Saturday, 9 June 2012

Prometheus - can it live up to the hype?

‘In space no one can hear you scream”
Alien 1979

“In the cinema, everyone can hear you groan with disappointment”
Matt 2012

Hello again. If you read my very first post, many thank yous to you! You will also know that this new post will be Prometheus themed. It WILL contain spoilers so if you are English like me and have already seen it, please read on. If however you are from another country that got the film just yesterday, skip to the end for non- spoiler summary and rating.

.... still there?

... I’ll crack on

I thought I would start with the ‘obvious’ background story. Alien was released in 1979 to much critical praise. It was noted for having such a strong female lead in Sigourney Weaver, an awesomely scary alien designed by HR Giger and for being a iconic sci fi horror film. In preparation of watching Prometheus, my friend Dave suggested a small geek gathering to watch the directors cut of Alien from his newly purchased blu ray boxset. I must say that either the dvd or blu ray Alien Quadrilogy boxsets are excellent and have loads of amazing extras and is thoroughly recommended, no matter what ill feeling you may have to the later films (the boringly name ‘3’ and not so boring ‘Resurrection).  

One of the first topics of conversation that arose while watching it was perhaps a stereotypical male one-

Sigourney Weaver- hot or not?

After much deliberation and agreeing she looked great in Galaxy Quest; Darren, the biggest Alien geek among us simple said-

“I’m not sure, but I think she would make a good wife”

With that we simply nodded in approval.

So there you have it; Sigourney Weaver, 5ft 11, alien ass kicking, ghost baiting, Oscar nominated actress. And a good wife.

                          “The crew were stunned into silence as the Xenomorph asked Ripley to marry him”

On to Prometheus. A prequel/non prequel set in the same Alien universe and as Ridley Scott put it “has strands of Alien DNA”. Even with this in mind, there are lots of references and links to the original Alien, the Space Jockey being the biggest. In a nutshell Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her boyfriend Holloway (Logan Marshall-Greene- he has an imdb profile pic where he looks like Tom Hardys twin brother with a beard) take a team of scientists funded by Peter Weyland to discover the origins of mankind. 

You know it isn’t going to end well though. The tag line to the film gives that away-

"The Search For Our Beginning Could Lead To Our End."

Only perhaps it should have said-

“The Search For A Good Film, Could Lead To Your Disappointment.”

In this geeks opinion this was a typical case of the trailers and viral marketing being so much better than the film. The first half of the film was reasonably strong but then it all goes to pot in the latter.

The Good

Stunning scenery and great special affects

The Scottish and Icelandic locations were well filmed. Theuse of CGI incorporated with actual sets and props made things seem very realistic.

Mostly David, mostly

Michael Fassbender was easily the best character through out, channelling Hal form Space Odyssey and elements of Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia. He is a likeable if not slightly unnerving character at first, but unfortunately his motivations get very muddled as the film goes on; which made me like him less and less. The viral “Happy Birthday David” was particularly good and I recommend checking it out if you haven’t seen already.

Chilling birth scene

It was very cringe worthy to watch producing feeling of discomfort. Do not view if you are expecting! An almost classic horror scene if it wasn’t for the rest of the film.

The Bad

I’m lost! 

When the team first visit the alien compound, potential bad ass Fifield declares he has devices that can help map out where they are. They even communicate and send the data back to the ship, which produces a 3D computer map. It is probably the best mapping system in the world.
A bit later Fifield gets scared, wants to leave and ends up getting ... lost! On the way out! Lost?! Really?
Nuff said.

Dispensable characters

There were 17 crew on board the Prometheus. Pretty much other than the main cast I couldn’t remember any of there names, what they did or how they died. They pretty much served as cannon fodder for alien related deaths.

Vickers cant roll?

Vickers (Charlize Theron, severly underused), a character who we were lead to believe as being mega fit after performing numerous press ups moments after coming out of stasis, while everyone else was puking their guts up. We were unfortunately wrong as she could not roll out of the way to avoid being squashed by the space jockeys crashing ship. Shaw could, and she’s just given birth and has staples in her stomach!

Space Jockey’s height

Is it me or do the Space Jockeys seem quite small in comparison to the one in Alien? And why do they all look like actor Mark Strong with white make up on? He wasn’t in this was he? I know he was previously cast in Robin Hood another Ridley Scott film, but did he really like his face that much that he thought he would include him in this film. IMDB does not say he this was the case. If anyone knows anything on the contrary please let me know.

                                                           "You look taller on T.V!"

                                    "So Ridley, how much do I get paid for the image rights?"

Scared? Me? Nah!

Other than a few creepy moments in the Space Jockey ship and an unpleasant birth scene there was no atmosphere, or feeling of dread. Anything that had potential to be scary was undone by confusing and unnessary plot holes and actions by the crew.

The What?!

Never accept a drink from an android. 

David has plans of infecting Holloway with the alien DNA found in the vases in the Space Jockey ship.  He makes a drink for Holloway he dips his ‘infected’ finger in it as he passes it to him. Not subtly, or behind his back, but right in front of him making a noticeable 'splash' sound. I don’t know about you but if a bartender did that to me I would ask for a new drink!

Help me!

Holloway gets infected and his transformation is looking grim. Hang on though! We have a stasis pod on board the ship in which we can isolate him, stop the transformation and potentially save his life! Brilliant! 
Instead, lets not do that. 

Let's kill him!

Thanks for nothing! Additionally; surely a more humane way to put an end to him was to shoot him, not for Vickers (sadistic) to set him on fire so he can have a long painful death. 

R.I.P. Tom Hardy, ummm...I mean Logan Marshall-Green!

No one congratulates the new mother?

A particularly gristly and unsettling scene had Shaw getting an emergency cesarian to get rid of the alien inside her. Only no one questions it. No one asks about it! Are those staples in your stomach? What happened there? Is there an alien lock aboard the survival pod? Shocking!

Acid Zombie alien

Apparently if you get a face full of acid (bye bye Fifield!) you turn into a mutated zombie, who can fold himself up and is super strong, can climb walls and is pretty much impervious to bullets, flames and getting run over. Yes that makes sense! Not Millburn (Rafe Spall) who actually had an Alien tentacle squid thing orally invade his body. Hmmm...

Alien evolution

At the end we get a glimpse of the Xenomorph that burst out of the Space Jockey, which looks like a poor mans, prototype version of the classic Giger Xenomorph form the other Alien films.
Let me get this straight-
1.       First Holloway gets infected with the alien worm in his drink
2.       He infects Shaw via his man worm (sorry!)
3.       Sterile Shaw has a rapid pregnancy and gives birth to a baby white squid
4.       Baby squid gets huge very quickly and face (and body hugs..aww!) the Space jockey
5.       Alien burst out of Space Jockeys body with an uncanny resemblance to the Alien we all know and love
Okay then. Are we meant to believe this is how the Alien comes into existence? This is another example of more questions than answers.  Which brings me on to my final point...

Missed opportunity?

At the end the Alien burst out of the Space jockey. Surely it would have made much more sense for the Space Jockey to take off on another one of ships, start suffering a severe case of Alien indigestion and the crash land on LV 426 and so produces the iconic image from the first Alien film. That would have been a nice link and brings it full circle. Oh well...

In summary, as a stand alone sci fi horror not part of the Alien universe it could have been an good film. If it was more cohesive with its Alien referencing it might have been an excellent film. Unfortunately, due to many plots holes, lazy character development and literally nobody giving a damn about each other, it is just...okay. It even goes some way to undermine the original brilliance of Alien. Throwing in the references to Alien universe seemed rushed, not well thought out and dare I say it, included to keep the fanboys happy and make money. I’m a fanboy. I’m disappointed.

At least these guys were happy with the finished result...

Rant over!

Rating: 2.5/5 

Geek out,


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