Tag Archives: Prometheus

Batman meets his match…

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If you’re going to see “The Dark Knight Rises” this summer, you had best come prepared.

That’s because studio Warner Brothers have confirmed that the running time of Christopher Nolan‘s eagerly anticipated, trilogy capping, final instalment of the Dark Knight saga has a two-hour and 45 minute running time.  If you factor in the blitzkrieg of advertisements, concessions stand blurbs and trailers before the film, my Saturday July 21st 2012 trip to the cinema is going to run to three hours and 20 minutes.  Add on travelling time and Nolan is getting a fairly sizeable chunk of my weekend.

Insert ‘alternative use for large-sized popcorn tub’ gag here, gross humour fans.

I imagine that it will be worth it, but my recent trip to see “Prometheus” at my local multiplex has taught me a valuable lesson regarding my seating comfort during long films.  One of these babies is going to be rather useful:

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Geek-centric cinematic event of the summer or cruel and unusual punishment for us Indoor Kids?  I’m genuinely not sure…

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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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Subterranean Parisian Promethean Blues

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Take one abandoned subway station on the Paris Metro, stir in a pinch of advance promo for an eagerly awaited Ridley Scott blockbuster and marvel at the results…

This kind of shizz never makes it up to my neck of the woods – I’m still steamed that I didn’t get a gigantic Avengers billboard near my work place (Dark Shadows gets one, oh yes, but no love for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes) – and I can only imagine how cool/terrifying it would be to see a big old ancient noggin popping out at you as you make your way home whilst steadily being crushed by commuters on the ol’ Ligne 9.

Added to the excellent viral media campaign that Fox have been running for Prometheus“, some very smart people are probably going to succeed in the previously fraught goal of getting me to give Rupert Murdoch my money.

I mean, this kind of stuff is art, no?

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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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Damon Lindelof talks “Prometheus”

Behind you!

J.J. Abrams‘ homie and uber-nerd writer Damon Lindelof talks “Alien” prequel powerhouse “Prometheus” over at Hero Complex.

 

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Fluffrick’s 2012 Sci-Fi 5 – Movies

I am a regrettably disorganized fellow in many areas of life – when it comes to blogging, however, I am miraculously able to affect some notion of organization, hence this post – the five sci-fi movies that I’m looking forward to most in 2012.

1) “Prometheus”

Ridley Scott. The “Alien” universe.  H.R. Giger. Noomi Rapace. Proper stereoscopic 3D photography. Extensive practical work. Damon Lindelof. Jon Spaights.

Yes, it’s difficult to find much of a downside in this package.  The only negative thing that I can really think of in connection with this sci-fi film is that our expectations may ultimately work against it – can any film live up to months/years of fans discussing and hoping for a film which is created in their collective expectation and can never be fully realised by even the most talented artisans working under both a burden of anticipation and the harsh realities of the film business?

2) “Gravity”

This is a project which has been in the works for a while – Natalie Portman was linked to it at one point – and is ostensibly about astronauts afflicted by an orbital disaster, with Sandra Bullock’s lead character attempting to survive on her own and make it back to Earth.  So far, so normal.

Whilst we shouldn’t cling solely to technical feats and gimmickry to justify interest in a film, the hook here is too irresistible for me – director Alfonso Cuaron is apparently going all out to extend the elegant, virtuoso single-takes of “Children of Men” and use all of the technology at his disposal to make “Gravity” a film told in a single take.

Clearly this isn’t possible – a film on this scale can’t be done in the manner of, say, “Russian Ark” or “Silent House”, as CG is involved – but the artistry on display in “Children of Men” makes me eager to see what Cuaron does with the formal challenge he has by all accounts set himself.  He’s doing out-and-out sci-fi adventure, too, which always has my interest.

3) “The Avengers”

Many fans haven’t liked the way that Marvel have chosen to inter-link their slate of film adaptations and feel that the likes of “Iron Man 2” and “Captain America” have been compromised dramatically by their perceived existence as jigsaw puzzle pieces which will eventually fit together to become Joss Whedon’s feature for the whole team, “The Avengers”.

I am not one of those fans.

As a long-time Whedon fan, this is the most exciting upcoming superhero film for me.  No question about it.  As long as some of his point of view manages to permeate the explosions and demands of the franchise holder, I’m going to be a happy lapin.

4) “Looper”

I like to think that not every film on my radar is a symphony of explosions, spandex and silly eye candy – a moment of cinematic contemplation is most welcome every so often.

Neatly (hopefully) filling that position on my list is the next film from the always interesting Rian Johnson – the time travel and hitman drama, “Looper”.

What could be more speculative fictional than the notion that Joseph Gordon Levitt is going to one day age into Bruce Willis?  Snarkiness aside, it seems difficult at this point for Rian Johnson to make an uninteresting film – his previous work includes high school neo-noir “Brick” and eccentric con man caper “Rachel Weisz Looking Lovely”…sorry, “The Brothers Bloom”.

The hook is a mob hit man recognizing a potential target as his older self – who doesn’t want to know where Johnson’s going with that high-concept premise?

5) “John Carter of Mars”

The reaction to the trailers has been mixed – dodgy special effects, a story which looks too much like recent hit movies, the insanity of reminding us of the Emmerich “Godzilla” by using that P.Diddy/Zeppelin tune on the teaser – but I’m very keen to see what Andrew Stanton delivers in his live action film making debut.

Pulp Sci-Fi, realised with a budget that can do justice to the scale and vistas of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ imagination – that’s what I’m hoping for and the trailers make me cautiously optimistic that we’ll get an old-fashioned, swashbuckling tale which just happens to look a bit like all the sci-fi hits from the last thirty years or so which have so greedily raided the pulp sci-fi back catalogue for barely acknowledged inspiration.

I’m sure you have your own list – feel free to share it with me.

 

 

 

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The Best and Worst SF Movies of 2011.

Sucker, Punched.

My very favourite blog in the world (clue: irony is being employed here), i09.com today breaks down their list of the best and worst SF movies of the year, because it’s the law to make these kinds of lists at the end of the year.

It’s illustrative to me personally that I’ve seen one of their top ten best films – the Marvel adaptation, “Thor”, and have a bunch of the other titles on my DVD rental list: Do I share a taste in films with my enemies?

The year's most underrated movie?

It’s a bummer that they couldn’t find a place on their list for “Source Code“, Duncan Jones’ follow-up to “Moon”, as I felt it did a lot to confirm that Jones could make mainstream, science fiction-inflected adventures as well as occupying the more art house territory of his debut – is “Limitless” really that much better?  “Source Code” had provocative ideas about the notion of the self, our Western responses to terrorism, personal freedom and found time to balance intellectual concerns with pulse-racing action, a romantic sub-plot which didn’t make you want to gnaw off your limbs in annoyance and some great acting work from Jake Gyllenhaal and Vera Farmiga, amongst others.

Tell me if I’m off-beam here, other viewers of this film – it was as good as I remembered it being, wasn’t it?

Meanwhile, in the realm of terrible films, io9’s blogger really didn’t like Zack Snyder’s fetish farrago, “Sucker Punch” and I can see where they’re coming from.  It’s a difficult flick to recommend to anybody as it shoots for the moon and misses primarily because it makes some utterly inexplicable, divisive choices in the process of doing so.

We’ve got a cast of young actresses playing young girls who are essentially imprisoned in a 1950’s reform school/mental home only to find that they’re now victims of what we might call people trafficking.  Yeah, I know – Friday night fun for your multiplex demographic!  In order to escape the very real horror of their surroundings, each girl escapes into a fantasy world which sees them transformed into super-cool, uber-skilled warriors battling all manner of sci-fi/high fantasy bad guys in order to retrieve dream world totems which become real world items which will allow them to escape.

Sounds like trashy fun – but it really isn’t.

The major problem for most thinking viewers of this film will be the way that it spends a lot of time getting leery over these young women, dressing them up in lingerie (not exactly practical for the battlefield, last time that I looked) and then photographing them in a way which makes Michael Bay’s soft-porn “Victoria’s Secret” adverts look like a Jane Campion film.

It’s that old chestnut – when does empowerment become exploitation?  If you answered “When a film director old enough to know better has his cast inexplicably dressed up like anime schoolgirl hookers”, that’s probably the correct answer.

Elsewhere on the list, you’ve got your usual candidates for terri-bad viewing during the year.  “Green Lantern” gets a nod, for mostly eschewing the cosmos-spanning comics lore in favour of a desperately dull, earthbound adventure with supremely dull characters.  “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is cited, mostly for being shrill and still persisting with the idea that Shia LaBeouf is an actual leading man.  For the record, I could do without the human beings in the film (noted exception, the glorious Alan Tudyk) and felt that the action sequences were frequently extraordinary – it’s just a shame that the movie they appeared in was so unlikeable.

I would have to say that “Green Lantern” was my pick for the worst film of the year – as much of a missed opportunity as “Sucker Punch” was, it at least managed to provoke you to object to sections of it and had some bravura action (Baby Doll’s fight against the Giant Robot Samurai, the steampunk WWI Nazi Zombies, the dragon battle) to distract the audience momentarily from it’s profoundly misguided sexual politics.

They're letting anybody be a member of the Green Lantern Corps nowadays...

“Green Lantern” was chuffing terrible.  Sexless, character-free, action-light, played broadly by a cast who seem alternately bored, uncertain as to their role or believe that they’re in a pantomime and that mugging is therefore perfectly acceptable (For shame, Tim Robbins, for shame!).

It’s not entirely the fault of the actors – the script is wretched, the cinematography bathes the on-screen action with a murky green tinge that makes on-screen action hard to see and Martin Campbell shows so little interest in the character that he flashes back to the hero’s father’s death a matter of minutes after we initially saw it, apparently in the belief that the audience has nodded off in the intervening moments.  Of this film – which is apparently getting a sequel – I can say only ‘Ugh!’ by way of summing up.

Let’s hope that 2012 offers a few more things to look forward to – on the evidence of trailers for “Prometheus”, “The Dark Knight Rises”, dark superhero ‘found footage’ tale “Chronicle”, part one of  “The Hobbit” and even Greek Mythology sequel to “Wrath of the Titans”, things are already looking a lot better.

 

 

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