention as a very interestingly shot little movie by the fledgling director. Would I change your list to put it on instead of anything...probably not...but as a 'growing up' rites of passage flick it has a bit of merit.

  • Comment number 30.

    Awww Mark. You sound like me before Episode One the Phantom Menace...... Hope you're on terra firma.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'd just like to apologise to Mark and Simon for the fact that I'm going to avoid listening to their show until after I've watched Prometheus on Saturday.

    There's nothing I want to hear about this film before I see it. I've avoided all the trailers apart from the very earliest one, going so far as to shut my eyes and stick my fingers in my ears and hum when an extraordinarily long trailer for it came on when I went to watch The Raid... I may have broken the Code Of Conduct along the way but it was necessary.

    Some films need relentless advertising to garner interest. They had me at Ridley Scott. Science Fiction. Alien Prequel. Anything else just lessens the enjoyment.

    Look forward to hearing you guys on Sunday morning.

  • Comment number 32.

    Alien - nice slow suspense not as good as aliens but they compliment each other
    Blade Runner - hands down one of the best movies ever made from every angle

    - downhill spiral-

    Legend - tacky cruise
    Black Rain - bad rain
    Thelma & Louise - thelma and oh please no
    G.I. Jane - are you serious
    Gladiator - heavily over rated like a spielberg film
    Hannibal - ok
    Black Hawk Down - awful soundtrack and embarrassing ewan mcgregor
    Matchstick Men - not seen it
    Kingdom of Heaven - cringe neeson
    American Gangster - possible return to form
    Body of Lies - nope nevermind
    Robin Hood - enough with the crowe already - worst director/actor pair up ever

    prometheus - noomi looks like the only good performance - i dont hold much faith after fox spoiled it with a silly amount of released footage

    blade runner 2 - the world will hate you if you ruin it ridley

  • Comment number 33.

    Following my viewing of this blog post I was urged to rematch Black Hawk Down, feeling as though I might have made a mistake in my judgement of that film first time around.

    I've got to say that the movie holds up really well! It was far better this time around, and what a parade of great actors before us on the screen. Consider Ewan Mcgregor, Josh Harnett, Jason Isaacs, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, Nikolaj Coster Waldau, but.... Orlando Bland.

    Accents kinda threw me off a bit, except for Mr. Isaacs afcourse. He was pitch perfect and I only recognized him this second time around.

  • Comment number 34.

    2.) ALIEN

  • Comment number 35.

    Gladiator should be in in there. I would put Alien above Thelma.Interestingly Sir Ridley has put the most ridiculous scene I have ever scene on the big screen, namely, Omaha beach with arrows, in Robin Hood, beats anything in plan 9.
    Interesting as Dr Ks opinions always are, on this blog, I`m very curious to hear what `KUBRICK and SCOTT` thinks?

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    I think Dr K's selection is pretty spot on, bar the strange omission of Gladiator which i personally think is a much stronger film than the decent,though overrated Black Hawk Down. I disagree with Dr K's view on the final cut of Blade Runner being the best. I'm one of the those (few) that prefer the theatrical cut..why you ask? Very simple - in essence Blade Runner is a film noir,the detective story,the atmosphere,the design, all make Blade Runner a futuristic version of the classic hollywood noir's from yesteryear, Harrison Ford's voiceover draws you in to that world and when i watched the final cut when it was first released back in the early 90's it didn't sit right with me for a long time. Over the years I have grown to like the final cut, the happy ending was wisely dropped, but the theatrical version is by far the best cut overall.

    My pics are

    1. Alien
    2. Blade Runner
    3. Gladiator
    4. Black Rain
    5. Thelma and Louise

  • Comment number 38.

    Dr. K mt top film would be Gladiator but I do love Kingdom of Heaven. I know it's got its haters and there's a lot wrong with this film (aka Orlando Bland) and the slightly ropey storyline. However, the cast list is stellar with a brilliant OTT performance from Brendan Gleeson and very under rated performance from Edward Norton as the lepar King. The cinematography is so rich in colour and imagery that any scene could be placed on a poster. Finally, the brutal and bloody battle scenes are superb and the painful attention to detail which Scott has clearly put into this film make it one not to be missed.

  • Comment number 39.

    Stylistically I think Blackhawk Down is very influential - if you look at modern FPS video games like Modern Warfare or Battlefield they all use that jumpcut confusion fog of war - bullets flying everywhere - look

    Also agree with the comments about the omission of Gladiator. Gladiator may not have take many risks but it was a brilliantly made, old-fashioned, Hollywood epic

  • Comment number 40.

    I have to put a small case for Body Of Lies, a much underrated film, an epic drama attempting to identify the blurred lines of who's good & bad in the modern islamic conflicts, its a bold effort in my opinion.

  • Comment number 41.

    such is my love of the original Alien and its sequel Aliens(forget the other 2), I'm willing to make a 3hr round trip to my "local" cinema to watch it, in 3D, as that's all they'll be showing it in.

    That's how much I want to see this film.

  • Comment number 42.

    Going by the reviews from France Prometheus isnt all that.

  • Comment number 43.

    Agree with most people here, where is Gladiator on this list?

  • Comment number 44.

    I disagree about the Director's Cut being better - it destroys Philip K Dick's enormous what-makes-us-human? question and replaces it with a woo-surprise! plot twist. The voice-over original is also truer to the noir/hard boiled other source, the BD/comic The Long Tomorrow.

  • Comment number 45.

    I got to add my vote to Gladiator as well. Saw that film when I was 13 years old and it completely overwhelmed me with its powerful visuals and characters. It remains my favourite film of all time - not because it's the best film ever's the film that made me become passionate about films.

  • Comment number 46.

    1 Blade Runner
    2 Alien
    3 Thelma and Louise
    4 Black Rain
    5 Someone To Watch Over Me

    PS Blade Runner: Director's Cut sucks ass!

  • Comment number 47.

    His Hovis ads were great!.............other than those, obviously Alien and Blade Runner are essential films (tho Blade Runner's making of documentary is arguably more entertaining than the film)..........the rest are pretty forgettable. Gladiator? come on,it's quite entertaining but pretty daft. Hardly an essential movie. Prometheus will probably be 'okay'-not expecting much more than that really.

  • Comment number 48.

    Alien and Gladiator are my two favourite Ridley Scott movie's. In both I love the worlds he created and the characters in them. Whereas with Blade Runner, I admire it artistically but do not like the characters. I watched the recent release, I understand why people love it. The 3 hour making of documentary was way more engaging for me.

    After that I'd say, Thelma and Louise, The Duellists and Black Hawk Down.

    I wanted to like Kingdom of Heaven but Orlando did ruin that one by just not being good enough to carry the film. Great supporting cast. Not seen the directors cut which I hear is better... but to sit through Orlando the angry again *ugh*.

  • Comment number 49.

    Can't complain with any of your choices Mark, though I do think The Duellists merits a mention too.
    Bottom line is, for all it's retrospective faults, the original cinema release of Blade Runner just blew me away at the time and it is one of the reasons I got into cinema as an art form in the first place.
    It will be 30 years ago on the 25th of June this year that Blade Runner was released. It's hard to imagine now just how awesome a vision it was to my teenage self all those years ago.
    Yet at the time box office takings weren't great and the reviews were mixed to say the least. I vividly remember seeing it on the "small screen" of The Dominion cinema in Edinburgh which was only about half full despite having only about 50 seats in the first place. I also remember how lots of my friends at the time didn't "get it".
    Funny how a lot of truly great films needs years to mature to reach that greatness.

  • Comment number 50.

    I seem to have missed out on a lot of Scott stuff somehow. I never did see Kingdom of Heaven or Body of Lies - didn't realise he'd done them - and I must get hold of Black Rain, good film but haven't seen it in ten years at least. Haven't seen White Squall either, but I agree not only with the others on the list that I have seen, but also with the lack of Gladiator from the list; it's a decent film but nothing like as amazing as it's made out to be, and essentially a remix of Spartacus with Fall of the Roman Empire. I still say Alien is basically the scariest film I've seen, and only partly because of the Alien itself. Just as much of it is about the direction, the build of tension, the interaction of the characters, the presentation of the Nostromo as an environment - all stuff the director, more than anyone, is ultimately responsible for.

    Interesting side note: I read not so long ago (on BoingBoing, I think) that Blade Runner was the sci-fi film most professional scientists named as their favourite.

  • Comment number 51.

    number 5 is legend
    gladiator that's number 4
    duelists number 3
    alien is number two
    blade runner is no.1

  • Comment number 52.

    I am slightly nervous about admitting this. I realise I might be the only one. I like the voice over in Blade Runner. That does not make me a bad person. I just love all those film noir voice overs from the 40's and 50's, and I think it gives me that sort of feeling.(Ducks into safety)

  • Comment number 53.

    My local is showing in both 2D and digital 3D. Hoping the Dr can advise on which is best before Friday!!!

  • Comment number 54.

    Years back, a few weeks after the American troops entered Baghdad, I was interviewing the Wing Commander who ran the RAF’s Corporate Communications division, which assists various film and TV productions with locations and equipment. Rounding up by talking about films - and war films in general - he was very impressed by Black Hawk Down, especially because it’s wasn’t the sort of “Gung-ho!” war film that American money was used to financing, and portrayed the mistakes that were made and portrayed them quite vividly. Instead of a ‘We always win and we always get it right!’ type of movie, he said: “...that one was ‘We got it quite badly wrong’. Great story of heroism if nothing else, but basically it was a complete screw–up. But these things happen.”

    Since Central London is going to be rammed with Royalists this weekend, I was planning a Ridley Scott DVD marathon that features: The Duellists, Alien, Legend (Director’s Cut from the 2-disc Region 1 DVD), Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut), Robin Hood, and A Good Year.

    All top films. The DC of Kingdom of Heaven is only let down by Orlando B not having the stones to really give some weight to the pre-battle speech.

    The only problem with watching Sir Rid’s films on DVD is wanting to watch them again with his usually excellent and engaging commentary immediately after.

    No Blade Runner because, to be honest, I’m frankly bored with all the goings on about it now. If you watch his intro on The Final Cut box set and listen to his commentary, it appears he is too!

  • Comment number 55.

    Looking forward to seeing Prometheus in IMAX on Saturday!!

    Just a personal word about Hannibal; better than the book; not as bad as critics would have you believe; but this was the very first DVD commentary I ever listened along to, and made me appreciate the film in a fresh light

    Indeed, listening to him speak about any film is fantastic. Alien & American Gangster get my vote.

  • Comment number 56.

    Good post, Kermy, and one which begs the question, what are the top 5 best sci-fi movies of all time? (in you HUMBLE opinion) :)

  • Comment number 57.

    Considering the fact that Sir Ridley Scott is a film maker of the highest order it's quite surprising how few of his movies i care for.I have viewed a good portion of his work once but never felt the urge to go back to them.There are only three titles amongst his output that i like to watch on a regular basis and they are:
    Blade Runner
    The Duellists

  • Comment number 58.

    Whatever way you slice it the list of films on these comments says just how EPIC this man is.

  • Comment number 59.

    "We have now lost..." rite-of-passage tales have we, Sir Ridley? Why then retcon the underrated AvP: Alien vs. Predator from the Alien series' continuity with the imminent Prometheus, hmm?

    For those not in the know - or for those too stubborn to give the film a second look - three 'teenage' yautja do battle with their deadliest prey, the xenomorph, in order to prove their transition to 'manhood'.

    To coin a Doc-phrase, 'it's an ideas movie'; a subscription to the theory of interventionary evolution.

  • Comment number 60.

    I think I'll have to break up my list to post it, so here goes...

    Ridley Scott's probably my favorite director (I'm always aggravated that you generally seem reluctant to mention his name... You talk about Emma Thompson being a British National Treasure. I think you're extremely short sighted by not saying the same thing about Scott).
    I think you're almost setting yourself up to be underwhelmed by Prometheus if you're hoping going in that it's SO good that it displaces Blade Runner in your Top 5 Sci-Fi films of all time. I'm sure it's going to be a great movie. Mr. Scott has never made a bad film, in my opinion. He has the best eye for visuals in the business and I don't get the "he's not an actor's director" thing. Actors generally don't have control over how they're going to look onscreen, it's the directors and Scott makes every actor look good (even when they're not speaking to one another on set, as the situation with Harrison Ford amounted to).

    My Top 5:
    5 I'll say Gladiator, even though there are several that I think I could put here. I think Legend is under-rated for what it is and what it was intended to be. 1492 was brilliant. Black Rain was fun, even if it is flawed. The twist in Matchstick Men was fairly obvious, but I liked it anyway. The Duelists is a highly entertaining film. Body of Lies was an exceptionally well made film about the current events in the Middle East that could easily be paired with Kingdom Of Heaven.... But I'll still say Gladiator, which deserved all of the accolades that it received).

  • Comment number 61.

    4 Kingdom Of Heaven (You're WRONG about this one, Mark.... Just WRONG. Intense war scenes that have a choreography to them in the way that you talked about with your recent 'Dancing With Death' blogpost. The film has a brilliant contemporary point to it... And since I mention that, why are you always more prone to like a film if it's nihilistic. It doesn't make any sense to me. It's like you think that it's more artistic if the point of the film is a negative, pessimistic one. Just because a film has everyone die at the end doesn't make it more profound than films where people actually learn something or succeed in their goal. But I digress.)

    3 Blackhawk Down (I disagree with MANY of your statements about this one... Sole voice? What? In Britain, maybe, but not over here in the states. Roger Ebert liked it. It was up for Oscars. Sure, there were some critics that didn't care for it, but it was obviously their political affiliations clouding their objectivity.
    I had none of the problems that you had with the film. It's not mechanical. It's NOT incoherent, it actually made very clear sense out of a series of chaotic events involving a massive number of characters. It was NOT racist, at all. That was the actual racial makeup of the particular units involved. And it certainly was not nihilistic, given the fact the point of the film was that the soldiers would not leave anyone behind to be torn apart/mutilated post-mortem by the Somalis.
    The film was quite methodical in depicting the mistakes made leading up to and during the entire incident. That they had to pare down what was over 100 US soldiers to about 20-25 characters and still keep a fairly clear narrative was pretty amazing, at least to me. Again Ridley's a genius, if I haven't said that already.
    On a side note, if you get the chance to do so, I highly recommend the documentaries that came with the DVD extras for that film. The one that documents writer Mark Bowden's journey to document what happened and then the story being recounted by participants from both sides is one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. i say 'documentary'... I think it was actually a PBS program, but still....)

  • Comment number 62.

    2 Alien (I agree with everything you say here... the only thing I would add would be the sheer genius of the casting and of the occupations of the space-faring crew. It was like watching real people with the tedium of working real jobs instead of actors playing stellar adventurers. It also was shocking that he kills off almost immediately who would usually be the 'hero' in those types of films; the captain... Oh.. SPOILERS on the 30+ year old movie).

    1 Blade runner (Any version works for me, although the 'original' Director's Cut is my own idea of the definitive version. I agree with the others that have said this isn't just one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time, but just one of the greatest films period. For me it's Doug Trumbull's best work... I know. I KNOW that other film that you erroneously told Mr. Trumbull that it was better than Kubrick's space movie... I KNOW... We've all heard it. Anyway... Rutger Hauer was outstanding as the prodigal son coming home to visit his dad. It's one of Harrison Ford's best roles and he's had a lot of them. great soundtrack... How did the critics... and the movie going public... get this one so wrong back then? Even with the narration. Even with what you call a 'happy ending', which it really wasn't... Even with all of the production problems, it's STILL one of the most visually astounding films of any era. It still has a story that anyone with a brain can relate to; "Who am I? Why am I here? How long have I got?" It has great lines. It depicts violence the way that violence should be depicted onscreen. And it t still holds up, some 30 years later... I hope you didn't give it a 'thumbs down' like Siskel and Ebert did).

  • Comment number 63.

    Soooo... that's my 5. Ummm. I tried to keep my post(s) succinct. This was about the best that I could do. I'm a huge fan of Mr. Scott, so it was difficult.
    I look forward to your opinions about Prometheus on Friday, Dr. K, whether you like it or not. But, even if you HATE the film (which I'm betting you won't), nothing you say will sway me from seeing it at the Midnight Showing when it's released next week here in the US.

  • Comment number 64.

    Oooh, you were so close to getting it right, clearly Alien (greatest science fiction film ever made) should have been number one, but I was glad to see you included White Squall, the scene where Bridges' character sees his wife trapped in the sinking boat and they both realise she is not going to survive has stayed with me like the pool scene in Let The Right One In, just breathtaking.

    A further vote for Matchstick Men as well though would agree can't see which other film it would push out of the top 5.

  • Comment number 65.

    I hate to nitpick but something that stops The Final Cut of Blade Runner being absolutely perfect is the fact that over the end titles, they play a looped and truncated version of that beautiful Vangelis theme to accommodate the change in credits. Still really bothers me because I got that far through the film until I found a flaw.

  • Comment number 66.

    Re Black Hawk Down - I remember that one of the issues when it was realised was the war in Iraq and what the film said (or didn't say) about the impending invasion. Perhaps if it had managed to say something more about the then current events it could have been a great film. The ending where the UN forces were having to protect the US troops who had gone it alone did seem rather pertinent at the time and probably still does.

  • Comment number 67.

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

    It's interesting that you should say that Alien has a great script by Dan O'Bannon and Ron Shusett when the whole thing was re-written by the producers; David Giler and Walter Hill which changed the characters, the dialogue and added the conceit of Ash being a robot. Still, a great film.

  • Comment number 68.

    !. Blade Runner.
    2. Alien.
    3. Gladiator.
    4. Kingdom Of Heaven (Directors Cut.....much better than the theattrical reloease).
    5. The Duellists.

    PS. "Thelma And Louise" better than "Alien"??????? Mark, have you completely lost your mind?!

  • Comment number 69.

    1. Blade Runner
    2. Alien

    For me, most of Ridleys other work is take it or leave it. Having said that, at least he hasn't yet become the complete hack that his brother Tony has. Unstoppable? more like Unforgivable, what total dreck!

    Looking forward to Prometheus. Could it be a Scott sci-fi hat trick?

  • Comment number 70.

    Looking forward to seeing Prometheus. It's got a lot of hype, and I hope that Ridley Scott doesn't disappoint. I'm sure he won't in one way, given that his last film was Body Of Lies. Anyway, here's my top five Ridley Scott films:

    5. Black Rain - yes, it can be occasionally silly, but I think this is a genuinely underrated film. Two solid lead performances from Michael Douglas and Ken Takakura, full of Scott's dark meditations, and proof that Jan de Bont was a better cinematographer than he was director...

    4. Black Hawk Down - have to agree with there, Black Hawk Down is also an underrated film. The chaos and insanity of war are masterfully captured by Scott. Despite occasional indulgences in his back catalogue, Scott shows genuine restraint here.

    3. Alien - same spot again. Alien is an example of supreme efficiency in horror/science-fiction filmmaking. The ensemble cast is spot on, the design by Giger is extraordinary (it got me into Giger's art) and Ridley Scott as director was never as controlled again as he was on this film.

    2. Gladiator - won't lie, I'm curious as to why this didn't make your top five. Despite being one hundred and fifty minutes, the script is Shakespearean in its complexity and tight, it's technically terrific, the acting (particularly Crowe and Phoenix) is great, Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard create one cinema's finest scores, etc. etc. Your opines, please?

    1. Blade Runner - thoroughly deserves the top spot. One of the greatest films ever made, ticks just about every box. Need I say any more? Yes, I suppose, as the 1992 Director's Cut is the best. When the 25th Anniversary 5-Disc Box Set came out, I went on a pilgrimage and watched five versions of the film. The '82 Workprint is interesting, but not as tightly edited as the later '92 Director's Cut. The '82 US Theatrical Cut is good, but is by no means the same film. Everything becomes much more meaningful and resonate with the '92 Director's Cut. The '82 International Cut is much the same film as the US Theatrical, with a couple of indulgent, lingering shots on the violence. Also, the 2007 'Final Cut' that Scott had complete control over is too much in the vein of George Lucas' Stars Wars Special Editions: too clean and crisp. The '92 Director's Cut, outside of the cleaned-up version in the 25th Anniversary box set, is, in all it's rushed filthiness, the definitive version of Blade Runner.

  • Comment number 71.

    I'm familiar with Ridley Scott through the fantastic Blade Runner and Alien. But I was shocked to discover he was also responsible for some right stinkers - Black Rain, Someone To Watch Over Me and Kingdom Of Heaven. None of these are as memorable as his best work - the Hovis advert.

  • Comment number 72.

    Hmm no 42. are we going on what the French think? Hmm, I see here in these production notes that Jerry Lewis was turned down for the role of "space-jockey". That explains that then....

    (sad to say I'm prepared to be underwhelmed based on Scott's more recent record, and that foolishly having let myself see the trailers spotted many references and rip offs, and possibly most of the plot... hope I'm wrong and I'll be splashing out on an IMAX screening on the off chance I am)

  • Comment number 73.

    Hey Mark, would love it if you could post on the uncut site, your views on the various different Alien movies. The mythology of these different films are truly interesting, especially for a horror/sci-fy movie. Also feel this would set the scene for Scott's new film. (failing that what's the link to the documentary you did on Alien?) Thanks!

  • Comment number 74.

    24. BoitnottMK:

    For what it's worth, my case for American Gangster would be that it has two truly great central performances, including Russell Crowe in the thankless role of the straight arrow cop, which he manages to make interesting through charisma and force of will alone.
    But really, it's Denzel's film. His Frank Lucas is a complex and fascinating character, capable of kindness and decency, but utterly ruthless when he feels it's necessary. The movie takes the theme of The Godfather - that there isn't really much difference between businessmen and gangsters - and runs with it. Lucas is a successful businessman who breaks the law, while Vito Corleone is a criminal who runs a business. The difference in emphasis puts the spotlight on the exact point where business and crime meet, and shows how a vicious killer can become a folk hero to some people - because to them, he's not a vicious killer, but a smiling philanthropist.
    It's not as good as those other movies you mentioned - but then again, what is? If a movie has to be as good as The Godfather before we're allowed to like it, any Top 5 list is going to be pretty short.
    And with that out of the way, how about a Bottom Five of rotten Ridley's rock-bottom remainders?
    5. Legend - overlong and tedious, except the bits with Tim Curry
    4. Kingdom of Heaven - how do you manage to make the Crusades so dull?
    3. GI Jane - total cobblers
    2. 1492: Conquest of Paradise - it goes on and on and on, until you're begging for it to stop
    1. A Good Year - A hateful piece of trash, about hateful pieces of smug, self-satisfied human detritus. I wanted to take a chainsaw to every insufferable git involved in it

  • Comment number 75.

    Well if Prometheus doesn't hit the spot then maybe The Forever War will. Rumoured to be Ridleys next movie and one of my favourite SF books.

    Blade Runner directors cut for me. Watched it on Blu Ray the other night and it was like watching the film for the first time !

  • Comment number 76.

    I have an issue with the consistency in regards to the quality of Ridley Scott's work.

    When he is good, you get Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, and Gladiator.

    When he is bad, you get Robin Hood, Kingdom of Heaven, Hannibal, and G.I.Jane (even though it has Viggo Mortensen).

    Others just seem to fit in between for me

  • Comment number 77.

    Saw Prometheus last night at a midnight screening in Bristol. What a monumental letdown. Oh well.

  • Comment number 78.

    For the the first time, I disagree with the Good Doctor's review of Prometheus. I found it incredibly dull to the point of absolute disillusion with the films actual message. What was the biggest disappointment was the script. It would seem that a former "Lost" writer who penned this script yet again is concerned with asking questions over and over again without giving anything away. We are left with a tonne of questions come the end of the film with no satisfaction resolution.
    Although I am a massive Fassbender fan, his character was especially repugnant as he has nobody as interesting to interact with. A pitiful shame given the stellar cast, and even though there are brief moments of genuine suspense with Naomi Rapacce - i was bitterly disappointed.

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    I feel Mark pulled his punches with Ridley Scott in his review of Prometheus. It really is a disorganised mess of a film. I wouldn't say it's a bad film per se but it's not a good film either, mostly because the script hasn't been fully worked out.

    The whole first act should have been binned and started with them all ready in deep space; the pacing is bad. There's too many characters, too much set-up/change of setting and characters just won't shut up talking for five minutes. It'd work if the dialogue was well written but it's cringe-inducing most of the time and delivered woodenly.

    The film works best when no one's talking and there's some exploration and intrigue going on i.e. David exploring the Alien ship alone etc. Many of David's scenes are great, the begininng with him tending to the ship and the cryo-chambers is a great idea but wasted because of bad pacing and a hurriedness that renders it a waste of character and a chance to know the setting. This type of scene was brilliantly portrayed and elegantly paced in Alien when the characters are waking from their slumber, here it just seems obligatory and a waste. It would have been better to ditch the early earth based stuff and stay with the ship and tell the story there, the pacing is completely thrown by too many settings and the rush to set everyone up.

    The film picks up in the second act when the horror begins but characters whom we don't even get to know are dispatched with ease and this happens so frequently from then on till the end that most characters have no reason the be in the film apart from the amount of kills they needed to fill-up the running time. Theron's character ends up having absolutely no reason to be in the film since David fulfills most of her duties.

    Spoiling the mythology of the Space-Jokeys didn't bother me in the slightest and the parts when they're around with their Lovecraftian off-spring are the very best. Prometheus is more a B-film than the original Alien, there's a ton of ideas and twists in there, which, if they'd had more time could've been ironed out and made more dramatic but instead it feels like they were just hitting incident beats Lucas-style, no drama, no tension.

    There's a good few anti-climaxes thrown in at the end that they thought probably looked great on paper and couldn't bear to cut-out so they threw 'em all in to crowd please. The final twist is a bit of a howler that really shows-up the confusion/contradiction as to what this film was struggling not to identify itself as but felt guilty for not being that thing so they threw it in anyway just in case.

    Having said that it looks spectacular and apart from things like the ship looking overly cluttered with industrial design objects everthing looks great. Once it gets passed the first act and ditches the most annoying characters it moves at a better, more measured pace, and it's best not to think about it too much even though it pretends to be profound. There's too little horror, too little character and too much pseudo-science/faith-based wafflin' goin' on to serve either of these things well.

    The 3D is wasted. Prometheus benefits not one jot from 3D, in fact it damages the viewing experience because of the diminished light and lost detail. It also seems Scott made no effort to get anything out of it. No long takes with deep movement or good tracking shots that would make it worthwhile. Don't see why they bothered shooting it in 3D at all.

  • Comment number 81.

    Audio Description...
    I was about to book my ticket and came across this feature for certain screens/times on a number of films. Made me wonder about a couple of things: 1. What the film experience would be like if you saw it first with AD, then with eyes.. 2. How much if an idiot you'd look if you did... & 3. If Mark has ever thought of generating a top ten films for best audio experience, based on the reviews of people who have to see films this way?

  • Comment number 82.

    I'm that person who will always take the original theatrical cut of BLADE RUNNER over the subsequent tinkerings. Why? Because it's the one I first saw at my local Granada (now a Lidl) and the one I fell in love with. I haven't seen the Final Cut version yet - though I do have it - but the "Director's Cut" was a mess. I missed the voiceover and I missed the flyaway ending. And the unicorn bit is stupid. (Of course, if you take Deckard to be a replicant then it's just a film about robots hitting each other and that's never a good thing. But the point of BR isn't whether he's a replicant or not, it's that he's wondering. It's not about the answer, it's about the question.)

    My five favourites (pre-Prometheus):

    1. BLADE RUNNER (original theatrical version)
    2. ALIEN (whichever version; I believe my DVD is of the original theatrical.

    3. HANNIBAL. I don't think it's a masterpiece and I don't think it's the best of the Hopkins-Lector run (it's no SILENCE but it is better than RED DRAGON), but I like the Florence sequences; all the Gary Oldman stuff, not so much.

    4. BLACK RAIN. For the sheer visual kapow of it: there are several moments where it could be Blade Runner all over again. I love the gorgeous cityscapes.

    5. Probably THE DUELLISTS, but that's really the point where I lose interest in his movies; some of the others are okay (THELMA, GLADIATOR, AMERICAN GANGSTER), some of them are pretty uninteresting (KINGDOM OF HEAVEN) and ROBIN HOOD is a disaster.

  • Comment number 83.

    Swap White Squall for 1492:Conquest of paradise (visually, Scott at the top of his game) and you'd have no argument from me. Scott's worst film. This is gonna hurt folks, but 'Prometheus'.

  • Comment number 84.

    Firstly, Prometheus, a seemingly divided camp, lots of love and hate flowing around the web/blogs for Ridley's latest....
    I think for once, seeing all the trailers, spoilers and virals before the movie helped with the overall experience, I was familiar with the characters already, so I felt I didn't have to overcome that initial learning curve you have with large ensemble casts.
    I will agree with many, many aspects of the script was neither here nor there, either trim it down to a 90min movie and keep the pace high, or give us a 3hr directors cut type experience, with fully fleshed out characters and story arcs,(I suspect the blu-ray will be a 3hr proper epic) unfortunately Scott fell between 2 stools, and gave us a 2hr theatrical cut... he's too old school when it comes to theatrical cuts, he should go for his best movie, not the best for FOX to reap the rewards.
    Another gripe.. the score, while listening it without the visuals, it's a very decent score, not as good as the original Alien Goldsmith score, which conjured up the otherwordliness of Alien, the Prometheus score was seemingly trying to bridge 2 worlds, with epic bombastic orchestral, and some alien menace discord for good measure, battling it out with the visuals as to who would be top dog on the screen, when silence would have said more, there was always, always some music telling you how you should "feel" at that given time, contrast with Alien, plenty of scenes where silence, or the ambient throb and ticks of the ship kept you guessing. I would have instead, searched out one of the many electronic/modern classical composers to score Prometheus, there are many who would have given it the otherwordliness it was crying out for
    Clint Mansell, Andy Stott, Ben Frost off the top of my head.

    Apart from these 2 gripes which I could ignore or push to the side as to not interfere with the film, I found Prometheus to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience, a flawed epic, but one that I hope will improve with the directors cut. I also suspect that with repeated viewings ( as with all new films) the real value and understanding of Prometheus will be reached.
    As an event movie, it's about time we were given some credit for having IQ's above 50, and are able to tackle big themes while munching on popcorn at the same time, sometimes it good not to have everything explained for you.
    Visually, Prometheus is almost uniformly superb, I just wish we were given longer to gaze at the fantastic set designs and tech on display! as the majority of the sets were physically made in a form of interchangeable modules, like lego, I suspect there was one eye on another sequel so that they could be reused, and from what Scott has said, and the ending of Prometheus, it looks like there will be.
    Cast wise, Fassbender is superb, as is Rapace, and too a lesser extent Elba and Theron, I wish some of the lesser characters were given more complete story arcs, Harris and Spall for example ( but I suspect the directors cut will address this to some extent)
    So, apart from a few gripes, I was very happy with what Scott has achieved, overhyped yes, (but which big film isn't these days) visually superb, big themes, big sets, some big performances, some great seat squirming material ( I don't think I'll be eating udon noodles for a while) and I will be watching it again soon, something I very rarely do.

  • Comment number 85.

    As a massive Ridley Scott fan, I was very disappointed with this film.

    The big weakness is the plot. For a start it's far too slow: nothing much interesting happens in the first hour. And when the film finally gets going things happen that don't make sense and are not properly explained.

    As I watched the film I was asking myself a number of questions about how this film relates to the Alien franchise. Some of the creatures bear no relation to our friendly two-jawed killer. And the motivation behind the space jockey doesn't add up.

    Scott also failed to develop the supporting cast, and so we don't care what happens to them. And the ending to the movie feels weak and floppy.

    I predict that this film will not be commercially successful. It's the sort of film that critics and sci-fi geeks love, but the general public will feel lukewarm about.


  • Comment number 86.

    I went to see this today... I'd been preparing myself in advance; avoiding all reviews, trailers, sneak peeks, interviews relating to this film, with the intention of making my own judgement. I was prepared in advance that this wasn't an Alien prequel per se - but it was the first Ridley Scott SF film since Blade Runner, therefore I thought it would hold my interest.

    Suffice to say, the most disappointing let down I've had in a long time at the cinema - the only credible comparison would be to "The Phantom Menace" or (more pretinently) "Indiana Jones: The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". Again, to stress that I don't mean that it was rubbish because it wasn't "canon" - if you treat it as a film entirely from scratch, it just does not hold a candle.

    Rotten, confused plot; flimsy, utterly disposable 2D characters; "themes" delivered megaphone-fashion; implausible events (I know, its SF but things still have to appear credible "in universe"); story elements created then immediately dropped; no sense of tension, or drama - more like cut scenes from a 2nd rate game... to be honest, almost too many flaws to mention.

    I'm spitting feathers here I appreciate but I think I'm lucid enough that I'm going to say this now: Ridley Scott has completely lost his touch and should retire forthwith. No excuses - just straight to the knackers yard - let other directors carry the torch.

    NNnnnnnngh don't go and see this film! Save yourselves the distress

  • Comment number 87.

    So many different views on Prometheus!! Expectations have been so high that it would have been virtually impossible to satisfy them all. After all we've been waiting for 33 years!!
    I think Prometheus is the kind of film which will look back in a few years and see it on a different light and probably like it more than most people did on this first viewing.
    I was at the same screening Mark was (I saw him too!) and I still really need to digest it properly, but for the time being, this is my review

  • Comment number 88.

    By the way.. I love the choice of top 5 Scott movies: I too like Black Hawk Down... But where is The Duellists? I'm surprised you didn't put that one in (how about instead of White Squall?)

    But let's not forget this is the guy who gave us:
    Robin Hood
    Kingdom of Heaven

    ... And all in the last few years... which makes Prometheus a miracle!!

  • Comment number 89.

    Having seen Prometheus, seems Scott's not so great after all! It would appear he has turned all George Lucas on us ... I wonder if the remaining two movies [groan] (should they even go ahead if this 'heap ...' is any measure, will contain some variant of the phrase " ... can/are you see(ing) this?!" apparently so cherished by the author they could not bear to part with it even after 33 years ... well, some things are just worth keeping aren't they? ... much like the plot. Prometheus; a small crew including one Machiavellian - soon to be headless, android, brought out of stasis to investigate a small remote world harbouring something malevolent; all culminating in one sole surviving women (plus afore mentioned head) left to escape into the unknown .... now I know this from somewhere but for the life of me I cannot seem to put my finger on it(???)

  • Comment number 90.

    I can only comment on the Scott films I've seen (which now includes Prometheus) I have to say that missing out The Duellists seems odd. It immediately jumped up amongst not only my favourite Scott films, but films generally, an early success that so few people seem to have ever seen.

    I really enjoyed Kingdom of Heaven's director's cut and suspect I'll enjoy the director's cut of Prometheus a lot more than the cinematic edit for same reasons.

  • Comment number 91.

    Seen Prometheus tonight and was fairly underwhelmed.This really is a mess of a film with many of the key elements underwritten.The characters are extremely sketchy and unengaging:and are a poor comparison with the Nostromo 7.We had an introductory talk before the screening I attended from some local Cambridge university science geeks about the natural world parallels with some of the concepts in Alien.Before the start of the film I bemoaned their half hour they made me wait for the film.At the end I was refelcting that they were the best bit

  • Comment number 92.

    Finally saw Prometheus yesterday at the BFI IMAX. Very disappointing. The characters were cartoon like, the dialogue abysmal, the aliens a big let down, the acting (bar the always superb Michael Fassbender) was poor and what an earth Guy Pearce was doing as the (very) old guy, I don't know? It was ridiculous! Just hire an old man to play an old man! Pearce looked and moved like a character off of The Fast Show.
    To be fair, the first ten or twenty minutes or so (the waterfall scene and the shots of Fassbender, alone, walking around the ship) were powerful and had real atmosphere, but these moments aside, it was a real cliche ridden bore.

  • Comment number 93.

    Watched Aliens instead, last night. What a great movie that is, admittedly repeat viewing see a few sections that are somewhat loose. But Relentless pace, and the emotion from Sigourney Weever ties the film together into something very superb. And Burke, anyone with that haircut since, raises my suspicion levels. Aim to watch Alien again and compare. Never realized what a good cast Alien has, too.

  • Comment number 94.

    Hello all, I saw Prometheus the other day in IMAX, which by the way is the best and one and only way to see it. First off it is not a great film, but it does have some great moments so its a pretty good film. But I don't have any sense of disappointment in it, guess people just have to stop being obsessed with Alien and also stop having massive expectations. Though I did watch Alien after i'd seen Prometheus and it highlights some of the weaknesses in Prometheus, first off the score in Prometheus could have made more interesting and freaky like the score for Alien but more importantly some of the background characters have basically no character so you just don't care when they die. In Alien I dont think you care immensely, but you certainly care more. Theres even a main character death in Prometheus where I had zero feeling for the character. It is also quite messy and confusing.

    But there are great, intense moments and the visuals are so outstanding throughout the film. Beautiful scenes throughout. Fassbender is incredibly good and Rapace, Elba and Theron are all good. People are saying why was Guy Pearce playing an old man and I have to admit I did find this weird but I have a theory that maybe Scott wanted that old man look without an actual old man, I think Weyland is meant to look extremely old to show hes basically just being kept alive and I think it gives more of an evil look to Weyland's character than it would have been if it was just an innocent looking elderly actor.

  • Comment number 95.


    I saw Prometheus on Sunday and it was a considerable let down. In the first instance, and to give it credit, the art direction was superb with some wonderful attention to detail, which is characteristic of Scott. However, it beggars belief that having spent so much money and expended so much effort, Scott was satisfied with such a poor narrative, slack plotting and such risible dialogue.

    Effectively, the whole film relied on very intelligent people doing very stupid things. I have to keep reminding myself that the characters were scientists and this was a serious film, since it felt like I was watching the Goonies at times! They run around! They shout and scream! They run up and down tunnels! There are several key elements of the plot that are simply unexplained (unless I missed them). Why, having left us clues to to its whereabouts, lead us to the planet? For what reason? Why did the aliens create us and then want to destroy us? Why lead us back when they could have simply come back to earth to kill us? Why did Noomi Rapace's character have an English accent when she was a child and a Swedish accent when she was an adult? Why cast Theron's character as the badie when she was the only character that acted rationally and with some semblance of good sense? Why was Rafe Spall's scientist character (Millburn) SO stupid? How on earth were we to believe that Sean Harris' character (Fifield) WAS a geologist? How is it that one minute Rapace's character is being forcibly restrained by several characters only to escape into a room nearby, where she is able to perform surgery on herself and yet nobody chases her? She later rejoins the plot as if it all never happened. As for the ending! It reminded me of some stiff-upper-lip wartime film. Idris Elba as Guy Gibson!!

    I could go on and on! Suffice to say that having watched Alien the other night the differences between that and Prometheus are stark. I know that it was a different world in 1979 but the care an attention given to the development of characters in Alien and the careful and sophisticated way in which the narrative builds make Prometheus looks doubly feeble. I was, to say the least, disappointed.

  • Comment number 96.

    The beauty of Blade Runner is that Harrison Ford believes Deckard is human even despite Scott's clear statement otherwise, because Deckard believes he is human. He's a charismatic guy and all, and the camera loves him, but I've never seen particularly good evidence you'd have got that performance out of Ford if he knew what was going on.

    Anyway, a list:

    1) Alien. Yes, above Blade Runner. Frankly, above nearly everything other directors have done, too.
    2) Blade Runner.
    3) Hannibal. Which is almost certainly me reacting to the negative attitude it got from critics, and it's structurally all over the place (thanks to a Harris novel clearly written with the express intention of annoying the publisher that insisted he wrote it), but I just can't help loving its Grand Guignol excess.
    4) The Duellists - some great performances and editing to match the visuals.
    5) Black Rain. It's just so pretty.

  • Comment number 97.

    I saw Prometheus over the bank holiday, and what a hugely disappointing experience it was. I was massively let down; so much that I wanted to cry :(

    I knew from the opening sequence that I was going to hate this film. Why? Because they told us up front that aliens created life on Earth. It would have been a great plot device if this key information was kept from the audience so we'd be constantly guessing who is right: Noomi Rapace, who believes humans were created by the Engineers; some other opposing character, who strongly believes otherwise.

    So I don't really understand why people keep saying that Prometheus opened up a lot of questions and left them all unanswered; as far as I'm concerned, Prometheus answered the ultimate question at the beginning of the film and kept asking it throughout the entire length of the film. What kind of a silly and lazy way to write a movie is that?

  • Comment number 98.

    I saw Prometheus this afternoon in 2D and whilst i didn't dislike it i can see why others did. The film feels like a trade off, with the horror and nastiness toned down to appease the studio and the philosophical aspects as a concession to Ridley. Listening to the interview on the Mayo show i knew not to expect any aliens but i was still disappointed that i didn't get more from a 15 cert film.

    The most interesting aspect of was the character of David, his fascination with the film Lawrence of Arabia resonated with me as a Lawrence obsessive myself. Lawrence is presented as a misfit an outsider among his own class and race, being an android and seemingly incapable of emotion this suggests that David has insecurities and is being manipulated by Weyland like Lawrence is by Allenby and Dryden in Lean's film. But like so much of Prometheus these themes are undeveloped in the script or lost in the edit.

  • Comment number 99.

    Whilst I never saw the 3D version of Prometheus due to previous such films inducing headaches of a most unpleasant nature, I did manage to catch a midnight showing on opening day. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I came away feeling a sense of awe.

    For those interested I put my thoughts down into the format of a review. It isn't often a film captivates me as much as Prometheus has; I'm almost tempted to go and see it again!

  • Comment number 100.

    It was pants. The trick is not minding it was pants.

    Thanks Mark for helping me to find some obscure but great films. Prometheus isn't one of them. Are you an Alien fan-boy ? Your positive review should instead have ripped this to pieces.

    I went to see it last night with someone who had been looking forward to seeing it for months and had avoided reading anything that might spoil the film. As soon as the end credits rolled he was openly mocking it. It may not have been "the Phantom Menace" but it was definitely "Attack of the Clones".

    The plot was a mess with massive holes. Expecting someone who wrote most of “Lost” to write something that made sense was a big mistake. Discussing the "what the.." moments is more entertaining than the film. The pacing was terrible with no dramatic tension. People do dumb things just to make the plot work. Even super intelligent alien killing machines do dumb things just to make the plot work. They crew don't seem to care about any danger, so neither does the audience.Rather than being people you care about they are just red shirts who don't even die well.

    Noomi Rapace's English accent was about as convincing as a Swedish Dick van Dyke. The only good thing in the film was Peter O’Toole, sorry, Michael Fassbender - but there were parts of his body in "Shame" that were scarier than this.

    Can't we strip Sir Ridley of his knighthood ? People has lost theirs for far lesser crimes ?


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