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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ridley Scott disses SF Film

According to Ridley Scott, SF Cinema is as dead as the Western, and also thinks all SF nowadays is derivative of 2001:A Space Odyssey. Nothing original is being done. . .

Say what?

Look, I know I'm an iconoclast when I say that 2001:A Space Odyssey is not the best SF film ever made, I don't even put it in the top ten. (Alien and Blade Runner place, ironically, higher on my own list.) But really, his comments are rank with pretentious bullcrap. I think the artiste in him objects to the fact that SF became popular. (thank you Mr. Lucas, even if I think you needed to quit after the second Star Wars movie.)

Let's just restrict ourselves to the last 7 years or so: We have . . .

A Scanner Darkly

Minority Report
The Matrix
The Incredibles
Sky Capitan and the World of Tomorrow
The Children of Men

Yeah, today's SF Cinema is certainly moribund and derivative . . .


Aeros51 said...

Hi Steven,

Ever thought that one of your books would make a good movie?

IMHO, I thought Forests of the Night would transfer well to film, if they could make the moreys look real and not like CGI.

I loved the Nohar books, BTW, and am currently working my way through the Hostile Takeover omnibus. Great writing, I enjoy the characterization and your keeping the plot moving. It's hard to put them down... but I have to sleep!

RobRoy said...

Hey aeros51, I've actually said the same thing on an SF forum. Among the SF that I've read in the last 20 years, "Forest of the Night" and that series would actually translate very well. Especially well, in this "Bourne" empire, is the second book, "Emperors of the Twilight". Evi would make an excellent spy out in the cold and on the run.

Don't forget (from the past ten years):

Invasion (haven't seen it yet)
Ideocracy (does that count?)
Galaxy Quest

Which doesn't even bring in classics like "Enemy Mine", "THX1138", "Planet of the Apes", "Close Encounters", "Akira", "Forever Young", and "Somewhere in Time" whcih are all post "2001" and have little to nothing to do with the concept.

S Andrew Swann said...

FWIW, Forests was optioned once and nothing came of it. I however do have the screenplay that resulted from the option and well. . .

The money would have been nice, but I can't see I'm sorry that treatment was never made.

aeros51 said...

"...and well..."

How could they mess up the screenplay? If they followed the book exactly, it would have been fit a two-hour film with little cutting required. The book is action intensive thoughout, there is plenty of detail so they don't need much thought to what things look like, and the audience can be brought up to speed on the setting using the exact mechanisms that you used.

Ok... back on-topic. How can Scott say that 2001 is the all-time best? I find its plot very thin, and not much in the way of making one think about it as a work of art. Don't get me wrong, it had really good special effects for the time and was a good attempt at accuately portaying life in space... but a documentary with a thin storyline does not make a movie "art."

If I were to list my favorites, at the top would be Gattaca. Yes, I know, I need help.

RobRoy said...

Well, aero51, ya gotta figure that they aren't likely to make a 120+ minute action movie unless there's an audience for it. Most action movies run 90 to 100 minutes, with the focus (and the money) more on the action. CGI being what it is, would still take a chunk of change to pull off FotN. That would necessitate some deep cuts, and probably character slashes. Even the theatrical version of "Blade Runner" (which I would guess, Steve, is the look and feel you would most want) only ran 117 minutes, and was, well, nothing like PKD's story (though that's often for the best with PKD!).

I like that you like "Gattaca". It was an interesting premise. I didn't enjoy it myself, but maybe I need help!

RobRoy said...

Oh, forgot to add that I would love to see the screenplay that was written for FotN. Any chance?

S Andrew Swann said...

Unfortunately, I think it may be legally questionable for me to show the unproduced screenplay to anyone. I may own the rights to FotN the novel, but that screenplay is the property of someone else, even if they can't produce it without buying another option.

RobRoy said...

That's what I figured. Thanks for letting us know though.

How often do books get optioned?

S Andrew Swann said...

Well I can't speak to that in general, but I can say that books are optioned a lot more often then they are made into film. With the option, someone's just buying the right to try and get a project financed. . .