Aliens, aliens, aliens. I realize that I am all about the extra-terrestrial these days BUT this is important. Prometheus needs a Popcornography review -partly because I love aliens but mostly because it is just damn fantastic. Way back in 1979, Ridley Scott reinvented the science-fiction genre while concurrently introducing the world’s most terrifying homicidal species ever to grace the silver screen. See Popcornography’s: In space, no one can hear you scream. Prometheus is a most enjoyable experience and should not be missed, although, admittedly it’s not quite ALIEN.
As much as I love the origins of the Alien franchise, the first film left much unanswered. I am, of course, referring to the bizarre beings adorning elephantine masks that the Nostromo crew encounter on their unfortunate expedition. These being are referred to as “Space jockeys” and are found, by the exploring crew, to have enigmatic holes in their chests. They are encountered within a mysterious crash landed vehicle on a seemingly uninhabited planet and their origin/background is never explained. After this discovery… people die, and as a result, little time is left for question answering. Fast forward 30 years and ENTER Ridley Scott’s Prometheus which is the prequel to the Alien. Prometheus hopes to explain what happened prior to Sigourney’s crew being slaughtered. Scott decided to revisit the franchise to tell a grandiose tale that promised to answer lingering questions surrounding the Alien mythology but ended up raising more. Prometheus does offer interesting insight, and is successful in many regards but viewers may leave feeling confused and unsatisfied. Dangling carrots are we Ridley? I’m not a donkey.
The prologue is superb and immediately plays towards the new found philosophical ambitions of the franchise. Soon after, we are placed in the year 2089 in the Isle of Skye and are introduced to scientists; Elizabeth Shaw (Naomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) who have discovered ancient cave paintings that apparently depict the beginning of humanity. These not particularly complex cave drawings are amazingly interpreted as an invitation to meet the “engineers” of mankind. Consequently, 17 crew members (aboard the ship Prometheus) set out to the planet as depicted in the previously mentioned rock art. Amongst the crew members are Shaw and Holloway and the synthetic human, David (Michael Fassbender). The entire team is lead by the cold and collected Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron).
The rest of the team consists of highly generic and stereotypical military folk including a grumpy geologist as well as trigger happy, wise-cracking security experts. The crew is disappointing. As opposed to the original, the audience is never offered deep enough insight into the crew members’ characters. Who are they? What do they want? Where are their snivelling children? We don’t know. On the original Nostromo, you are exposed to the mundane existence of the crew and the lengthy period of space travel. You learn of their goals, ideals, etc. and are able to relate and connect to the characters more effectively. In Prometheus, you are never given any time to understand them and what results is a multitude of broad and uninteresting caricatures. To be frank, these one dimensional characters really pissed me off. The crew pretty much follow in the footsteps of the Nostromo crew. They explore, they encounter unusual alien artefacts and, shortly afterwards, awful and gruesome things occur.
The entire feel of the movie is very different to the origins of the series. It does not feel heavily orientated towards horror (like Alien) or all-out action (like Aliens) but rather something more cerebral. There are obviously horrific alien scenes, that reference the intense body horror portrayed by the original, but Scott seems concerned with an intellectual approach i.e. clumsily dealing with the themes of faith and religion. With that said there were many moments that I struggled to watch. Specifically, there is an INTENSELY disturbing scene regarding an abdominal foreign body and a futuristic operating table (med-pod). What is this foreign body you may wonder? It’s a bouncing baby Xenomorph! You will be convulsing in your chair due to an awful mixture of disgust and horror. It’s hectic. The alien designs themselves, although terrifying, are not nearly as interesting or memorable as Giger’s design from the original Alien.
What Prometheus does in terms of visuals is absolutely astounding. Obviously, this film surpasses any other Alien entries exponentially in this regard. The alien vistas of LV-226 are stunning, to say the least. While the crew explore the planet in search of life, one cannot help but feel intrigued by the environments. The stunning visuals significantly add to the experience of the crew and, like them, you crave to learn more and to continue exploring the foreign, yet perilous landscape.
Sexy Screenshot Number 1:
Sexy Screenshot Number 2:
Sexy Screenshot Number 3:
The three main characters, however, are what really bring the world to life. Fassbender, Theron and Rapace all do a terrific job. Charlize IS SO HOT RIGHT NOW as I have mentioned numerous times. The cold, bitter and tricky Vickers is note-perfect. Her intentions and allegiances are never clear from the start which results in a very intriguing character. It is most entertaining, however, to watch her cold exterior crack as the situation becomes increasingly dire. Charlize loses her cool and it is just marvellous.
Charlize calm and collected:
Charlize not so calm and collected:
Rapace is never calm and collected:
Alternatively, Rapace really involves the audience with her very distressing situation. If you thought Sigourney was a survivor, think again. Rapace puts old Sigourney to shame.
You really can’t help feeling sorry for her as she stands post-surgery dripping in blood:
But as is the case these days, Fassbender’s performance as an artificial and synthetic human is truly remarkable. He provides the audience with comic relief; as well as moments that are sometimes endearing, sometimes dark and sinister. His lack of empathy and emotion as well as his ambiguous intentions are truly shocking. What would you expect from Fassbender? He is the hottest new thing in Hollywood after all. According to George Clooney (and his full frontal performance in Shame) he is HUGE in more ways than one. At the 2012 Golden Globes, Clooney went as far to say that Fassbender could play golf with his hands behind his back. It’s comments like these that separate the Golden Globes from the Academy Awards. ANYWAY, the point is that Fassbender is sensational and his performance in Prometheus, I feel, is highly underrated.
Fassbender was pleased with Clooney’s comment:
To conclude, Prometheus is elevated above the average sci-fi because the scope and effects are awe-inspiring. However, the predominant reason that it manages to reach such a high calibre is merely because Fassbender performs so well. Prometheus does not manage to reach the incredible sense of tension portrayed by the original Alien or the all out assault of the sequel Aliens. The climax is open-ended and hints at further instalments and although I enjoyed the experience whole-heartedly, I was a little dissatisfied with the few answers that Scott gave the audience. If you are having trouble deciding whether Prometheus is worth your time, there are three reasons that should drive you to cinemas. Ahem.
Number 1: CHARLIZE IS SO HOT RIGHT NOW
Number 2: It’s a scrumptious feast for the eyes
Number 3: Trust me – you don’t want to miss out on that med-pod scene. It stays with you forever and could perhaps be the most terrifying thing I have seen in most recent memory.
The Dreaded Med-Pod:
For more on Prometheus, check out the latest trailer. So hectic. Love it.