James Cameron Has Some Thoughts About the Current State of the ‘Alien’ Franchise
Alien: Covenant will be the sixth Alien film released since Ridley Scott’s original 1979 movie (or eighth, if you count both Alien vs. Predator movies), and as such is the continuation of one of the longest-running franchises in film history. James Cameron, director of Aliens, recently spoke about his feelings on the series and revealed that he thinks it may have gone too far, although he does clarify that he’s down for whatever Ridley Scott wants to do.
In a new interview with Vulture, where he talks about his new documentary Atlantis Rising, about the search for the ancient lost city, Cameron says that he feels the Alien franchise has turned into a “Freudian biomechanoid meme.” Whatever… that means.
The franchise has kind of wandered all over the map. Ridley [Scott] did the first film, and he inspired an entire generation of filmmakers and science-fiction fans with that one movie and there have been so many films that stylistically have derived from it, including my own Aliens, which was the legitimate sequel and, I think, the proper heir to his film. I sort of did it as a fanboy. I wanted to honor his film, but also say what I needed to say. After that, I don't take any responsibility.
I don't think it's worked out terribly well. I think we've moved on beyond it. It's like, okay, we've got it, we've got the whole Freudian biomechanoid meme. I've seen it in 100 horror films since. I think both of those films stand at a certain point in time, as a reference point. But is there any validity to doing another one now? I don't know. Maybe. Let's see, jury's out. Let's see what Ridley comes up with. Let me just add to that — and don't cut this part off, please — I will stand in line for any Ridley Scott movie, even a not-so-great one, because he is such an artist, he's such a filmmaker. I always learn from him. And what he does with going back to his own franchise would be fascinating.
At least he makes sure at the end that we all know what a fan of Scott he is. However you felt about Prometheus, the original director returning to the franchise that he began is promising, and hopefully it’s because he’s ready to try something new. Prometheus was certainly a departure from the rote monster-in-the-house horror that the series became in its third and fourth iterations, and its sequel seems to be reimagining that world a little more.
It’s also up to Cameron, now that he’s said all this, not to make himself look the fool with the rest of his planned Avatar series, not to mention, uh, resurrecting Terminator for another go. If you’re gonna knock a franchise for being too unimaginative and lasting too long, don’t make that same mistake.