Saturday, June 9, 2012

Prometheus


  I guess I felt a little funky about the movie because given it was Ridley Scott's return to the Alien franchise, I expected something bone-chilling and haunting like the original.  Instead I got something profound. Profound in a scary way as only a Scott Alien movie could be like.

  First of all, its not a horror movie like Alien or a fast paced actioner like Aliens, its far more focused on a much larger picture. Which is too broad to be confined to either genre. So instead its purely sci-fi.  Whereas the first movie's bigger picture was the questions behind it. The horror of the unknown. And the second movie's scares were much more in the craft of the way it was paced, structured, and unleashed on us;  Prometheus gets under your skin in a much different manner.  Its the reflection on the questions it raises about mankind's origins.

  Theres a scene in the movie where the android, David, played brilliantly in an amazingly nuanced performance by Michael Fassbender asks one of the scientists on the ship why he wanted to ask his creators why they made them (humans in general). And their exchange is brilliant. David retorts by asking "Why did you make me?"
And the scientist said "Because we could." and even if David hadn't further illustrated the rather obvious point of his retort, it still would've been haunting. Its these moments in which Prometheus excels greatly.
 
  Theres also enough gore and blood and creepy creatures to go around but if you go in expecting to be scared or get an action rush, you'll be dissapointed. And this amazing movie deserves more than that.

First off, on a technical and visual level, its jaw dropping. The planet, the space scenes, the way the camera takes it all in, is brilliant. And beautiful. Its eye popping. The designs of everything from the creatures to the "space jockeys" to the ship itself and the uniforms the crew wear, its all amazingly detailed, carefully constructed, vibrantly and fully realized; its a real treat to see it all.

  Theres also absolutely no doubt about the fact that this IS an Alien prequel. But instead of one that tells the story of characters we already know, or how they got there, this one in a rather vague way, is about how the monster we all know and love to hate, came to be. Its distant origins. Lots of things about the alien in general are answered. And at the same time... we have a whole new set of creepy and haunting questions that will no doubt keep the franchise afloat until someone has another idea on how to continue from here.

  I do have minor gripes about the movie. But this is because I went into it, wanting, and expecting something truly scary. And while it does have great horror scenes and action scenes, you have to appreciate its base sci-fi aspect first and foremost. Because it doesn't explode and take off like all the other Alien films do in their climax. This one is most different. And for fans expecting just that, it may be offputting.  The film is also oddly paced and structured, and this was expounded in my head, again, because I was expecting horror.

The pacing and structure would be insufficient in a horror movie. It couldn't keep the tension building to a stomach wrenching degree. But... this isn't horror. Remember that, and you'll be okay.

  I love how it doesn't answer the big broad questions.

Instead spends its time refining and reflecting on them, and merely teasing an answer.
Like a brilliant villain who always escapse at the end you might actually feel cheated if he was caught.
I hate movies that try to explain ALL of human existence because it always feels underwhelming cheap and contrived.  This one instead pointed out, we may not want to know the answer at all.
It could be scary. Dangerous even.


I love that.

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