(Sorry for the delay there, things can get away from you! Onward.)


Commentator: Ridley Scott

A veddy veddy British English speaker is Ridley Scott. But that’s a bit unfair, that’s more American stereotyping and he’s from up north I seem to recall — that sneaks out a few times actually, like when he notes that ‘none of this is CGI,’ so hey. It’s a high voice, though, a bit piercing, almost cutting. At this point he hadn’t yet gotten his Oscar and whether or not he felt a need to justify himself I don’t know, but probably not — he’s got his money and kudos and all that. So he starts talking and bless his heart he’s a motormouth, an informative one. It’s a bit like being lectured but in a conversational way, and rather than arguing from a ‘well, haunted houses were like this and I did this,’ he basically talks about being a director with some experience trying to make film number two (for him, not the series) on a budget. With the benefit of hindsight, to be sure.

For all the stylization he’s associated with, Scott talks a lot about solutions done on the fly, or as he says ‘on the day’ — the bit at the beginning where the computer screen reflects in the helmet? Done by chance when he saw the set. The monitor shots (as opposed to straight film) of the alien ship as the three crewmembers approach it? Done because the models of the planet wouldn’t quite hold up on screen over an extended period. Alien guts? Oysters and clams. Plenty of acknowledgment for various collaborators — composer Jerry Goldsmith, cinematographer Derek Vanlint, concept artist Ron Cobb, special effects feller Nick Allder, soundman Jimmy Shields, and of course H. R. Giger — as well as Stanley Kubrick, obvious source of inspiration in terms of how to handle space and space travel as compared with George Lucas. And the actors, even them — because the joke of course is that Scott films everything but them, apparently. But he defends the point that good casting is really a lot of the work done already and just about everyone gets their due, whether it’s in delivery or style or the physical work or more — further noting all the potential backstory that is never played out but how it’s hinted at. For a director said to be solely interested in how things appear on screen rather than how characters interest an audience, he’s got a knowledge of how characters can engage people, even if on more of an intellectual level than necessarily an emotional. Scott even keeps quiet at a few points to let a scene emphasize something he’s just noted rather than continuing on full bore.

I also like the fact you can hear him talking while chewing on a pencil or something. That and the line: ‘Love this cockpit. Somehow it’s very fascist.’