Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Prometheus; a film about Aliens

Last night I saw Prometheus.

I’ll leave that sentence on its own to create some sort of impact because that’s what this film should do.  This film has been built up so much, it has been made the cinema event of the year so far.

It certainly lives up to the name of Ridley Scott.  Prometheus is beautifully shot and a spectacle to behold and a definite cinematic must see.
Two scientists (presumably archaeologists) discover artworks depicting humans bowing down to tall men pointing to the same constellation of stars throughout numerous civilisations in different parts of history who would have had no contact with one another.  It’s not a map, it’s an invitation, according to these scientists, although it looks like more of a map to me personally.

Anyway, it gets these scientists onto the spaceship titan Prometheus and the crew travel to one of these stars to hunt for these tall men, named ‘engineers’ who are thought to be the creators of life on earth.  These engineers, however, are not quite as they appear...

The concept of this film was dreamt up by Ridley Scott twenty years ago as an Alien prequel but it has not been marketed as such.  In fact, they have strongly said that this is not an Alien prequel.  If this is true, then Prometheus is a standalone film about a crew going to a planet and finding something there they didn’t expect.  The potential is enormous.

An Alien prequel would have been wonderful, a new standalone film would have been incredible.  Unfortunately, I felt that this film tried to do both and in doing so failed at both, making it simply a good film.

There were obvious references to Alien throughout the film which did not elicite the right sort of buzz that a bonefide prequel may have done.  The script was bulky in places and predictable (probably because it is actually an Alien prequel).  I didn’t mind these hurdles too much.  Some parts were successfully scary and gory and these were very well done and memorable.

None of the characters were fully developed which I found very frustrating.  The only main character who I felt any empathy towards, the only main character I actually cared about, was David (Michael Fassbender) who, ironically, is the android.  David stole the show but even some of his actions were unexplainable and without meaning.
Don’t get me wrong, there was some excellent acting involved.  I especially like the Scottish doctor, the ship captain and his two crewmen, the geologist and biologist but that’s all we knew them as.  Their characters were not developed to the extent that we learned to care about them, they simply existed and we never really learnt who they were.
I honestly didn’t see the point in Charlize Theron’s character – Vickers – she was unlikeable throughout and seemed to serve no purpose on the ship.  She seemed to exist purely for her living quarters which featured more prominently in the plot than she did.
Noomi Rapace (Dr Shaw and arguably the new Ripley – interesting how both Alien and Prometheus have these strong women as their protagonists) was excellent but I didn’t care for her character for one moment during the entire film.

There were a number of a plot holes in the film, unexplainable moments that didn’t quite seem to fit and had been thrown in just so that something else could happen.  Again it is difficult to explain without giving away big spoilers (Dr Holloway for one), so here is a very interesting list of questions and theoriesthat the Guardian have come up with if anyone is interested.

So what about these engineers?  I was fascinated and loved the philosophy behind this film; I wanted to know more.  The engineers were well designed, with a wonderful mixture of human and alien that worked really well.  I can’t really say much more because there isn’t much more to say – not a lot is learned about these intelligent aliens and I found that utterly disappointing.  This was the major pitfall in the film and, as the film went on, made the story a little bland.

Apparently there are two sequels planned for Prometheus which I think is a huge mistake.  This film could have been amazing; the film event of the year, if only they done the story properly instead of spreading it into a trilogy.  I assume they will explain more about the engineers, the full philosophy and answer all questions during these films.  Is anyone else tired of trilogys?  I am, and no part of this film made me want to watch a sequel...

...Except for the last five seconds of Prometheus.  This was the only part of the film that got my blood running.  I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but it made my night.  Strangely, none of the men I went to the cinema with agreed.  They all thought that part of the ending was awful.  I wondered at first if this was because I’m a girl, maybe my gender has something to do with it in some strange and supernatural way?  So today at work I spoke to another female who has seen the film – a non-geek who stared at me a little blankly when I mentioned the Alien references.  She also disliked the end.  So it’s just me – just me who enjoyed the blatant, dark and tantalising connection to Alien.

This film isn’t The Dark Knight, nor is it Alien, funnily enough, but it is definitely worth watching.  It may not have been an official Alien prequel but it left me desperate to reacquaint myself with Alien and Ripley.


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