The Generation Game
Part 4: Alien v Prometheus
This is Penny in pure young film critic mode. That is not meant as a derogatory comment but this week’s ‘Penny Rant’ will indeed separate out the generations I suspect.. Any way here it is. Hold on to your popcorn container.
If you’ve been following my rants at all, you know there is one film I wanted to watch more than any other, and this was Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. This was because of one of my favourite and perfect films in existence – Alien. This film was supposed to ‘share DNA with the Alien universe’ and it was supposed to make all of my dreams come true.
So what I did, was beg my mother for 8 months to come and see this film with me on the big screen, because I had never seen an Alien movie in a cinema (with massive regrets that I was born in the wrong time period...) and decided that it would be the perfect mother daughter thing to do. A large hotdog, padded seats, Ridley Scott and Alien mayhem is what I wanted – plus the added brilliance of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s, Noomi Rapace, and the walking bag of talent that is Michael Fassbender. It had all of the ingredients in the oven, and I was ready to partake of the cupcakes!
After all of my wait, I was not rewarded with cupcakes. I was rewarded with fruit and nut cake. Whilst perfectly nice, I felt my fruit and nut cake of a film was bland, concocted with a shoddy script and an over indulgence of sugar. The sugar of course stood in for the momentous amount of money Ridley Scott had to play with making this film, with the massive sets and the over indulgent imagination that I came to love. Of course, too much sugar is not good for you.
The film was ok, and I expected much better. Some actors disappeared into the background with no development whatsoever, giving me no reason to care when they died strange gloopy deaths. Some actors overdid it and ended up giving me less presence than someone who knew exactly what they were doing. In other words, no cast member held a candle to Michael Fassbender. His subtle grins and slightly wicked eye movements were genius and just had you on edge the whole time – even knowing that he was an android and obviously had something nasty in mind. I completely loved that he took inspiration from the androids featured in Blade Runner and didn’t watch Alien or Aliens for inspiration to improve on. He was himself, and he was amazing.
A wonderful montage of him doing all sorts of activities whilst looking after the ship and crew in hypersleep was inspired and very much appreciated – but these moments came few and far between. More questions were raised about the history of the Alien and their ‘engineers’ than problems solved. I hated Lost and the stories that dragged out and had no logical or enjoyable conclusion – so guess who wrote it? That dude who wrote Lost.
I wanted sterile corridors and something chasing you that wasn’t quite human. I wanted small access hatches where something was stalking you in the dark and the audience didn’t know what it was. I wanted an expansion on the map scene – where the entire alien area was scanned and documented – then suddenly a blip took form at one end of the structure that the captain reported to be an unknown life form. What in the hell was that? Why didn’t they USE it like a plot device like an Alien radar movement toward a character or a motion tracker from Aliens? Why hint at stuff and not use it? Why?
Sir Ridley seems to have lost his edge, and I miss him dearly. Even the design of the ‘Space Jockey’ was a bit lacklustre. (SPOILER) They turned out to be humanoid, dead eyed, large, bald things that sat inside the cockpit chair and then a spacesuit was put on over the top that resembled H.R.Giger’s original mystery alien design. It was only fair to ask him to reverse engineer the Alien species, but that also lacked the spirit, the ferocity and the edge that I so desperately craved.
(SPOILERS) Some parts though were great. Fassbender’s David discovering the map room, the seemingly dead crew member’s body appearing outside the ship in a ball – only to uncoil and reveal a mutant that wanted to kill, the part in the operation tube was brilliant, fully exposing Rapace to us as the talented little missus she is and the exact replica of the cockpit room in Alien – rising from the floor in all of its splendour.
I think it’ll get better with multiple viewings, but this was like getting Ken for Christmas instead of Action Man. They are the same basic structure – but one doesn’t have awesome armour, a scar and a plastic hunting knife does he?
The sequel that they are conceiving now needs to have these elements, but flushed out to their simple terror filled core. It doesn’t take much to scare someone, but it does take a lot to confuse.
Go and see it though, it is certainly worth the trip. Orange Wednesdays is pretty good for getting cheap tickets, but it’ll still cost you an arm, a leg and probably your soul. So much money to see something on the big screen these days huh?