Monday, June 25, 2012

The Search for Our Beginning Could Lead to Many Sequels

Having finally gotten round to watching Prometheus (Happy Father’s Day old man), I am now prepared to convey to you the follow up to my preemptive review. I’ll tell you now that there may be a spoiler or two in the article below, but I’ll hide them so you don’t have to read it unless you want to. I’m not going to nitpick on the tiny details like I have seen some people do, though I have one or two concerns regarding some plot holes or inconsistencies (as well as my thoughts on the reasoning). Because this is a response to my preemptive review, I’ll answer all the questions and thoughts I had in the original article first, and then give a proper review after. Enjoy. Or don’t. So long as you’re reading…

This first part is spoilerific so I’ll post my original comment or thought in italics, then hide the response. Highlight to read:
My very very first thought when I saw the trailer was, “Oh crap, they’re not doing that silly Humans-As-Slaves-To-An-Extra-Terrestrial-Race subplot from AVP are they?” Watching the rest of the trailer I’m pretty sure the answer is no. Not really. But kind of. I was spot on. They’re not really doing that. But kind of.

I’m making an assumption that it is LV-426 from Alien and Aliens. It’s not.
Or maybe it’s not the same Space Jockey at all, which would raise some interesting questions. It’s not. Interesting questions were answered.

I’ve seen one of the viral videos that accompanied the trailer so I know that Michael Fassbender and his huge cock are an android… I predict another amazing performance. Oh my fucking god he was brilliant! Also, the fact that he’s an android isn’t really a spoiler, as it’s not hidden in the way it is in Alien and Aliens.

I don’t know how far in the past this movie is in relation to Alien but I hope against hope that no allusions are made that Rapace’s character is in some way the forebear of Ellen Ripley. She’s not.
The last big name I saw was Charlize Theron, but she’s not featured very prominently. Company representative? I’m making an assumption that the Weyland-Yutani Corporation is involved (how could it not be?) and she seems like the good fit. Plus it gives a strong actress to be the bad guy and cause friction with Rapace. Another good prediction on my part! More on this character in the proper review.

…the Space Jockey alone is a major point of contention in sci-fi and I’m sure I’ll feel disgruntled at the explanation after 30+ years of speculation. Was actually happy with this. Kind of surprised, to be honest.

Star Trek set the bar pretty high in how they showed “future” technology dreamed of in the 60s reimagined for modern audiences, and I hope but doubt that Prometheus will pull it off as well. They did a great job here and, like Star Trek, some of the “future state” tech could theoretically exist today. Case in point: Those little floating spheres could exist RIGHT NOW. Another thing that can be used to explain the difference in tech from Alien to Prometheus is the fact that Nostromo was a simple mining vessel, while Prometheus was a state of the art machine built to explore. Additionally, who knows how long Nostromo had been in existence before Alien? It could, conceivably, be a much older ship.

So my predictions weren’t bad, all told. Let’s review the movie, proper.

First of all, let me say that the first two minutes of the film were unbelievably good. Probably the best possible set up that could have been filmed. You will love it and you’ll find, upon reflection, that it will answer many of the film’s questions before you even know to ask them. Also, Michael Fassbender continues to be the best actor working today. His character is featured prominently (read: almost exclusively) in the beginning of the film and he is heavily involved throughout the rest of the movie. To me, his performance was the absolute best part of the film.

Prometheus is a gorgeous movie that combines shots of sweeping vistas with claustrophobic corridor scenes to form a fairly decent amalgamation of the psychological thriller feel of Alien and the sci-fi action blockbuster feel of Aliens. Having said that, it did not succeed as well as either of those films in the respective categories, but it is still visually impressive. The score was brilliant and the ambient/foley sounds were wonderful as well. Special effects looked phenomenal and it sparked a conversation between my father and me as to how long it’ll be before you’re no longer able to tell the difference between CGI and models at all. We’re getting better and better every year.

I saw it in 3-D which, to be honest, wasn’t really necessary. I’m a fan of 3-D, typically, but I just didn’t see the need for it here. I didn’t find it distracting from the film overall, however, unlike my buddy across the pond.

The plot holds together fairly well, and the dialogue was… decent. There were two nitpicky things I noticed about the film that I’ll hide from general viewing, but want to talk about anyway:

Why did they use the term ‘credits’ at the beginning of the film, then dollars later on? Possible answer is that credits are a “company store” form of currency, valid only within the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, and dollars are actual currency. Really, just nitpicky and I’m surprised I even noticed it. 

Also, in the beginning of the crew’s time on the planet, two crew members are separated from the ship and both are attacked by the alien thingies (possibly/probably xenomorphs in their pure form, pre-xenomorphing?). They only deal with one crew member though. What happened with the other guy?

The acting in the movie was very good. Noomi Rapace did kind of channel her inner Sigourney, but not in a distracting way and she definitely brought her own flavor. I’ve already gargled on Fassbender’s balls, but I’m going to mention again that he was stellar. I liked Tom Hardy in the film as well. What? That wasn’t Tom Hardy?! Guy Pearce was nearly unrecognizable, which is ironic because he’s been gone from mainstream American film for so long that he is nearly unrecognizable. Charlize Theron did very well as the cold and calculating company representative though I felt that a bit of her character’s development happened way too late in the game and was a bit superfluous by that point.

Overall I really, really enjoyed this film, but I felt like the last 20-30 minutes sort of fell apart. It became pretty formulaic and stopped making me guess what would happen next, as you’ve seen that 20-30 minutes hundreds of times in your movie going life. *SPOILER ALERT* Also, and I’m genuinely disappointed in Ridley Scott for this, the scene where the captain and two pilots sacrifice themselves to save humanity was just awful. It really felt like a scene from a Michael Bay film. Additionally, we really didn’t need to see the newly “born” xenomorph there at the end, did we? Couldn't we have taken it as read? Also, I didn’t care much for the voice-over thing where the ship flies off into the sunset. Did you learn nothing from Blade Runner Mr. Scott?!

I originally predicted a 4.5 out 5 stars for this film but due to the last bit kind of fizzling and a few minor details that jumped out at me I’m only going to give it a 4. Still a lovely film, and I’m very very glad I saw it. Take a friend, enjoy some popcorn, don’t pay extra for 3D, and don’t get caught up in too many small details. Also, stay through the credits for an intriguing teaser shot. Looks like we’ll be seeing some new Alien type stuff this fall…

1 comment:

  1. Great movie! I especially enjoyed the artwork by H.R. Giger! He is near to god-like in my vision... The fact that he could come up with such detailed imagery is nothing short of a miracle. Congrats on the review!