Tuesday, June 12, 2012
I've never seen Alien or Aliens. End review.
Luckily, I didn't have to, as Damon Lindelof assures me that Prometheus is not a prequel. But by not seeing any of those installments in the Alien franchise, I didn't walk into the theater with the same kind of expectations that Jeff or Adrienne might have had. But I do know that Jeff's expectations were pretty low going in. I also happen to know of an alternate ending that would've pleased him. In a way, he's correct in saying that there isn't much to gain from this film. Yes, really the only revelation is that humans were engineered by a race of albino supermen.
I can be critical of Lindelof as well; after the whole Lost experience, it's clear he's only interested in asking the big questions, not answering them. Even if that outcome is realistic, it still gets old fairly quickly. I would've like to have gotten more from Prometheus, too, but I never expected to get as much from it as, say, a Charlie Kaufman project. But that's probably because I feel that emotions/relationships are the bigger driving force in our lives, not a God or a Creator.
What I did take away from Prometheus was sufficient enough. I think most of our interests are piqued by medium-to-big-budget sci-fi films. My Twilight Zone roots have established a need for stories about space exploration and finding the answers to life's biggest mysteries. It's one of the main reasons why I was able to connect with Noomi Rapace's character very early on in the film. Taking a moment to commend actors for a second, I really loved what Rapace brought to the film. She was fantastic and I'm happy to see that in a short amount of time, she's gone from playing Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy to leading lady in an American blockbuster.
Equally fantastic is, of course, Michael Fassbender. With a Peter O'Toole/T.E. Lawrence inspired performance, Fassbender's David steals most of the scenes that he's in. Adrienne acknowledged the scene at the pool table with David and Charlie as being the best in the film. It's definitely up there for me, despite Logan Marshall-Green's forced antagonism. But through that antagonism, Charlie and David end up having a powerful and interesting discussion.
As John can attest, I don't believe in God. But when I was younger, I felt differently, having been raised in a Methodist home. I remember a time in my life when I asked the big questions and only wanted answers from God. I have a pretty good feeling I wasn't alone in doing so. For that reason, it's easy to understand the drive in Dr. Elizabeth Shaw. The mission must go on...and on and on.
Slight annoyances in Prometheus are due to the archetypes, but they're not significant enough to hurt the film. It is a little refreshing when Idris Elba (who is also great in this film...and, fyi, an Arsenal fan) calls out Meredith Vickers for being stiff and robotic. Over the years, we've seen millions and millions of tightass characters who are only concerned with the task at hand. And yet, Elba challenges her and breathes some life in a predominantly stale character.
Another Jeff qualm was that Prometheus wasn't scary enough. He'll get no argument here, but obviously we differ on whether that's good or bad. Despite never being christened into the Alien franchise, I'm familiar with the John Hurt stomach scene. I get the sense that if I saw those two flicks, even at the age of 25, they'd make me feel uneasy. Brandon, Adrienne, and Glenn Kenny all do a great job of describing the unsettling ambiance that those films created for them back in the day.
I never thought of Prometheus as a horror film, and I don't necessarily think that anyone should. I mean, I understand the preconceived notions, given Ridley Scott's role and whole "prequel" thing. But this is really thriller territory, and as a thriller, the film works well. The C-section scene was pretty damn disgusting, but it got its moment in the spotlight because it was so engrossing.
The movie has plenty of squeamish moments and still plays with certain fears - like being attacked by unknown creatures, being penetrated orally (as Brandon talked about), and/or finding out that your creator is some asshole who'll rip your head off. This is all to say that I don't necessarily see the film as something tame either.
While I was at work yesterday, Stephen Stills' "Love the One You're With" came on the radio. I think it was a message letting me know that a bunch of aliens want me to come and find them. In the end, the song has a good point about Prometheus, John, Jeff, Adrienne. If you can't be with the films you love, love the ones you're with. Disclaimer: obviously I don't apply that rule to all films; many of them deserve the most vitriolic hate. But Prometheus held my attention, (in spite of those cozy seats), didn't waste a lot of time, and was a fun little experience.