Film - Prometheus
I am a huge Alien fan its still one of my favourite films to this day, a stone cold classic, closely followed by Aliens not so the other sequels in the franchise although Alien 3 has grown on me over the years the least said about Alien Resurrection and the Alien v Predator series the better.
Rumours of an Alien 5 with original Director Ridley Scott one of the greatest visualists ever back on board had been circulating for while this was finally confirmed as news developed of a prequel then a standalone film “Prometheus” set in the same universe.
It was to be centred around the “Space Jockey” from Alien the mysterious giant pilot of the ship where the Nostromo crew had the misfortune to find the face hugger eggs (re named “Engineers” in Prometheus). It’s a truly wonderfull, creepy and mysterious scene in the first movie so “Alien” where did the weird ship come from? What was the purpose of these eggs? Were they a weapon as hinted in the film and sequels but never explored only in some of the comic books that came out in the 1990’s.
So I come to Prometheus I have never been so excited about a film in recent memory I even joined a fan site took part in the forums and counted down the days to the many trailers which I analyzed over and over along with the impressive viral campaign.
The basic story centers on the crew of the spaceship Prometheus as they follow a star map discovered among the remnants of several ancient Earth cultures. Led to a distant world and an advanced civilization, the crew seeks the origins of humanity, but instead discovers a threat that could cause the extinction of the human race, although a familiar theme thrown up in many a Sci Fi tale it hooked me in.
So the first weekend of release I saw the film I had been waiting 30+ years to see Ridley Scott director of Alien and Blade runner returning to Sci Fi what could go wrong?
Well actually a lot....
I will start with the positives the movie looks stunning a seamless blend of epic sets and flawless CGI, the first third of the film had me transfixed it was all I hoped it would be. As the ship arrives on an alien world after a 2 year voyage to investigate a mysterious structure complete with dead engineers’ with ancient holograms of them running for their lives, some nasty bio mechanical black goo and a giant humanoid head so far so Alien but it never progressed from this tense opening.
Acting wise Michael Fassbender as the ships Android David is as good as everyone is saying the first few scenes of him looking over the crew and dying his hair while watching Lawrence of Arabia were fantastic I wish there would have been more of this interaction as the there were many Characters that were forgettable in both acting and screen time.
I warmed to Naomi Rapace as the chief female protagonist Shaw she was no Ripley but gladly the film stayed away from such comparisons and I felt some genuine empathy for the situation she found herself in and the same for can be said Logan Marshall Green as her boyfriend Holloway.
The negatives? sadly there were many....
Charlize Theron was wasted as the corporate bad guy Vickers as was Edris Elba as the very wooden ship’s captain they basically spent the whole movie starring at monitors. As for Vickers death scene oh lordy! Just run to the side woman! Guy Pearce as Peter Weyland was completely unrecognisable in some laughable make up it didn’t work without showing any footage of a younger Weyland as seen on the internet virals.
I was left with many questions but not in a good way too many clichéd characters and a poor script clouded any of the big ideas the film may have originally set out to explore.
I know its Sci Fi and you need a large portion of belief but this was no excuse for the terrible character behaviour, plot lines and editing in the last half of the film.
These were the worst issues for me
The exploding engineer head on the table what was the point? Also making the engineers look Humanoid took away the entire mystic from the original in Alien.
The Milburn and Fifield characters the two biggest clichés of the film getting lost despite all the tracking technology then Milburn trying to pet an Alien snake, I know people had to die etc but it was lame... straight out of a teen horror movie not what I expected from a Ridley Scott film.
The film’s most talked about Scene where Shaw performs a self C Section to remove an Alien Parasite all tension was lost as she stumbles into a room covered in blood and none of the crew present bats an eyelid! Or even mentions the creature she leaves in med lab? Bad editing? Plot? Answers please!!
Captain Janek suddenly deciding the temple was a Military Facility despite no evidence and crashing the Prometheus into the Engineer ship with the other two crew members oddly complacent with this act.
The last scene was straight out of an AvP film it seemed tacked on setting up a possible sequel
A lot of Flack deservedly is heading towards script writer Damon LIndelorf but he has basically done a re write of a story by David Spaits that featured more Xenomorphs and face huggers etc, it will be interesting to read this when it eventually surfaces online somewhere.
Having said a lot of negatives It’s not a crap movie as many are saying but it’s not a great one either considering the talent and history involved a disappointment for me personally that they ended up with this story. I had the same feelings after seeing Alien 3 a case of what should have been, the fan sites are awash with missing footage and a huge clamour for a director’s cut already, why? The theatrical Version of Alien and Aliens were perfect the director’s cut and special editions came out years later the latter adding nothing to the films, the fans feel cheated perhaps?. Director’s cuts and deleted scenes are for hard core fans only and DVD extras, this reeks of just plain bad editing to keep to a shorter running time and lousy a plot. It seems the fan base is split down the middle between haters and the lovers realistically Prometheus falls somewhere in between but either side won’t admit it.
As for a sequel it’s a no go for me I would like to see Scott direct “the Forever war” and leave this to someone else if it turns into another “Franchise”.
Visually you will not see a better looking film for a while the Space jockey chair scene absolutely stunning another what could have been moment, but sorry the script/Plot and editing all stink it was a re write after all and there may be the problem Prometheus couldn’t decide if it was a straight prequel or not and does not sit well alongside the older original.
All In all its a 120 million dollar B Movie a modern Forbidden Planet if you like even shades of Doctor Who (a flute that controlled the Engineers ship!), viewed as such you will enjoy it more like I did with a second viewing!.