Comments on watching and making films.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


It was, then it wasn't, then it kind of was, then it "shared DNA". There has been a lot of speculation and a lot of back and forth about whether Ridley Scott's new film Prometheus is an Alien prequel. Let's just get this out of the way now - it totally is. There are little sign posts everywhere.

The film follows a crew of scientists on a mission to find the origins of man. What they find, though, is enigmatic, and extremely dangerous. God bless Ridley Scott for not giving everything away, and keeping some kind of mystery to the story of the Alien saga, while still giving us something interesting to watch.

My biggest question, going into all of this, was - Will this film be worth it? The original Alien, and its sequel, Aliens, are classics, to say the least. While Alien 3 had its issues, it's still a worthwhile addition to the cannon. After the vomit inducing Alien: Resurrection, however, I feel like the story was played out. There was nowhere else to go with this. That Prometheus is a prequel gives Scott ground to do a lot of things, but still, do we NEED a prequel?

My answer is no, not really, but I'm glad we got it. Scott shows us a whole new world, one that he could not have created back in the late 70's, and it is pretty amazing. The star map sequence is especially breath taking. Ultimately, though, for all of his vision, the story feels like it's too busy trying to meet an arbitrary set of expectations, as opposed to unfolding naturally, in the way that the original Alien did. No one can deny that Scott's original film is, well... a little slow. It builds tension and dread in increments, and that is part of what makes it so amazing. It is that epic roller coaster climb to the top of the hill, and then down the other side. While Prometheus has its moments, they always feel expected, and that, inevitably, takes some of the fun out of it.

Don't get me wrong, the film was enjoyable, it just felt like they were trying to hit points of audience expectation all of the time, instead of giving us the "WTF just happened and everything goes down hill from there" factor that the original Alien, and to some extent Aliens, did so well.

One note about the 3D - To me, the really wide shots were where the 3D came alive for me, but the rest of the time, it was actually kind of distracting. The biggest problem for me was when someone's helmet display was framing the screen. My eyes had a difficult time scanning the image with so much going on  in the foreground, middle ground, and back ground simultaneously. I would, actually, like to see this in 2D, and see if I enjoy it more visually.

No comments: