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SYFY WIRE Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott's thoughts on Fortnite's parody of his famous Apple ad: 'The message was ehh'

By Jacob Oller
Fortnite 1984

Massive battle royale game Fortnite took a particularly artistic swing at Apple over the course of a heated legal battle between the two giants when, last month, it released a video bashing the tech company as an in-game event. The video, a parody of an influential Apple Super Bowl commerical (directed by none other than Alien and Blade Runner helmer Ridley Scott) that riffed on 1984 by George Orwell, ended with the hashtag #FreeFortnite. Now it seems Scott has seen the video (titled Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite, naturally) and isn't impressed.

The reason comes down to the topic. Fortnite's owner, Epic, made the video because Apple imposes a 30 percent fee on apps and in-app purchases from its store and Epic wasn't happy. It implemented a workaround where gamers could buy premium in-game currency V-Bucks directly from Epic at a discount, which violated Apple's App Store guidelines. The two sued each other and it's all being worked out in court. Scott thinks maybe something a little more important should've been allowed to make use of the platform.

Speaking to IGN, the octogenarian director explained that while he was flattered by the imitation, the end result was kind of a letdown. IGN asked if Scott had even seen the parody. "I sure have and I wrote them because on the one hand I can be fully complimented by the fact they copied [my commercial] shot for shot," Scott said. "But pity the message is so ordinary when they could have been talking about democracy or more powerful things...And they didn’t use it.”

A battle between massive corporations over the fate of microtransactions? Admittedly maybe not that important in the grand scheme of things. "I think the animation was terrific, the idea was terrific, and the message was 'ehh,'" Scott said. Though the original commercial also dealt with corporate battles, it was about an upstart trying to revolutionize public computing, with Apple positioned against IBM as an oppressive Big Brother figure.

A great ad, and definitely heady stuff, but maybe still not "talking about democracy or more powerful things." Ah, well. Maybe the next parody can blow our minds.