Good Advice to Ridley Scott

The famed director’s latest, Exodus: Gods and Kings, looks like a flop — although I suspect it will do better on home video. Generally speaking, Hollywood seems to have a problem in this century with making decent biblical epics. A year ago I asked “Who in their right mind thought Darren Aronofsky was the right director to helm a Biblical epic?” And sure enough, Noah was pretty awful. Biblical epics made by actual practicing Christians tend to be of the basic cable variety — with scripts, actors, and production quality to match. Where’s Cecil B. DeMille when you need him?

Anyway, Wired has some advice for Ridley Scott:

In the last 10 years, you’ve made eight movies, half of which have been sweeping period epics or ambitious tales of science fiction. Prometheus, Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood, and now Exodus. It’s clear you love to paint with a big, fantastical brush, so why not make a miniseries? Give yourself 12 hours to tell a story instead of two. Maybe then you won’t have to sacrifice character development in favor of world-building and we won’t have to spend more than two hours in a theater and still leave unfulfilled. We can’t lie to you, Ridley. We haven’t felt emotionally invested in the outcome of one of your protagonists since American Gangster in 2007, and when you’ve got knockout stars like Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, and Christian Bale in your stable, we should have at least cared about someone on accident.

But you’ve turned cold on us, Ridley, casting heavyweights to immerse themselves in could-be-genius source material only to leave them extremely under-utilized. In Exodus, a plague of frogs got more screentime than Sigourney Weaver, which should never happen, and nearly every A-lister with a pulse was in The Counselor and it still felt empty. After your early 2000s run from Gladiator to Matchstick Men, almost everything else has felt like “Because I can.” And because you obviously can, that’s exactly why it’s time to try something new.

I would watch the hell out of a Scott-helmed miniseries, and I bet I’m not the only one.