News that I had been dreading for quite some time (ever since Aliens vs Predator: Requiem tanked) finally broke a couple of weeks ago – 20th Century Fox are drawing up plans to remake/reboot Alien. Only chit-chat so far, but there seems little doubt that a new project is in the works, and is unlikely to be a direct continuation of the original series.
It seemed inevitable somehow, given the current fad for rebooting/remaking anything that ever made a reasonable amount of money in the past. The recent box-office success of Star Trek has only intensified studio efforts to look at which proven money-maker could be dusted off next. But that does nothing to quell the anger and despair at seeing something you love being butchered, broken up and sold off to make a fast buck. News that should be some form of consolation, namely that Ridley Scott would be co-producing this new take with his brother Tony, does little to asuage my fears.
My problem is that any sort of prequel or reimagining would destroy the elemental mystery of the original. Of course it would be interesting to know the origins of the Alien, and also that of the doomed Space Jockey. But do we really want to know? Would it not cancel out the original film’s unique atmosphere of ancient and otherwordly terror? Is it not better the leave the creature’s true origins obscured, impossible to determine, thereby enhancing its unnatural horror?
I trust Sir Ridley enough to assume that he has thought this through already and found a story angle that won’t ruin his first masterpiece. But I can’t help but fear that I will follow each new announcement of the project with a sinking feeling inside – especially if the director turns out to be a “hot new talent” from the world of music videos or visual effects. Spare us that at least.
The new Predator project (possibly to be directed by Neil Marshall it seems) appears to be a sequel of sorts to the originals. Let’s hope the new Alien will similarly respect the qualities and intentions that marked out its original so vividly.