There’s a bit of a love/hate relationship between the Alien franchise and me. Some of this comes from the fact that the movies range in quality kind of wildly and part because the tale itself can be a little tricky to understand in some respects. But I have nothing but respect for Ridley Scott so there was no way I was going to miss this.
But was it worth the wait? Was it everything the fans hoped it would be? Does it even matter at this point? Let’s take a look at the Alien prequel we’ve been waiting for after nearly a decade: Prometheus.
Let it be known right now, this paragraph contains spoilers, so skip this one if you haven’t seen it yet. The science exploration ship Prometheus heads to a mysterious planet in the attempt to discover the origin of the human race. What they find is the attempt of the creators, called the Engineers, attempting to destroy all life on Earth through the use of the aliens. But secretly, the man who funded the trip came abroad to see if these creators could cure his disease, and so he has one of the scientists infected with the alien disease and impregnates his fellow scientist before dying. The remaining crew discovers that not only have other members been infected, but a space ship is hidden underneath with one more Engineer in cryo-stasis waiting to bring the deadly aliens to earth. It gets sabotaged and Dr. Shaw, the only survivor, hightails it to the Engineers home planet to meet with her creators.
The non spoiler version? They’re in space, evil aliens, and a whole lot of this:
There are a lot of great aspects concerning this movie. One is definitely the acting. Charlize Theron as the cold, unwavering commander is perfect – and cold too. After her stint as the evil queen from Snow White and the Huntsman it seemed to be a year for her playing villains. Noomi Rapace redeems herself after the disaster that was Sherlock Holmes 2 as the head scientist Elizabeth Shaw, struggling to survive the horrors she encounters through the expedition. She’s the perfect blend of optimistic, determined, and devastatingly traumatized. When she flies off to find the home planet of the creators, it makes me want to see THAT movie. I mean, her character works as the audience avatar incredibly well as she asks the important questions and makes big discoveries.
But by far the best performance comes from Michael Fassbender, as the android David. I may not be able to pronounce his name, but Fassbender is perfect – cold and detached, but clearly human enough to enjoy every single terrible thing that he does. Constantly the crew treats David like crap, like he’s nothing, though he is capable of feeling on some level and comprehending the world around him in deeper layers than he is given credit for. And thus, when he does terrible things, or smirks knowingly about events to come, you kind of want to root for him. Though it’s still creepy when he watches the crew sleep in their skivvies.
But unfortunately, there are a lot of unanswered questions – why DO these engineers hate us? What was our design flaw? And why the hate – if we’re like robots to them, what does it matter if we found them or not, or if we continued existing or not? And if they created us in their image, why aren’t the other aliens done in the same fashion? After all, wouldn’t it be smarter to make humanoid aliens to infect us and wipe us out than creepy looking creatures that are easily spotted. Also, how did they think to go from octopus monster to the modern alien? It makes no sense…
I’m just not sure if I buy this as the Alien prequel if only because the continuity is a little forced. I kind of wished it was a stand-alone film because of just how good its own merits. The design is amazing, effects used to the max, and certainly didn’t need the Alien name in order to make money.
Additionally, the pacing is a little off. Sometimes the plot chugs along at a reasonable rate, before hitting into hyper drive suddenly and for no reason, only come back to it’s regular rate but feeling slower than ever. I am not sure why but it does happen
Prometheus in and of itself is a very good movie. Is it great? Not really. It’s just a few shades off from being another break out hit during this summer but it is worth the see and if you’re repulsed by all the other offerings in the cinema this weekend, its worth the price of admission.
Next week is going to be a bit of a surprise as I have no idea what it is I am going to be seeing before next Friday (sadly, not Brave, that’ll be a separate review), but my August blockbuster preview should be up, and maybe even a music review (I’ll try to do something non-Hello Project…try…).