Monkeys Fighting Robots

This month’s Alien: Covenant marks Ridley Scott’s 24th feature film in what has been a long, influential, albeit uneven and sometimes flat out maddening career. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, Ridley Scott’s oeuvre is as inconsistent in quality as his late brother Tony’s was consistent in aesthetics and tone. He has his strengths – world building and managing epic scope – and his weaknesses – creating three-dimensional characters. These aspects aren’t always true, but they are more consistent than anything in his career.

Digging through Scott’s entire filmography, spanning epic classics and replacement-level thriller dreck, it was tough to try and rank some of the lesser works above the each other. But with careful viewing I began to disseminate just how much effort Scott was putting into his craft from movie to movie. It helped shape a list top heavy with older films and, unfortunately, a heap of Scott’s most recent work filling out the bottom of this list.

Here we go…


23. Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

Oddly enough, all the shameless whitewashing to ensure Gods and Kings had enough marquee names to sell tickets might be the least of this disaster’s problems. So much of Exodus is Ridley Scott on autopilot, telling a story so familiar you have to wonder why Scott was attracted to the project in the first place.

Christian Bale gives it his typical everything as Moses, and same goes for Joel Edgerton as Ramses. But when John Turturro shows up as the Egyptian King Seti, playing the part just as himself pretty much, you start to wonder if maybe this was all an intentional farce. Except, the thing is, Scott remains dead serious throughout the entire movie, even though mediocre CGI overshadows his typical world-building prowess. Awful.