We live in an age of nostalgia. The people who are entering the entertainment industry now are those who grew up with a 'modern' entertainment industry. Film, television, animation, computer graphics, these were things that all of us in our 20's and 30's had - in a very modern way - as we were growing up. This means that, as we enter the entertainment industry, we try to create, and recreate, the things that are most important to us. This is primarily why we're seeing such a strong resurgence of old franchises. Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Aliens, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Transformers, just to name a few, are among the most popular franchises in our current age, and these same ones graced the small and silver screens decades ago when we were young and impressionable.
But how much leeway, and how much leniency, are we granted when handling these intellectual properties?
This thought has been with me ever since I saw Jurassic World, and resurfaced recently when I saw the concept art shown above. This is a conceptual drawing of an adult version of the child character Newt from the film Aliens (1987). The concept art is for Neill Blomkamp's Alien 5, and I know that, as a diehard Alien fan, I should be excited about this project. But I can't get past the idea that this film is completely ignoring explicit story details from previous Alien films.
And it's not the first time we've heard this. I remember hearing in interviews prior to the film's release that Jurassic World would ignore the films The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III. While many other movie fans I know thought this was a great idea, as those two films were generally less well-received than the original, I didn't feel the same. I was rather annoyed, and likewise I am also annoyed that Blomkamp's Alien film is ignoring Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection.
Who gives him the right to do this? If we are going to say that these franchises are so good and of such high quality that we want to see them continue today, why do we have the right to say "we only want to continue with this version of it". The fact that Neill's proposing the return of not only Newt, but Ripley and Hicks gives me a strong Aliens: Colonial Marines vibe, and that's not a good vibe. It gives it a strong 'Fan Fiction' feeling. Like, this isn't the real thing, but wouldn't it be cool if it were?
The same can be said for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. I know I addressed these thoughts in my reviews of both Star Wars and Jurassic World, but I'll bring them up again here: seeing The Force Awakens has actually given me a new sense of appreciation for the prequel trilogy.
No, I haven't gone crazy, hear me out.
First of all, I'm not going to fall on the ground in defense of Episodes One, Two, and Three. They're still subpar, unnecessary, and in some parts just plain bland. However, they're still George Lucas. They're still from him, and they are the story he wanted to tell. The Force Awakens is a fan's version of George's universe, and it will never hold the same sort of authenticity which I feel from Episodes 1-6. It's good, hell, it's even great. But it isn't Star Wars.
And then we have Alien, which is a franchise in an entirely unique position. This is a franchise started 40 years ago that is being continued by both outside hands and the original creator. As Neill Blomkamp works on Alien 5, Ridley Scott is working on Alien: Covenant, previously call Alien: Paradise Lost, previously called Prometheus 2. I'm honestly more excited for Ridley's, though it is a cautious optimism. Yes, I know Prometheus was a jumbled mess resulting from the pre-production, and actual production, hell it was stuck in for so long. But, at it's core, it's the real thing. It's an ACTUAL Alien film, and not one from a fan of the Alien films.
Plus, Neill Blomkamp has only been going downhill in quality after District 9, in my opinion. He could easily turn it around, but I am growing a bit tired of his style and would like to see him change things up a bit. Who knows? Maybe the Alien franchise will work for him.
What are your thoughts on this? Are you just enjoying the ride, or do you feel conflicted like I do? Let me know in the comments below!