Tuesday, June 12, 2012

PROMETHEUS, are you reading this cuz I'm not sure I am.

PROMETHEUS takes place in the same universe as all the ALIEN films but it really isn't tied to them.  Only visually can you put this film together with the others.  You have the horse shoe ship and the Space Jockeys from ALIEN.  But you also have the familiar face mask melting and creatures that resemble the aliens from original Ridley Scott film.  There are familiar large tunnels and rooms full of egg looking contraptions that remind us of the alien face hugger eggs.  At one point there is a design on the wall that if you squint your eyes and use your imagination you can see the resemblance of a Queen alien.  PROMETHEUS is full of  all kinds of that crap.  It keeps us nerd folk distracted while the film goes from a perfect 'hail mary' to a fumble to a complete dropped ball.  To be honest I am not sure how I feel about this one.  It has a lot of good stuff mixed with some surprisingly confusing moments, unclear character motivations, and bizarre C.G.I. monster creations.  There is a giant C.G.I. face hugger at the end, folks.....Well sort of.

Not wanting to be just another creature feature in dark corridors, PROMETHEUS tries to be something different.  Unfortunately for us different means the same old thing from something else.  Apparently there are only two kinds of stories about space travel that you can tell on the big screen.   Either you tell a story about a bunch of guys going after Unobtainium or you make a space movie about the origin of life.  The big problem with PROMETHEUS is that it is too small for its own britches.  Here is a free tip for all you wannabe science fiction writers out there.  Don't tell a story that tries to explain the origin of life.  It is not a smart move and the writers of PROMETHEUS figured that out probably halfway through writing the script.  The first half of PROMETHEUS is excellent.  We are introduced to a bunch of working class space explorers including a robo Michael Fassabender. (Who steals the show if you ask me.)  They have spent two years in hybernation on a space ship heading to a planet to discover answers to the origin of life.  They all look like regular folk type people you would find on a spaceship and not a bunch of young Hollywood models........Well with the exception of Charlize Theron.  Exploring a new found structure on the unfamiliar planet called LV-422 leads to some really cool visuals and discoveries about the Space Jockeys.  The characters move about and add life to the story with their own personal quirks.  But when the movie tries to explain what all these discoveries are it either doesn't or it just asks more questions.  Too many times I was baffled by the lack of explanation.  I felt like I was watching THE PHANTOM MENACE again.  I expected some clarity to what I was seeing but it either did not come or I may have missed it.  Not really sure.

Why does the movie fall apart once the movie tries to explain where we came from?  Well life coming from aliens doesn't quite explain everything.  It is really easy to write "life came from aliens" on a piece of paper as if it were the ultimate answer.  But then you think "Hey, where did all those aliens come from?"  PROMETHEUS simply dodges the question by stating the 'where did the aliens come from' question.  At least that is more than what MISSION TO MARS did.  Man did that movie suck.  Then you start wandering where everything came from which leads to the Big Bang Theory and then you ask what caused the 'Big Bang' and you are left with nothing.  Because nothing cannot create an explosion.  I didn't even mention how life is so complex that even man has no real idea of how it came about or how it works.  Then you get into all the religious theories and stuff and the whole thing becomes one big mess in your brain and you can't get to sleep because of it.  To be fair PROMETHEUS does try do the whole "God and evolution can be true" explanation by having our lead heroin put back a beloved cross around her neck after it was removed due to possible contamination.  It is a clumsy effort though.  The whole point is that we are not looking for Scientology.  We are looking for an entertaining but smart science fiction movie.  Tell a different kind of sci-fi is all I am saying.  Prometheus was a mythological character that was struck down by the gods for trying to be their equal.  In the movie, Prometheus is the name of the ship that at the end strikes down the horse shoe Space Jockey ship who are suppose to be our gods stopping them from destroying our world.  Man's triumph over God?  I guess that is suppose to be smart imagery or something.  Whatever.  I hate it when I get metaphorical.

Michael Fassbender plays a very handsome C-3PO.  What a really great character.  Also a very confusing character.  His name is David.  David understands that he is a robot but he is advanced enough to be curious and have wants even though he says he does not.  At one point in the film he infects the male lead scientist with organic slime that ultimately makes the poor guy get sick and all weird looking forcing him to get blow torched by Charlize Theron.  Why did David do this?  And why did he choose the lead scientist?  You would think that the Weyland Corporation wanted him to infect someone so he can bring a specimen home but that never happens.  The movie never explains it that way.  He just did it for curiosity sake I think.  Gotta fill in the blanks somehow.  Right, movie?  Did I mention that Michael Fassbender is handsome?

From the start of the movie all the way to the end we are given inspiring science fictiony visuals connected by strange confusing events.  At the beginning this humanoid alien is left on a planet.  He drinks this gross stuff and then falls apart all the way down to his DNA.  I figure that they were on Earth.  This is how they seeded Earth, right?  But they use landscapes that are also shown on the planet LV-422.  I could be wrong about that but I don't think so.  So did the beginning take place on Earth?  Then when the Prometheus ship enters the planet's atmosphere they immediately find a strange unnatural structure.  That must be one small planet or one hell of a coincidence.  We see a hologram of a bunch of Space Jockeys running from something.  What were they running from?  Or why did they need to get to where they were going so quickly?  Then they find the corpses of a bunch of Space Jockeys who have holes in their chests as if something burst from their insides.  Sound familiar?  What killed them?  Where are the answers?  We are given nothing.  Its stuff like that which makes me want to not like this film.  Ultimately this 'intellegent' science fiction film descends into typical disaster movie cliches ended by the standard alien in the escape pod routine. Did the two aliens fighting at the end remind you of the stupid alien fight scene at the end of DREAMCATCHER?

By the way visual effects artists need to get laid.  At one point this snake like alien appears out of some black slime.  The astronaut that finds it leans in close and says it is a female.  He can tell just by looking at it.  I assume the head of the creature was suppose to look like a vagina.  That's how he could tell.  I was confused.  The reason being that what I saw was a snake with a ball sack for a head.  Have you people never seen a vagina before?  The alien looks like a pair of testicles in a scrotum with a fang that protrudes out.  What an expensive way to let us know you are all a bunch of virgins.  Maybe PROMETHEUS should have been more about explaining the 'birds and the bees' to the nerdos out there.


Jason

2 comments:

  1. okay that is a solid and helpful review... i am worried that your virgin nerd effects artists, makes me a little nervous to see it. i am thinking i am going to wait on the movie... i want to waste my money on cool stuff like... dark knight or something that doesn't try to crawl into my head or out of it.

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  2. Couldn't agree more. So very disappointing. There were some good bits, but a lot of stupid stuff. Why do those two idiots get lost in the ship when the "pups" guy mapped it and they can communicate with Prometheus? Why is the biologist a complete freakin retard when he sees an obvious alien lifeform (NOT a reptile) that he just keeps provoking? The characters don't have to act like idiots. They could be smart and try to get away but not be able to. Why do all the engineers look the same? And why the fuck do they look like white puffy baby-faced bald idiots with perfect muscles? You get rid of the incredible Giger space jockey design for that? Why would they even wear such a bizarre alien looking helmet then? It's just better if they're not suits. Fassbender definitely steals the show. David is by far the best character, and Fassbender's performance is incredible. I don't mind that they try to tackle a movie about the origin of life, but like you said, there isn't a lot they can do with that. At least, the movie is smart enough to know that and not go all Mission to Mars on us. Rapace's character (whatever her name is) does point out even if the engineers made them, who made the engineers? And from a screenwriting point of view, it's good the engineer doesn't talk, because what the fuck would you have him say? I like David's question... how far would you go to get your answers? What would you be willing to do? I think in that way, it's more about mankind's desire to try to get answers instead of the answers themselves. If the movie tried to give any answers, it'd just become hilariously stupid, and I don't really like the fact it says the engineers made us. They're trying to have their cake and eat it too, which doesn't work. It's really a shame this wasn't better and more thought out.

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