Saturday, November 3, 2012

Prometheus



Where did we come from? Were we created, or just a fluke of the universe? Did we evolve from nothing when a flash of lightning hit some random elements? Or did bald, albino body-builders sacrifice themselves to give us life? We may never know, but Prometheus is going to try to find out.

Hit the link to see where you came from...


PREMISE
It's the end of the 21st century, and some archeologists (or biologists? geneticists? Not sure) find a series of ancient paintings and murals that all have the same star configuration. This leads our heroes to travel out into deep space, hoping that what they find will be the answer to how we were made.

This is how I was made.
Aboard the spaceship Prometheus, a young Magneto whiles away the lonely hours by spying on the dreams of the sleeping crew members, watching Lawrence of Arabia, and being totally bad-ass at basketball/bicycle riding. It turns out he's the token android for our flight, and he's supposedly learned every language so he'll be able to communicate with the "engineers", those massive white beef cakes who gave their DNA to us.
Even robots like to look pretty sometimes.
The crew wakes up, has some witty banter, and blah blah blah. Where's the aliens? Anyway, they find a massive dome-like structure on the planet and set down to investigate. Ancient bodies are found, holograms are turned on and mysterious murals and goo slither around. What is this stuff? What happened to the engineers? Is the black goo the secret of life, or just really good steroids?

MY TAKE
Over the years, there have been a hefty load of movies in the Alien franchise. A few are adored- Alien and Aliens, of course. And then there is the sludge that was used to keep the franchise alive - Alien Resurrection, Aliens vs. Predator, Aliens Vs. Predators 2. Prometheus seems to fit somewhere in between.
Trust me. The one on the right is the worst one.
For instance, it seriously holds some of the atmosphere of those first movies. Scary and dark alien locations. The fossilised remains of massive, elephant-faced beings. A mass of mysterious containers filling the hold of the structure. It is pretty creepy and cool.
Then there are the parts that completely take away from the Alien atmosphere. For one, having an emotionless android briskly walking around the alien temple, not worrying about what he finds, tends to take away from some of the scariness. How can we be scared when young Magneto so coolly turns on holograms and opens doors without even having to try twice.
More than that, though, some of the characters are completely unlikeable. Let's follow the adventures of two crew members. Their names are not important, so we'll refer to them as Zeke and Dale, one a geologist, the other a biologist. When the crew first wakes up, Dale tries to start a conversation with Zeke, who bluntly tells him he doesn't want friends, only the money he was promised. These two are NOT going to get along.
"Leave me alone. Can't a man slurp his porridge in peace?"
Cut to the inside of the alien structure. Zeke sees the mummified remains of a decapitated alien, and he freaks the fuck out, deciding the ship is much safer than here. When he asks if anyone wants to go with him, Dale, our resident biologist, takes about two seconds to consider before he becomes best friends with Zeke and they head back to the ship.
"You wanna head back to my place?"
Act three of our unfortunate idiots: Zeke, the geologist of the crew, expert in rocks, operator of some sophisticated laser-mapping orbs, gets lost in the tunnels. Dale, the biologist with a deep knowledge of animal behaviour and obviously sent to study any alien life they might find, tries to become friends with a space leach with fangs. Let's just say, this sudden romp into stupidity takes you out of the movie quicker than if the aliens in the original movie spoke with a Brooklyn accent.

And it's a shame, too, because so much of this movie is really good. The visuals are amazing, the lighting and music are good, and there are some great actors. Just look at some of the amazingness your eyes will drool over.


I just realised how blue everything is. 
So why the bad decisions to stray so far from the movies we know and love? I can only imagine that Ridley Scott was afraid to commit too strongly to a story that would basically be his "Episode One Prequel". I can't really blame him either, after seeing how well George Lucas did with prequels.
On the whole, though, it's an entertaining movie, with some spectacular scenes. If you pretend it's not related at all to the original Alien movies and don't ask too many questions, you'll be able to enjoy this much more.

FINAL SCORE- Three and a half glasses of alien DNA-laced champagne.

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