Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Prometheus turns a corner

A stunning alien landscape and a rich, full cast of characters gets audiences fired up over the latest installment to Ridley Scott's iconic sci-fi franchise. 


ARTH VADER (AV): Well, the long-awaited prequel to one of Science fiction's pillars arrived this summer to incredible hype and fanfare. This was a weird one for me, Pontificator. Scott claimed shortly before the film's release that this was not a prequel so much as it was an 'alternate beginning' meant to re-set the franchise and take the story arc in a new direction. Personally, I loved–not just liked–this movie, the re-booted origin kind of leaves me with a huge "WTF" hovering over my head. So what, the first four films were a dream sequence? "Oh, just kidding, here's the real story...", I don't know Ponty, I have a hard time with a direction change like this. The movie was great, the motivations? Not so clear, and not sounding too good.  
THE PONTIFICATOR (TP): There is, as you read this, extensive conversation about this movie... and continuity is on the menu. The movie does well to link itself back to the very first Alien movie by exploring who the Engineers are (as seen in the first film) and emulating the undertone of mistrust and suspicion of androids by recreating that same dynamic in David that was previously seen in Ash. In doing so, it creates many more questions than it answers... opening the door to further broaden the continuity of the “Alien” universe. If this was intended as a re-boot Vader... then the majority of the audience missed the boat on this... and just adds to the already murky conversations happening. 


AV: High marks, here, Ponty. Loved the casting. Wasn't entirely sure why Guy Pearce was done up as the aging and decrepit Weyland. The story promised lots and delivered in parts, but... I just didn't get it. Girl with the Dragon Tatoo's Noomi Rapace was an ideal heroine as Dr. Shaw. Strong, earthly beauty with a solid set of convictions that drive her every compassion and effort. I'm a huge Idris Alba fan, so the role of Captain Janek was well-played. Charlize Theron's role added a second, compelling female character to the mix and my far and away favorite character was Michael Fasbender's David. His insidious curiosity and mysterious agenda made him a fantastic and compelling persona.

TP: I was very pleased with the chosen cast of this film as well Vader... and thought everyone did a fine job of giving their characters life. Noomi Rapace was excellent and convincing as the altruistic scientist looking for answers. Idris Elba continues to be a capable actor and although his role isn’t large, he sells the part. Charlize Theron fills the role of “strong female” we’ve come to expect in any “Alien” related movie... although Noomi smoothes the edges of that mold. Without question though, the show stealer is Michael Fassbender. As the android David he is eerie, mysterious, sinister, and heroic... all at once. It’s ironic that his role as an artificial person conveys more through his excellent acting... than any of the other human characters. 


Not so great on this front, P-man. While certainly wrought with great looking landscapes and effects shots, this movie did NOT bring anything new to the table in the special effects arena. Unlike it's predecessors, this movie did not expand on the Alien war chest. Don't get me wrong, the effects shots of the Prometheus (the Ship) itself were stunning and what little of H.R. Gieger's original designs and Moebeus' interiors that were used, even in influence, were terrific. But unlike the other films, it was NOT a dark and prominent part of the film's landscape. Thoughts, Ponty? 

TP: I thought the special effects were great Vader, although I agree that no new ground was broken. I didn’t see the need for 3D as it was never used as well as other movies have used it. I say that in specific reference to the “jump out at you” factor...which never took hold. The landscapes and creature effects (undoubtedly a combination of live prop ad CGI) were very well done. I loved the holographic log effect that was used to fill in the backstory in certain parts where answers we needed. At this point...any film dropping the ball in this category shouldn’t even be on the big screen. 


AV: On the surface, this movie is a success. Great effects, decent writing and (loosely) based on one of Sci-Fi's all-time horror classics, Prometheus did tow the line. It even offered a great sense of expanded understanding into the world of Weyland Industries and late 21st century Earth. But this movie does have some flaws. How was Dr. Shaw able to do so much athletically–and survive–after having and alien ripped out of her and it's alien fluids filling her open wound, and then running, jumping and fighting her way throughout the rest of the film? Why were the Aliens so different? Why did one of the explorers come back from the dead as super-space zombies with bug-like characteristics? Why did Weyland have to deceive the others when he was the one that funded the expedition? Too many questions to my liking, here. Too many unnecessary loose ends or things left to interpretation.

TP: This section cannot be more aptly titled for any other film. All this movie does is force you to take a deeper look at it from every angle imaginable. Just Google “Prometheus discussion” and you will be inundated with a plethora of sites having incredible discussions about all facets of this film. This entire post can easily be about all the questions this film raises...but for brevity, I’ll just discuss some of the inconsistencies with human common sense. Common sense says always keep your helmet on in an alien environment since microscopic contamination doesn’t register on scanners. Common sense says you don’t play with alien lifeforms that behave like the cobra of Earth. Common sense says you send the android in... ALONE, in all situations that are potentially dangerous to make certain it’s safe before exposing yourself. Common sense says that when you kill a hostile alien life make certain it’s dead before moving on. Other than that and the points you raised Vader... there are much deeper questions that will be discussed for a long time.

AV: At the end of the day, movie-making is a business and the number one edict of business is to turn a profit. Which is EXACTLY what Prometheus will do. As of the writing of this post, the movie has performed exceedingly well at the box office. As for Sequels? Scott has hinted at additional films starring Dr. Shaw (at least two) and a re-imagining of the Alien universe. Maybe some of my questions will be supplied with answers in future films. The story is still rich and full of possibilities. I am optimistic, if not still a little baffled.

TP: They have to make a sequel. I need to know some things...and leaving me with more questions than answers just isn’t cool. There are many loose ends to tie up and many more dots to connect...screaming out the need to make a sequel to this film.

ARTH VADER Rates Prometheus: A great looking movie, with a loaded cast and some interesting insights into the nature of mankind's creation, Prometheus offers a fun and interesting ride, if not leaving us with more than few nagging questions. While I do miss the dark and sinister Xenomorphs from the first films, Prometheus earns a solid 7 busted blocks from this happy but strangely perplexed fan. Here's to more face huggers in the future! 

THE PONTIFICATOR Rates Prometheus: This is truly a hardcore science-fiction film that plays havoc with the inquisitive mind. I doubt there has been any other movie in recent history that has generated so many discussions about what was truly happening before our eyes. I enjoyed this film... and I am thoroughly enjoying all the discussions that follow... as this film bursts 8 blocks from within, now busted and slimy.

Prometheus: 7.5/10 Busted Blocks

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment