01/06/2012

Prometheus

Why has Ridley Scott decided to delve back into the genre he helped influence after 30 years? The cynic in me believes that after going more than a decade without directing a truly great film, he's gone back to the Alien universe because it's a surefire financial hit even if he's running the risk of doing a George Lucas. Shrouded in secrecy and hyped from the very beginning, it seemed like the production of this prequel (which it absolutely is) drew sighs of relief from fans of the iconic franchise that'd been dragged in the dirt by inferior sequels and a ludicrous spin-off series that even Ridders admits he could never quite bring himself to watch.

Remember the bit in Alien when the doomed crew of Nostromo come across a ship and a space jockey with a hole in his chest? Well that's the jumping off point for Prometheus and so far we've been led to believe that we'd finally be told what's up with that weird shaped ship and the poor bastard with his ribcage ripped open, and in short, we do. But as well as all that there's a lot of existential chatter, themes of religion, womanhood, reproduction, family issues and a touch of romance, too. As grand and epic as the film looks (seeing it in IMAX is really the only way to go), it simply smooths over the many cracks created by the muddled plot, weaker-than-you'd-want script and interesting characters that are disappointingly wasted. Speaking of characters, let's get this fucking straight: there is no such thing as a "new Ripley". There will never be a "new Ripley", nobody wants a "new Ripley" and the mere comparison between the old only Ripley and Dr Shaw (Noomi Rapace) is nothing short of blasphemy. Just stop it. 
As we saw in The Millennium Series, Rapace is a fine actress who throws herself into each role and while I can't spot a chink in her character's transformation, I still don't entirely buy it. Ditto Ms Vickers (Charlize Theron being Aliens' Burke without the smarmy bastard gene) who's icy exterior and determination to separate herself from the crew intrigues but never flourishes. Picking off the obvious (funny one, mental one, other girl one) characters is fine, but don't waste the interesting ones, please. Oh, and The Fass totally steals it, but you already knew I'd say that.

The most annoying thing about Prometheus is that although it asks more questions than it answers, isn't that scary and has zero atmosphere whatsoever, it's still utterly watchable and I want to see it again. There was a wry joke floating around Twitter recently saying that Scott was working on a script which focused on the untold story of what happened to Louise (of Thelma and... fame) in Texas that's hinted at but never fully explained. The point being that not everything needs to be delved into and explained over the course of 124 minutes; if you don't have anything interesting to say, don't say anything at all. It's not the worst addition to the franchise by a long shot but after all the hype and anticipation, I thought we'd get a little more than this.