Director Ridley Scott: ‘Internet Killing Cinema’

The genius behind “Blade Runner” and “Alien” warns that new technology is killing off the big-screen experience.

I mentioned last month how Sir Elton John railed against the evils of the internet and for which he held responsible for “destroying good music” and stopping “…people from going out and being with each other, creating stuff.”

Well, now another “Sir” has entered the fray of artists criticizing the Internet with director Sir Ridley Scott voicing his distaste with the way the internet has revolutionized the ability of consumers to access content whenever and wherever they choose.

From mobile phones to desktop PCs, the internet now provides the opportunity for end users to stream and download an increasingly large variety of digital material that has turned movie theaters into simply another access terminal of sorts, a twist of technological fate that Sir Scott laments is killing the cinema experience.

“People sit there watching a movie on a tiny screen,” Scott noted. “You can’t beat it, you’ve got to join it and deal with it and also get competitive with it. We try to do films which are in support of cinema, in a large room with good sound and a big picture.”

“I’m sure we’re on a losing wicket, but we’re fighting technology,” said Scott, the genius behind such classic films like “Alien,” “Blade Runner,” and “Gladiator.” “While it has been wonderful in many aspects, it also has some big negative downsides.”

It isn’t clear whether he’s advocating a movement to tear down the internet as did Sir John, but he certainly dislikes the way that his movies are now able to be viewed in a way that he never intentioned. Each of his movies are filmed, edited, and produced with a creative vision in mind that takes into account the size, sound, and picture of movie theaters. When it’s screened on anything less he thinks that viewers are being shortchanged.

Now while I do disagree obviously that the internet is to blame for killing cinema, I do agree with his disdain for the way in which the experience he worked so hard to create for each of his movies is then ruined when people watch it on mobile phones or PCs.

It’s not hard to sympathize with the genius behind “Blade Runner” and the real beauty of that movie when seen on the big screen, and how it it pales in comparison when watched on anything less.

But, to his credit he does recognize the garbage that Hollywood has been spewing out over the years, a real reason I believe for low ticket sales when the MPAA otherwise tries to blame piracy.

“I think movies are getting dumber, actually. Where it used to be 50/50, now it’s 3% good, 97% stupid.

If Sir Scott is smart enough to recognize that most of what Hollywood makes is stupid, then the least I can do is sympathize with him for the way in which his movies eventually become disposable pieces of consumer goods, and his lamenting over how his works of passion become just another mans distraction while in line at the supermarket.

Bottom line? Maybe the internet is killing the cinema experience, but so long as people keep producing QUALITY films that people actually want to see (you know that 3% crowd?) then he has nothing to fear. His upcoming movie “American Gangster” is a perfect example of why people do go to the movies.


**NOTE: Sir Scott was in Venice to screen his new “Blade Runner: The Final Cut,” which removes Harrison Ford’s voiceover that was originally demanded by Warner Bros. for the “hard-of-thinking.”