Saturday, November 10, 2012

Quick Blurb Review: Prometheus

Um, I'm restarting this review because there's no way I can talk about Prometheus and do it justice without giving stuff away, so...SPOILERS!

As I'm writing this review, I'm supposed to be getting ready to go for my second coffee break at work.  Alas, Mother Nature had other plans involving anywhere from 30-50 cm of snow over the course of today.  My in-laws were snowed in, so I didn't have anyone to take care of my boy while we're at work and the highways are just garbage, so I stayed home.  Let's make the most of this, so let's discuss Prometheus.

Pictured above: The view from my living room window.

Prometheus follows the story of an archeologist couple in 2089 as they discover ancient artwork all over the world showing humans worshiping larger humanoids pointing to a particular star formation.  The woman archeologist believes that these larger humanoids, dubbed "Engineers," may have created humanity, so a crew is assembled on the ship Prometheus as they map out the star formation and discover their destination is the formation's moon, LV-223.  As they land and explore a nearby cavern, they find clues that something disastrous happened there and that the answers they seek may carry a heavier price than they are willing to pay.

The fantastic Michael Fassbender as the android David.

Okay, I just wanna make one thing clear before I proceed: I liked Prometheus.  Didn't love it, but I liked it.  The performance by Fassbender is probably the best part of the film and I did enjoy some of the creature effects and "scary" moments of the film, but there were a lot of parts to the film that felt bizarre to me.  Not bizarre in that I didn't understand what was happening, but bizarre in the sense that it felt like two movies that many say shouldn't be in the same room as each other.  Prometheus had the overall look and feel of Ridley Scott's original Alien film (which this movie is a distant prequel to) with the dimly lit corridors, the space suits, the stasis pods, etc but it had the updated special effects, archaeological angle and red-shirts that Paul W.S. Anderson's Alien vs Predator film had.  This is one of the most unusual mixes of film elements I had seen in a while and it was actually a little distracting to me for a minute.  I would go into talking about the cast & performances that I usually do, but the only one that really wowed me here was Fassbender.  It's amazing how well he can squeeze into roles and even if he turns out to be Peter Weyland's (Guy Pearce) monotone, back-stabbing saboteur of a puppet, we still love him.  The rest of the cast were not terribly memorable to me, whether it's just in comparison to Fassbender or in general is up to debate, and I felt that their characters were not fully developed enough for me to feel for them when they started getting killed.  It was just like they were there to give exposition, sleep with each other and throw themselves into the body count without our concern...not exactly the best thing to do if you're trying to do a character driven story.

Here's the short version of Charlize Theron & Idris Elba's coversation prior to their hookup:
Elba: Hey, are you a robot?
Theron: OH DO ME!!!!
Congrats on that working, though.

Okay, now here's where we get to the spoilers of the film.  I mentioned that this film is a prequel set in the Alien universe.  It turns out that the Engineers DID create humanity and they've also created this primordial ooze that they intended as biological weapons of mass destruction to use on us, as the ooze can mutate humans if they ingest it into zombie-esque creatures (why zombies and not the original design?) and the usual creatures the ooze creates bleed acid and breed by implanting embryos into other hosts (hint hint).  The Engineers also turn out to be the Space Jockeys, as the caverns the humans are exploring turns out to be one of the Jockeys' ships and you see one of them in the full helmet sitting in the gun, just like the one found in Alien.

Oh, and this guy shows up at the end, too.

For anyone wondering, Prometheus doesn't take place on the same planet as Alien and Idris Elba's character figures that LV-223 was a military or research outpost where the Jockeys experimented with this ooze and got the better of them.  So this coupled with the fact that there are two survivors at the end of this film leaves it open for a sequel that will hopefully answer some questions left by the film and, according to Ridley Scott, will bridge Prometheus closer to Alien.  Honestly, I think that's where half the fun of Prometheus lies: discussing the questions the film leaves.

Such as, "U mad, bro?"

I could go on about said questions, but I think I've chipped at this review long enough.  I don't think you necessarily need to see Alien before watching this one, although it doesn't hurt.  Ordinarily a film that leaves more questions than answers would be frustrating, but I'm making an exception here.  If you're looking for a movie to sit down and discuss with your sci-fi geek friends, Prometheus is for you.  If you're looking for sci-fi horror on the same level as Alien, you won't find it here, but should be able to still salvage some enjoyment from the movie.

-The Cynic

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