In my recent attempts to watch all the films ever, I delved into the world of Ridley Scott’s creation in the films Alien and Prometheus. One I had seen but remembered little-to-nothing about (Alien) and one I hadn’t seen due to my lacking memory of the former leading me to believe I would just be annoyed by the in-jokes of the latter (Prometheus). I had seen Alien when I was a teen, too scared by the jumping and screaming to really get into it, truth be told. So, in an effort to give one of the most talked about sci-fi/horror films a (fair) shot (and placate the man who wishes to marry Alien, aka my boyfriend), it was watched again.
Now, why is this relevant (I hear you ask, all two of you reading this)? It’s relevant because while these two films are made in the same universe as one another, there are two different worlds being shown. When Prometheus came out, I was (frankly) annoyed by all the people posting on facebook about how it “wasn’t as good” as Alien. That argument agitates me for two reasons:
one) Who said anything about Alien? Well done, you spotted that Prometheus isn’t Alien. It makes me wonder if the people saying things like that were confused for half the film because Ian Holm looked a lot more like Michael Fassbender than they remembered. If I wanted to know what you thought of Alien, I wouldn’t have asked “How was Prometheus?”
two) It’s not helpful. You know what else isn’t as good as Alien? Getting kicked in the face, which is what is going to happen to the next person who gives me that review of the film Prometheus. Just sayin’.
Now, I am going to avoid the trap of talking about Alien any further, even though I’d love to talk about it, because I don’t want to be one of those dicks who go on about one film when you want to talk about another one. We’re here for Prometheus, and for Prometheus we will be.
To get it out of the way, I actually really liked it. I liked the style, I liked the plot, and I even liked Charlize Theron, which is saying a lot since I usually hate her. Her “upset” emoting is like the human equivalent of a plate wobbling to a stop after being spun–annoying and never ends at the right time. Luckily, she plays a cold bitch who doesn’t do much emoting, so all was well.
I am going to be honest here. The reason I wanted to watch Prometheus (and surely the reason a good deal of people wanted to watch Prometheus) was to get a chance to watch this handsome bastard in action:
Michael Fassbender was amazing in this, and not just because I “fancy” him (there is jealousy in the room just having him on the screen right now). He was the perfect android-becoming-a-real-boy. From the formative years of his film-watching and hair-dying (what was that about?) to his rebellious days of killing the guy who was a jerk to him (as we all do at some point), we watch David go through the stages of development without the key element pointed out by his “father” and creator, Peter Weyland; a soul. While he goes from duty-bot to sassy-bot (saying “I didn’t know you had it in you” to a woman who just had an alien life form inside her–get it?), he shows understanding of key moments through quotes from Lawrence of Arabia and thoughtful glances. He came off as fake and real at the same time, and had the ability to not piss me off when he knew everything because he should–it was his task while everyone else on the ship slept for the trip. He went from open-eyed awe to angst-y know-it-all to regretful adult in the span of one film, and it was awesome to watch.
The story was good. Religious idiots seeking answers get funding, go in search of maker, find out maker wanted to unmake them–with aliens. It wasn’t much to work out, frankly, which is a good thing when a film is full of body horror, sci-fi technology, and Guy Pearce in old man makeup. There was some hidden agenda action, some surprises (foreign bodies in the abdomen, ick), and some strange motivations (Fassbot getting rid of his competition for Noomi in particular) but over all, I wasn’t forced to watch closely while creatures were sucking off guy’s faces. There were some things I could see coming–Guy Pearce wouldn’t be made to look old for only a two second cameo, and also wouldn’t be in the opening credits for that, for instance–and there were some things I didn’t see coming–the buddy film set up for Noomi and Fassbot is fantastic–but over all, I thought it was explained well enough to not leave me annoyed or thinking “…well now what?” It ended, it was done.
The visuals were stunning. It was clean, it was light enough for me to see things, and the engineers (should I capitalize that?) were awesome looking. I was delighted when the crew with questions woke up the last one to only have him go on a rampage, pissed off that he was woke up by what he considered rodents. I would also go mad if I was woken up by household pests (if my reaction to getting roused out of slumber by my boyfriend tells me anything, it would be a bloodbath). I loved the map that Fassbot wondered at, I loved Charlize’s rooms in the ship, and I loved that the buttons the engineers used were sqidgy and weird since why should buttons look the same across the universe?
I liked how people acted like they ought to have acted, meaning the geologists were only interested in rocks and the zealots were only interested in being batshit insane and doing stupid things in the name of answers. The boss-lady was only interested in her ship (and its captain, ow ow, Idris Elba), Weyland was only interested in not dying, and the engineer was only interested in smashing shit a la the Hulk. None of this silly “adapting to the situation and becoming stronger” nonsense, it was all “go forth and do as you do, and see how that goes for you” nonsense. Even after having been wickedly menaced, the religious chick still was looking for answers from her makers–none of this “I’m a survivor” stuff, just keep on trucking on in the direction that got everyone else you knew killed! Good. Good.
It was entertainment. Harmless, bloody, alien-riddled entertainment. Prometheus was sci-fi/horror for the person who likes horror that is humorously gory and sci-fi that is clean (we are a strange people full of contradictions). It had some good parts, some great gore, and some interesting ideas. Most importantly, it had nothing to do with Ripley, Dallas, or that damn annoying cat. For all those people on facebook who whinged about Prometheus ruining the Alien franchise, and complaining that it wasn’t “as good”, I say this:
Then go watch Alien.