Tuesday, June 12, 2012


The new videogame from director Ridley Scott! THe Brand new FPS based off the hit movie Prometheus
This has taken some time to wrap my head around.  See, it's an enjoyable movie, and it has a lot of great set-up, but after the credits roll, you'll start to think about it and go, "Wait what?"  It's an interesting movie, but it's not the experience I thought it would be.
Two exploers, Elizabeth Shaw(Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway(Logan Marshall-Green),  discover that several ancient civilizations have the same paintings indicating the theory that an alien civilization made us.  The Weyland corporation funds their expedition with a team of scientists led by Meredith Vickers(Charlize Theron) and a huge ship, the Prometheus, to go find out if the theory is true.  They soon find out their creators are more hostile than they thought.

Prometheus is entertaining. It's fun, engaging and you'll enjoy yourself, but it's not the movie we were all hoping for(much like the crew of the Prometheus doesn't get the creators they want. Metaphor?). It's not another Alien, it's much closer to Alien Resurrection. Actually, it's closest to Mission to Mars.  It sets up a lot of neat things and has some cool ideas, but it's not well put together.  Stuff just sort of happens and the whole thing leaves you wondering what you just watched.
David, the snarky Android that everyone shits on, and then is a dick. Or is programed to be a dick?

Michael Fassbender as David the android is probably the best part of this, with Noomi Rapace as Shaw not far behind.  They construct David as this complex character with ulterior motives, except, you never find out what those motives are.  I love his personality and edge though. He resents everyone else throwing in his face that they're human and he's not.  A great idea they have is they're all going to investigate these beings called "engineers" who created humans, and they're using an android that they themselves created.  David has this cynicism because humans are always saying he doesn't have a soul and he's not human like they are, they built him because they could, but really, what are humans to the engineers but the same thing?  He's like a grandchild to the engineers, and no one realizes this irony except David.

One of the things I was disappointed about(though may be a plus for some of the weak-hearted) is that it wasn't as scary as I was hoping.  Some of that is from watching the trailers and putting the pieces together as you watch it, unconsciously dissolving the surprise, but most of it is from a genral lack of scary atmosphere. It's not nearly as eerie and claustrophobic as Alien.  This is much more of a sci-fi film than a horror film.  Not to say it shares some of the great visuals and original alien asthetics, but it has more of a sense of awe and discovery rather than a trapped-in-a-cave-with-a-monster feeling.  They COULD leave whenever they want, but they choose not to for...reasons?

This is one of the main problems of the movie, people act stupid, or at least don't have proper motives for the things they do. Or hell, some of them just don't have a lot to do. Why, for instance, does the geologist who is mapping the giant cave, with robots no less, suddenly get lost?  Why is everyone a dick to David?  Why would someone deathly afraid of meeting actual aliens suddenly decide it's a good idea to go touch them?  Why aren't characters freaking the hell out more when people die?  Why does the Captain suddenly understand more of the Engineers than the whole science team?  And I like Vickers and Theron plays her well, but I don't quite understand her motives.  Also, for such a great character, she has kind of a stupid death.  Idris Elba is also fun as the spaceship captain, but I felt a lot if his parts were ham-fisted in there. He doesn't really do much and doesn't act as dramatically as he should in this type of situation.

Not to say it's all bad, far from it.  there are some nice plot twists, things I thought would pop up at the end but popped up right away.  And there are some generally funny and clever moments.  It does have some great visuals.  The ships and weapons all look futuristic without looking out of reach.  The visuals for the aliens are stunning.  The alien monsters are as realistic looking and slithery as ever. I wish it had a scarier tone, but it is beautiful.  There's one scene that's especially brutal, that's a great metaphor for a hot-button issue that I'll talk about later. But strangely enough, the 3D is not worth it.  I kept forgetting it was there because the I was too engaged with the movie.

The pace is weird.  In the beginning, it's very slow but in a meaningful kind of way. I like it, if used properly it would be a great juxtaposition to the quick action that happens later. But then half-way through things just start to happen and the flow gets jittery. It feels like it wants to have a quick pace but doesn't know how.  And near the end when the characters should all be freaking the hell out, they just decide to go with it, walking into the third act and completely forgetting to be scared shitless of the all the things that have been killing them.  Also, the beats are strangely close to the first Alien, which they were probably trying to make as a homage, but just come off as them not knowing how to write a new script.

I like the ideas the movie plays with.  Why were we created, what is the value of life, who created the creators, do androids dream of Arabian Nights...it's all interesting. Or it SHOULD be, if they decided to have any kind of answer to anything the movie offers.  But hey, maybe that's the whole point of the movie, that we don't get answers. Or maybe they're setting up for a sequel. Or hey, maybe they'll just flat out tell us after the movie.

What's weird is that Shaw is a religious person, which shouldn't make sense for her character.  I mean, she has this theory that aliens created us, so her own theory is directly disproving her religion, and considering what she finds, really disproving religion. Actually, now that I think of it, it's a pretty good metaphor for religion in general.  Even when the evidence is exactly contrary to your belief, you still decide to believe because you want to.  Not because of any kind of evidence at all, but because you have to, because without it you wouldn't have any reason to go on.

And no, you don't need to stay through the credits, there's no extra scene. Though, there is a strange bit of text for Weyland Corp.

I feel like I should either love it more or be more disappointed by Prometheus.  It's a pretty good movie, I enjoyed it, and I'd see it again, but not everything adds up the way it should. It's just not that well put together.  It's a hodgepodge hybrid of a horror movie, a sci-fi epic, and an action thriller, and it leaves me wanting more.

THE GOOD: great visuals, asks big questions, some nice action, Fassbender as David, Rapace, Theron and Elba, nice alien designs, overall engaging.

THE BAD: doesn't answer those questions, characters are dumb or have conflicting motives, things just happen, pace is off, 3D not worth it, not scary.

THE VERDICT: $$$$ It's still worth seeing, possibly even multiple times. It's fun and engaging, but it's not the movie you were expecting.  Don't expect Alien, expect Mission to Mars with better visuals.

MOVIES LIKE IT: Mission to Mars, Alien, Aliens, Alien Resurrection, Contact

ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: The opening scene in the movie is the strange waterfall clip in the trailer. Watching it, you're thinking, "huh, this is strangely awe-inspiring. I thought this would be scarier from the previews." And then the aliens do stuff and it's interesting but it's not really explained how or why.

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