Prometheus has landed!

It’s been a couple of “bad” days those last three days with only 3 hours of sleep or so each night and the “spiral of pain and insomnia” tightening its prongs a bit every day, so yesterday I almost ended up going to bed at 5 in the afternoon because I was so tired and exhausted. I held on a bit longer but after the 8 o’clock news just dozed off, only to find myself awake at 3 in the morning again with my chest still hurting like there was a little Alien inside. Which brings me to the point.

The one good thing that came out of all of this is that I parked my decaying body on my bed quite early every day and actually sat down to watch Prometheus on BluRay which for known reasons I missed at the cinema. I was quite enthusiastic based on the trailers and I still consider it one of the better Hollywoodian movies of this year if you count out crap like The Avengers or Battleship, yet it has its flaws. I still have to watch it with Sir Ridley‘s commentary, so some things may not be in line with his views and I also won’t get all worked up on the Alien fanboy discussions, but there are a few things that just didn’t work. Let me summarize them shortly.

  • First, the obvious: The Alien xenomorph at the end is as superfluous as warts on your penis. It’s clear that this only has been added under pressure from studio execs and the public. it makes no sense whatsoever in the larger context of the movie and possibly the expanding story.
  • Similarly to the previous, that octopussy alien makes no sense at all. How did he survive and grow so large? Did he feed on her uterus or the lab’s supply of bandages? Mmhhh…
  • Having Weyland on board as a stoleaway is not particularly serving the story. The make-up just looks completely overdone and unbelievable and his agenda is clear from the start even without actually seeing him. If he wanted, he could have gone into hibernation just as well on Earth and waited for David to return with the results.
  • The supporting characters are hollow. You know right from the start that they are going to die at some point and you just don’t sympathize with them. In fact you’re glad they disappear at some point because in particular Fifield and Millburn are just annoying.
  • Why give Vickers such a build-up only to kill her? Based on the trailers, I really thought she’d have a much bigger part to play in her own bitchy way.

On a more general note, I still have a problem with most of the alien creatures. It always irked me in all of the Alien films. First, it just makes no sense that you would have such a sophisticated artificially created lifeform and then make it dependent on an intermediate host to procreate itself. What are the odds that some compatible lifeform would even pass by when amongst billions of star systems in our galaxy only so many could actually support life? Those eggs could rot there until they crumble to dust.  And even if us lowly humans would manage to reach distant planets, how would such a little bugger tell the difference between my oesophagus and my rectum? For all it knows, I could be breathing through my ass. ;-) That is to say, it’s a logic hole  as big as a volcano crater.

Also all that spontaneous mutating around is illogical. I may be willing to buy that some unsophisticated, physiologically simple worms could be made to turn into something else over the course of 2 or 3 reproductive cycles by using a mutagenic compound, but  it’s difficult to buy that just by touching the black goo you turn into a different species or that those aliens interact with their host’s DNA and produce even further mutated creatures. It’s all a jumble and happening way too quickly, considering that you probably would die long before even beginning to show signs of becoming an alien because your immune system runs rampage or you just get some sort of shock and your system shuts down. That premise mostly ruined the 3rd and 4th film in the franchise because they went trigger-happy on it.  Just because it was born inside a dog wouldn’t necessarily make a creature more dog-like, if you get my meaning. Or think about the water Aliens in Alien: Resurrection….

All that aside, the movie has some interesting underlying concepts, most notably the Engineers themselves having a dark secret that reflects on the old story of being cast from Paradise for trying to play god yourself. I guess we’ll find out more about that in the second movie. The idea of the planet being the equivalent of a nuclear proofing ground also adds a nice touch and its barrenness ties in with the desolate planets in the other movies. Of course it’s all gorgeous to look at. Especially there’s a sense of space and size that most other movies just cannot convey despite huge robots running across the screen. Here the ship really is just a tiny speck in the vastness of space and the planet’s landscape and the feeling of isolation is quite present. The interior design is equally reminiscent of the original Alien movie, just a bit less crammed. The acting is top-notch, though I sometimes had the impression that Noomi Rapace was struggling with speaking English. The language is also a bit stiff here and there and nothing like the loose mouth of Ripley in the original. One aspect that I really enjoyed is the music. Sadly these days every movie seems to get the Hans Zimmer treatment and as a result they all sound the same, so it’s a welcome change to hear some other themes and styles.

In conclusion, there rarely being halfway intelligent Science Fiction movies these days, you could do worse. It’s not the movie everyone expected (or that Ridley Scott may have promised), but nevertheless it’s high above more mediocre outings we have had in recent years. He was right about that this was not going to be an Alien movie and I disagree with the people who say it should have been, yet at the same time the nagging feeling lingers that there is a different, perhaps even better film hidden somewhere in there. So what remains is a new beginning to something that may unfold its full scope and beauty only in the next movie/ next two movies and until then you may occasionally take the disc from your shelf, hoping there will be a resolution to all the things hinted at. In a way it will be like only Aliens actually gave Alien a deeper meaning…

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