Friday, March 23, 2012

Question for the week of Mar 19-25: Prometheus

What was Ridley Scott thinking when he came up with Prometheus? He can't need the money, and this story doesn't sound... It's...
Perhaps I should rewind a little. I only saw the trailer yesterday; I figured I would either see Prometheus no matter what (eagerly with or dragged along by a friend), or I would skip it, also no matter what. Finally, I chose to watch the whole ad regardless. Please do the same yourself.

Now, this movie looks great, visually. Unfortunately, it also looks like an unnecessary rehash of the first Alien. I like the retro vibe - the dated, "truckers in space" clothing like the first pic and whatnot. But the "one black crewman, female crew walking around in tighty-whities for women, a robot..." - it's too familiar.

And although the plot synopsis suggests some nifty possibilities, the story is too damn familiar anyway. Honestly, the terrifying thing about a creature like the Alien is that it exists (in the movies) and that it's endlessly dangerous. It doesn't really matter where they come from, much less why.

Or maybe, to put it more precisely - it doesn't matter enough to require giving us an explanation into that strange craft full of alien pods. Would I want to see a 30 minute short film about the random day in the Star Wars universe when someone built the Millenium Falcon? Nope! I just appreciate the ship when it's there. Seriously, doing a story for the sake of narrative clarity is a pretty stupid motivation.
Even worse, the ideas aren't great or original. If anything, this story should not involve humans (as in "human-looking people from Earth") or the planet Earth at all. It should be a purely alien (yes, I wrote that) affair. When you see that giant vessel in Scott's first movie, you get the feeling that what's on-screen is totally beyond humanity - beyond any human understanding, reach, or power to control.

No wait, I guess real-life humans wouldn't be interested in any kind of story unless it involves Americans from Earth, so to hell with that - Humans found that $!*##y vessel ages ago! Yup, in the galactic scheme of things, in this vast cosmos, it's all really about a bunch of people who are mostly white and mostly from the US. They're lone human idiot roadkill in space. Plus a robot.

I'd also like to tackle another specific problem: the first Alien Versus Predator movie (oh god no) had a similar idea about ancient cultures leaving stuff on Earth, all involving those pesky Aliens. I can't imagine why Ridley Scott would think to resurrect this idea. The second I saw people walking around ancient ruins, I groaned and laughed at the same time. Which is very hard to do, actually.

Ultimately, that may be the whole problem with Prometheus - and any new Alien-based movies. Since 1979, we've had 6 movies involving these awesome film villains. The result: two exceptionally good pictures. This whole franchise is burnt out and DOA, and the only way to fix it (in my opinion) is to take it in a new direction altogether, not ''same direction, in a different way.''

Have a great weekend, everybody!

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