Entertaining Peery: Prometheus. (2012) Scott.

June 19, 2012 § 3 Comments

The Space Jockey or “Pilot”

I want to preface this review by stating that there is not many sci-fi franchises I like better than the Alien cycle. Aliens was the first film I ever recorded off TV (my uncle’s house had HBO) with a VCR. The “Alien Trilogy” was the first boxed set of VHS tapes I ever bought. I played all the “Aliens” arcade and home video games and the ones that would spawn the Alien vs. Predator films. I steeped myself in the background. As I write this review, the Aliens Colonial Marines Technical Manual sits on the shelf above me. I even had the privilege and delight to read the game design document that Icarus Studios pitched to 20th Century Fox (I assume, I never was clear on the client) for a three faction MMORPG.

I love Alien, which I saw after Aliens, and how it is profoundly Lovecraftian in its suspenseful build up and how it is three parts horror, one part Sci-Fi. Also, the story of Alien is more or less the retelling of Stoker’s description of Dracula’s journey on board the ship Demeter on his way to London. Alien is a combination of gothic (the ship Nostromo and the refinery it tows even looks like a castle) and Lovecraftian/monster horror. Better yet, it is well done and one can delve into many, many aspects of the film, which I have attempted when presenting academic papers on Sci-Fi monsters and robots to my peers at conferences.

Suffice it to say, I have given more than passing interest to these films. Ridley Scott, a frequent subject of my academic delvings, started his career in science fiction with Alien, and after his next film, Blade Runner, would not revisit the genre until Prometheus, thirty years later. (Ironically, a Blade Runner sequel may follow this film.) I was extremely interested in this film, and what it would add it to the greatest Sci-Fi cycle. It is as if Scott is returning to the old neighborhood home and, honestly, Prometheus is really almost more of a new coat of paint on Alien than a new film.

I’m sure this film made his head explode

SPOILER WARNING (but hey the trailers show everything anyway)

The film takes more than a few pages and ideas from Von Daniken and the more recent “Ancient Aliens” TV show on cable. At the start of the film the audience is treated to a sequence with a robed entity, marooned/sacrificed on a primordial Earth and a large UFO saucer leaving him to, ostensibly, seed the ooze with DNA to create life on Earth. OK, so I wouldn’t have guessed that the Engineers/Pilots (the IP called them “Pilots” first) looked like hair-less, albino, NBA players.

After this reveal we pretty much do not have any of the suspense or horror of the previous films. This story has played out a few times over the course of the series. We know that a crew of humans will go out and a single person(or a few) will come out. We see some variations on the Xenomorph, and some things with tentacles which may be the Lovecraftian nod, if ham-fisted, but the grown up “child” of Elizabeth really looked like a scaled down version of the “alien” from Moore’s graphic novel The Watchmen. Even the latest Predator film, Predators, managed some interesting twists beyond the previous four films where these ultimate hunters appear.  Even, Cameron’s “sequel” to his Aliens, Avatar, managed to be more interesting, and if you squint and notice the “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” even that the film fits into the series better than Prometheus.  If anything, Prometheus muddies the Alien IP and story chronologies further.

The only thing slighty positive I can say about the film is if you never saw any of the others it may stand up to scrutiny better. However, this was not the audience Scott should have been aiming for. He certainly is not taking out the dents and tarnish that have been appearing on his oeuvre. It really sort of makes me dread what he has cooked up for Blade Runner.

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§ 3 Responses to Entertaining Peery: Prometheus. (2012) Scott.

  • I enjoyed the film (I’m not as headfirst into the IP as yourself, I loved alien and aliens, never saw 3 or 4, and hated AVP). With all the hate for it that’s going around the web, it’s refreshing to see a deftly placed argument for the why of disliking it.

    I feel as if most people missed the point of the movie. It wasn’t about the aliens or the xenomorphs (and if that’s what you were after, I can see why you’d be miffed), it was about being created, and then creating again. David’s character calls attention to this several times during the film, most notably when he questions Holloway (pointedly) about meeting his makers. David asks Holloway if he would not want to find out why he was created, adding ‘why did your kind make me?’. Holloway replies ‘I guess because we could.’ Then David replies ‘wouldn’t you be disappointed to hear that answer?’

    The movie for me was like watching an inquisitive but sadistic child (David) slowly pulling the wings off a butterfly (the rest of the crew) just to see what happened. This was unsettling and fascinating at the same time. David’s motivations seem to have been the destruction of his father figure (as is evident when he says ‘don’t all children wish to see their parents dead’ when talking to Shaw). One race is seeking their creators and the other knows its creator intimately and seeks its destruction.

    • catherine constantinou says:

      My finacee and I spent $30.00 dollars on the 3D IMAX tickets and more on a “concession dinner.” I love Ridley Scott and I loved Ripley kick as ways on Alien. I am not so die hard to play the games, or collect the VHS. (I’m more Buffy then anything). I’m just a consumer. One of those summer film fans, who loves the months of June/July and August. Who loves things that go boom and things that make you scream. I love to feel electrified when I leave the theater. Not here. It was as stupid and nonsensical and George Tsoukalos’ Hair. All the attempts to make it make sense are the reasons Prometheus failed as a film. No one, no viewer should have to go through all that to just get it. I’ll catch you guys at Total Recall.

    • Joshua Peery says:

      I got the andriod / meet your maker / what is it to be human subplot…but like i said it has been done before in Alien, Aliens, and Alien:Res. All this did was even the score of Bad Andriods vs. Good 2-2 (David and Ash BAD, Bishop and Call GOOD)

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