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…

22. Robin Hood (2010)

Of all the things the world has ever needed, a new telling of the Robin Hood story was low on that list in 2010. Or ever, really. Add to that the confusing need for Ridley Scott to “real” this thing up, and you wind up with a forgettable, flat rendition of one of the more flamboyant, exciting characters in popular fiction.

Russell Crowe is back on board for Scott, playing the titular hero less as the adventurous thief and more as a dogged voice for the voiceless. It sounds like a great idea, but the execution is flat and uninspired. Robin Hood feels like a dozen other medieval action adventures, where nothing stands out and the visuals are drab and empty. Even an incredible cast that includes Cate Blanchett as Marion, Max Von Sydow, and William Hurt can’t inject life into the story. There are no merry men here, only good soldiers, and so the spirit of the film is lost in the strange desire to inject realism.