Monthly Archives: June 2012

Return for a Prequel

Hello all,

It’s been a long, long hiatus but I’ve decided to drag this blog out of retirement due to overwhelming demand (sort of) for my incisive opinions and poignant critical thought. Okay honestly a friend wanted to know what I thought of a movie…either way here we go!

On the agenda for today, Prometheus! The Ridley Scott helmed pseudo-prequel to one of science fictions most beloved franchises Alien. Shrouded in mystery and viral videos leading up to the opening Prometheus really captured my interest long before knowing anything about it. Make no mistake though, this movie is firmly rooted in the same universe, though it’s perhaps debatable as to whether or not it’s directly connected to Alien specifically.

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The most important thing I can say about this movie is that it is absolutely not a re-hash of Alien. Gone is the grimy claustrophobic atmosphere of the Nostromo, filled with countless dimly lit corridors lined with bundled cords (pretty sure it wasn’t up to code) and instead is the sleek and stylish Prometheus, which acts as much less of a character that shapes the movie than the first film’s iconic towing ship.

The basic plot of the film is in the near future archaeologists discover a link between ancient cave paintings all over the world that lead them to a planetary system out in space somewhere. They theorize that these paintings suggest this is the home of a space travelling civilization that aided or possibly even created humanitiy. A team of scientists depart in search of the home world of these Protheans creator aliens aboard an expeditionary vessel (prometheus). Pretty much at this point I need to stop describing to avoid spoilers but essentially shit gets real.

The movie is slick and well paced, something that was easily my biggest concern given it was a Ridley Scott film. In the past Scott has been responsible for some of the most enjoyable movies I have ever watched however his recent form has been really poor, and I pretty much gave up after the three and a half hour directors cut of American Gangster. Though the runtime on this movie isn’t by any means brisk (126 mins) it never feels like it’s stalling out, it reveals information to the audience at a steady pace keeping the viewer engaged throughout. 

If I was going to talk about an issue I had with it, it would probably be with the script, which was competent but far from stellar. Written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof (Creator of the hit show Lost) the story does a great job of creating a world that causes the viewer to ask a lot of questions, however it doesn’t answer too many of them. That can be a polarizing thing in itself, while some appreciate the mystery, personally I am the type of person that wants to have a good understanding of how things connect to one another. The part of the writing I found most frustrating though was in some of the character writing. There are points where characters act completely irrationally and seemingly out of character for no good reason at all. The chief instance I will refer to only as ‘the curious biologist’ which had me baffled as to why that character would behave as he did. There is also a lot of chaos that gets introduced for seemingly no good reason, and while the story ends with a reasonably well wrapped up resolution, I couldn’t help but feel most of what took place didn’t have any real reason to as far as the audience was concerned.

Ultimately though, I have to say the film was a very good experience. I was impressed by the stellar cast, and floored by the stimulating visuals. I can honestly say it’s one of the best science fiction movies I have seen in recent years, and while the story had it’s flaws I am already anticipating a directors cut blu ray with extended footage and commentary to puzzle out all the intricacies the movie laid out. It is a smart, tense, beautiful movie. Though still early in the summer, of all the blockbusters that have buzz surrounding them, this might be the most intriguing of them all. 

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