(No spoilers until after the dashed line below) I went to the midnight showing of this film and do not regret going. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It definitely made me think a lot about all the big questions it raises and want to discuss them with my brother and it did feel really good to notice and appreciate the little homages to “Alien”, BUT, its still not the ‘dream film’ that everyone anticipated so much.
Prometheus (2012) -dir. Ridley Scott
I think that, although Scott insisted that this isn’t a prequel to ‘Alien’, I (and mostly everyone who are fans of ‘Alien’) were still really excited about revisiting that iconic film and hoping to get some answers about the mysteries from it. While the film does borrow a lot of ‘Alien’ elements and makes you wonder ‘how is this not a prequel?’, it leaves the gaping hole-of-the-unknown-info-&-answers-of-the-story wider than before I saw ‘Prometheus’. I am left with many more questions and am now confused and feel like either I missed several important parts of the plot (I didn’t) or the film just didn’t answer much and, instead, threw out a bunch of unexplained, random twists. But, I don’t want to reduce it to an homage of ‘Alien’. It is certainly worth watching in theaters (its big and exciting and has plenty of cool sci-fi effects): I loved the setting artwork and the props and costumes, the visuals both stunned me and made me squirm in my seat in horror.
Michael Fassbender (above) plays one of the best and most interesting characters: an android, David, with his own agenda for the ship and crew, who bleaches his hair while watching his favorites scenes in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. His acting is impeccable: David’s robotic qualities are subtle but certainly noticeable in the details of his movements and how he reacts with the crew. If you haven’t yet seen the ‘viral clip’ of him on youtube, you should. I posted it in an earlier blogpost. (BTW: THE VIRAL CLIPS ARE NOT SPOILERS, THEY ARE NOT IN THE FILMS, THEY ARE MERELY PREFACES TO THE PLOT)
I still recommend seeing this in theaters. It was really fun, and you should DEFINITELY go see it for yourself, especially if you are an ‘Alien’ fan…although I don’t know if it would be better to have not seen ‘Alien’ already, so that you don’t those extra expectations with you when you see ‘Prometheus’.
(juicy details below, be warned!)
SO. This film should have either been like 2 hours longer (totally unrealistic) or there should have been some better way of incorporating actual hints at answers to the mysteries of the plot and explaining WTH was going on without introducing random twists in the story.
For example, why did Weyland have to be there at the end only to be killed (I totally called it from the beginning) by whom he deems his ‘maker’ without getting any ‘answer’ whatsoever to his many vague questions?! It was like a sick joke! and totally an excess element in the plot! Also, isn’t it strange that no one seems to care about Shaw’s 1-minute abortion procedure and her alien spawn?!?! They literally stay calm and carry on as if it wasn’t a big deal, even though David had tried to quarantine her just minutes before AND had been the one responsible for the alien reproduction! His actions are simply shrugged off. No explanation as to his motives or plan, or if there was any, he had forgotten all about it once Weyland makes his presence known. Maybe if there hadn’t been that random plot-twist of Weyland’s surprise entrance, there could have been more time dedicated to showing us the secret substance that David discovers as he quickly takes apart his personal alien souvenir.
(I will say that I loved how Noomi Rapace (playing Dr. Shaw in the above picture) is in underwear in this sequence of scenes, just like how Sigourney Weaver is in ‘Alien’…many similar nods to ‘Alien’, like the obvious inside of the alien spaceship, alien-human reproduction, face-raping-alien (as in ‘Alien’, the mutant aliens here are still very disturbingly sexualized), and the very last scene of the birth of THE alien.)
Among all of my frustrations, the biggest disappointment for me was how none of the alien-human connections are explained. Other than that they have a DNA match, and that the human-looking-aliens somehow created humans. The first scene doesn’t really say much. The black substance is suggested to be some kind of life-giving/destroying thing, but how did the white alien-man get it or create it and did he sacrifice himself to give life or was the substance an accidental outbreak??? Is the film intended to confuse? Because I can think of so many possible answers, but isn’t it the film’s job to offer at least a bit of satisfying or surprising conclusion? Too much is hinted at and pulled out of the blue.
Maybe it would have been better if ‘Prometheus’ didn’t pay homage to ‘Alien’ and had just started off with a new story and new setting…?
I will admit, however, that I do like to be stirred to discussion and analysis after a film and this definitely did it for me, albeit it was probably because I was left hanging with so many questions (so, maybe a good thing after all?). Since the white man-alien’s motives were never explained for killing the people and being in such a rush to go to Earth (probably to destroy) and since David proposes that the alien’s motives are ‘irrelevant’ and cannot be understood by Shaw, is the main fear here that of fear of unexplained/non-understandable violence or hatred? A fear of not being able to know? The whole film tackles the question of purpose and existence, but as that becomes ‘irrelevant’ as the film nears its end, it becomes evident that the basic horror is in what the humans cannot understand or fathom, that there might not BE a purpose/reason for their existence. This is what David tries to get at, but Shaw refuses to let that stop her in her quest to ‘know’. Neither side is convincing, and neither character is cast in a more favored light than the other; with Shaw and Holloway, a balance seems to be reached between Shaw’s faith and ‘choice of belief’ and Holloway’/the crew’s ‘rational’ and strictly-scientific thinking. Interestingly, the ‘mixing’ of the 2 characters produces a monster-fetus that, after feeding off the body of the original alien, becomes a NEW type of alien (the one in ‘Alien’). This monster created out of a symbolic hybrid of ‘faith’ and ‘science’ (lol) is the parasitic devastation for the original alien race and will become the threat to the existence of mankind (in ‘Alien’). I wonder if this new, mutant ALIEN is somehow connected to the Greek-mythological Prometheus’ punishment (see info here).
In any case, there is a LOT to talk about in this film. Its a great film to watch, I just had frustrations with the plot and the hastiness that makes it so confusing, at times. I still absolutely love Ridley Scott and am excited to see what “FOOTAGE” will be coming out on October 10th this year (announced at the end of the film).