There are a few untouchable givens in the world of film
1. Schindler’s List is a masterpiece (which I disagree with too, but that’s not the point I’m coming to so let’s not go there just now).
2. You can’t criticise dire movies by the likes of Michael (“Armageddon”) Bay and Roland (“Independence Day” -which was actually quite good for the first hour or so) Emmerich because you are told “it’s just a piece of bubblegum -not meant to be taken seriously -leave the brain at the door”. My point on that is, how can anyone say whether they’re any good if their brains had been checked-in at the desk like shoes at a bowling alley?
3. Ridley Scott is a great director.
It’s number three I’d like to address here.
Whilst I can appreciate his technical prowess -scene setups, angles, progression of plot, sound, lighting, editing, quality of acting, ability to get what he wants from those he works with and tie it all together into a “finished product”, I don’t think Ridley Scott ever made a film I liked.
I’ve seen Blade Runner, for instance, at least 7 times and I can honestly say the only time I’ve come close to enjoying it was the first time -with the narration everyone complains about. I only saw it all the other times because of all the gushing critiques & opinions.
Now I’ve resolved myself to something it took me many many years of pain and hours & hours of wasted life to realise: I think Ridley Scott is a terrible director -but The Duellists and Alien probably come closest to being “good” than any other. Yes I include Gladiator too, although I can’t say it was bad -just (in my opinion) not much good. Isn’t it, after all, the same story as Braveheart? -“one man against an invincible empire”.
And yet I’ve seen most of Ridley’s films -one disappointment after another. I even saw the gangster one he had out last year or so with Denzil Washington (who I like) and that pretentious Aussie (the male one). That one wasn’t bad really, but was as pointless as a blunt pencil.
I know I’m a bit thick for not realising it sooner, but all the talk of how great Ridley is had me labouring under the illusion that I had to be missing something.
I think I’ve narrowed down what I don’t like about those films. There could be more to it, but apart from anything else, their lack of humour -or at least any humour I can relate to- is monumental. Ridley Scott movies, to me, seem to mistake seriousness for maturity. The films are childishly-humourless in fact. They all (well mostly) have the same constipated furrowed brow affectation worn constantly by Russell Crowe and almost every acne-ridden teenage boy I’ve ever known. Which is, no doubt, why his movies are so popular.