Tag Archives: Alien

Prometheus Shrugged, and you will, too.

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Quick version?  Ridley Scott‘s return to the Alien mythos is a mess.  I can’t think of a bigger disappointment that I’ve had at the cinema in years.

“Prometheus” isn’t a total wash-out but as a companion piece to Scott’s series-opening movie in 1979, it so completely fails to live up that movie’s enduring excellence that its existence can be owed mostly to Fox wanting a sci-fi summer blockbuster and Scott feeling that it was time to dip his toes back into xenomorphic murky waters.

The good parts?  Production design is amazing – the clean sleekness of the “Prometheus” ship is the reverse of the lived-in, grotty, ‘haulage vessel-in-space’ environment’ created by Scott and his craftsmen in the first movie but is no less convincing and eye-catching.  Similarly, the alien structures echo the past but somehow manage to be new and different enough to convince you that you’re not just checking out Giger off-cuts from 1979.

Effects are excellent for the most part – there’s a particular make-up job which I had some reservations about – and the sound mixing is amongst the best that I’ve heard in a theatre since, ooh, “Black Hawk Down“.  Yeah, Scott and his sound team know how to make your ears sit up and pay attention.

The acting’s pretty decent – with a single caveat.  Noomi Rapace‘s heroine, Dr Elizabeth Shaw is an excellent character study to join Sigourney Weaver‘s iconic Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley.  She’s a person of faith thrown into a conundrum which challenges her assumptions and sends her on a ride through a very demanding, quite personal Hell.  Rapace is captivating in every thing that I’ve seen her in, but she’s perhaps the single-best thing about this opening visit to the “Alien” universe.

Similarly, Idris Elba convinces as stoic ship captain Janek, as is Charlize Theron, who plays the traditional role of buttoned-up corporate weasel, Vickers and gets to add colours and tones of underpinning decency and humanity which previous emissaries of the Weyland company haven’t been allowed to show.  Michael Fassbender is also superb as the creepy, box-fresh, Peter O’ Toole channelling android, David.

On the debit side, Logan Marshall-Green didn’t do anything for me – his scientist character doesn’t really register next to Rapace and brought to mind the dreaded Matthew McConaghey during his frequent moments of shirtless pouting.  He may be a very fine actor in different material – but in this, he’s a set of abs with no discernible personality to distinguish himself from A.N. Other young male actor.

The biggest problem with the film is the screenplay – it just doesn’t have a very interesting story until the proverbial last gasp of the film.  The core theme – were we created by a divine being or by extra-terrestrial engineers engaging in inter-stellar DNA experiments? – isn’t dealt with particularly well and the exploratory tone of the first half of the film soon gets jettisoned in favour of the body horror and revulsion at human physical decay which we encounter in a lot of the series.

When the gloop starts to hit the screen my interest waned, particularly as the gore and grue isn’t as inventive or well-realised as it was in “Alien”.  There’s one particular scene – I’ll say the words ‘non-elective surgery’ and leave it at that – which was a trial to sit through.  In some ways, it may become the classic scene of this film but I found it messy and gross, if adhering closely to some of the memorable moments of the “Alien” sequence.

The ending is…okay, actually.  It promises a much more interesting entry in the series than this film delivers.  I’d rather that we skipped this movie entirely and cut-and-pasted the best bits of this film into a pre-credit sequence for that hypothetical sequel.

Oh, Ridley, what are we to say of this film.  If you’re an “Alien” fan, you would be daft to miss it, particularly on the big screen.  If the series means nothing to you, there’s every chance that you might see this film and wonder what all the fan boys have been wittering on about all these years.

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“Prometheus” reviews erupting from critic’s chests. Or something like that.

Yep, that looks a bit familiar…

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw has had his say.  And various French critics – via the shimmering space voodoo of Google Translate – have spoken forth, too.

The initial word on Ridley Scott‘s quasi-return to the “Alien” universe, “Prometheus”,  seems to be distinctly divergent, varying between mixed acceptance, exultant delight and grumpy disillusion.   Which is as it should be, surely?  I find myself never quite trusting films which arrive with uniform critical assent – no film can possibly appeal to all people, so why should we expect to see reviews which follow the same tone and cite identical positive factors and then expect those views to offer us an accurate picture of what we’re going to see?

Can a sci-fi hater treat this film fairly?  Should we listen to the views of paid-up members of the Ridley Scott fan club (I think I’m still entertainments secretary of that happy group)?  Or should we just be happy with the fact that Scott’s back in the SF zone and resolutely doing his own thing?

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New “Prometheus” international trailer is spoileriffic!

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Don’t watch the new international (i.e. British) trailer for Ridley Scott‘sPrometheus“.

If you don’t want things spoiled before it’s June release, if you want to go in cold, if you don’t want certain plot aspects which you might have had a hunch about pretty much confirmed, be sure to avoid the trailer that I’ve linked to above – it’s got so much awesome sauce inside that it could melt your nerdy brain as much as it did for me.

No explicit statements of content but some pretty tangy hints that the sufficiently motivated could draw some conclusions from.

Just so as you know.

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“Prometheus” footage reviewed at Empire Online

"You there, with the long hair - get off my lawn!"

Greatest Living Irishman and newly ordained fave Fluffrick Podcaster Chris Hewitt has seen 12 minutes (and change) of Prometheus footage and was kind enough to gab about it over at the Empire Online blog.

You’ll be stunned to learn that it looks fricking awesome, is definitely deeply redolent of Alien down to planetary names, has scares up the wazoo (possibly literally, Hewitt didn’t let on…) and single-handedly makes a case for 3D being used by talented film-makers who can get the most out of it.

And, most happily of all, director Ridley Scott is still a massive curmudgeon and thinks that the MPAA should get their act together.  Well, the BBFC managed it, after a fashion, so I suppose that anything is possible.

“Prometheus” opens in the UK  on June 1st.  Coincidentally, this blog will probably be receiving few, if any, updates on that day due to  your writer gibbering and clucking like a maniacal chicken as he awaits his IMAX 3D viewing…

Lovely image, isn’t it?

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“Prometheus” – new trailer, new terror, new Idris Elba accent.

I think it’s fair to say that we have a winner.

This week we’ve seen a teaser for the trailer, an IMAX teaser and yesterday we finally got a round of Q & A promo for Ridley Scott’s eagerly anticipated “Prometheus” which culminated in the release of a frankly awesome trailer.

Expertly crafted shocks, classical allusions (the title, friends, may yet reveal all) and an ominous sense that all is really not going to end well pervade in these two and a half minutes.  Of course, the finished film may very well present us with a lot of not very much, but with Scott at the helm it’s difficult to see how this innately promising source material, the legacy of the “Alien” series and the quality of the cast will end up resulting in anything other than a supremely compelling movie.

I’ve grabbed some stuff from the trailer – but I hope you’ll agree that it’s pretty non-spoiler fare (the trailer is a veritable overgrown garden of speculation-inducing imagery, so I’ll advise you to proceed with caution if you really don’t want to know/see anything in advance).

 

“Prometheus” opens in the UK on 1st June, in the US on 8th June and international dates are here.

 

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A Decalogue of Droids…

Yes, I loved "Terminator: Salvation" but I'm getting counselling, so it's cool...

Over at Geek Soul Brother, it’s a list which got me thinking.  What are the TEN MOST EVIL ROBOTS?

Do Cyborgs count?  Is a proper evil robot 100% synthetic?  Can a part-human, part-robot hybrid ever be really, truly evil if there’s the possibility that such a being has human reasoning in addition to artificial programming?

Am I reading too much into this?  Very probably.  But I do love a good list.

Ian Holm as Ash, employing the 'evil robot as mild-mannered janitor' switcheroo.

For my money?  Ash in “Alien” is the most evil, as Ian Holm gives him a predatory quality which neatly undercuts the way in which he’s actually supposed to be looking out for you.  At least with the likes of the Terminators, or the Daleks, you can be pretty sure that if you’re organic and fleshy, the vaguely metallic life-form pursuing you probably means you a good deal of harm and isn’t merely trying to catch up to you so that he can give you an expert back-rub.

These chaps don't want to give you a lovely Shiatsu treatment.

I’m all for agenda-free robots, is what I’m saying.  Make my killer robots easy to recognise, dag-blast it!

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“Prometheus” – the trailer gets a trailer.

The Girl With The Funny Bubble Helmet? Image via AVP Spectrum.

This phenomenon has already besmirched the world of video games – now, movies are getting in on the act of having a teaser trailer for a teaser trailer.

That level of meta calls for gif-based commentary, wouldn’t you say?

Is this real life?

Yes, “Prometheus” hype commenced last night in earnest on Apple’s trailer page, with an initial trailer for a full trailer which arrives properly on Thursday.  I’m biting, obviously, as I’m writing this post and linking to the trailer but you do have to wonder what the thinking is behind treating a teaser (which is, after all, an advertisement) as though it’s a major pop cultural event worthy of an advertising campaign of its own.

Are we still in the van, or are we in the hotel now?  I admit, I’m confused.

 

 

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