I remember watching the first Alien movie and cringing in fear, being scared half to death, and wanting more and more and more. Aliens fueled that need for more in a different way. It was such a different movie, but I loved how it went in an entirely different direction. Still, it scared the pants off me with aliens that would stop at nothing to kill and reproduce. Aliens III I also enjoyed. Ripley’s sacrifice at the end almost had me in tears. Still this one scared me over and over. Aliens: Resurrection was a movie and that’s all I have to say about that.
There are also two Alien Versus Predator movies out there. I liked both just because of the monster match-ups like we used to see in days of old (King King versus Godzilla, Frankenstein meets the Wolfman, and the like). To me it never added anything to the original films but it didn’t take away from them either.
Now we have Prometheus. It’s almost a prequel to the Alien movie, but not quite. I’ll get to that later. Let’s review, shall we?
As a Viewer: I love a big movie. Big set, big space ships, big aliens. This movie had a good build up and showed us a little of where man came from. Well, according to the film. I’m not sure on the historical references to the stars they showed and I’ve watched a lot of Ancient Aliens lately and I don’t recall any of these drawings. I’m thinking it’s all made up. But hey, what do I know?
The movie jumps from discovery to a space ship traveling to a moon orbiting a gas giant. This struck me as odd. The planet was fine, but it would be cold a lot of the time hidden in the gas giants shadow and super hot when exposed directly to the sun. I got over that quickly and figured what the heck. Let’s go with it.
Our crew (who we’re only lightly introduced to through dreams our good android David watches while they sleep) wake up when they’re near the planet. The effects were great! Loved the tiny little ship next to this massive planet. Put things into perspective. They cruise around a little (very little) and find a settlement. Well, some straight lines. I’m going to speed up here as I don’t want to explain the entire movie. Inside some massive domes they discover the ancient people who we’ll recognize from the first Alien movie with the weird trunks and massive rib cages. Turns out they were building a biological weapon to kill off the entire human race they created.
This struck me as stupid. Tens of thousands of year ago they created humans and then created these ‘aliens’ to wipe out the human race? The only reason they didn’t is because what they created killed off the people on the planet.
Oh, this is when they discover that even though there was this ‘map to the stars’ from the old cave paintings didn’t point to the creators’ home planet, it pointed to a place that thousands of years later they created this ‘alien’ to wipe out humanity? Am I the only one that caught this? This was the point as a viewer they lost me a little. Okay, more than a little. This pissed me off and I could go on an Avatar type rant about plot holes, but let’s continue.
Mr. Weyland had been hiding on the ship the whole time and wanted to meet the creator and live longer. David was his lackey and that was no surprise. There is one ‘creator’ left and when they wake him up, he starts to kill everyone and prepares to launch the ship and take it to Earth and kill off all of humanity. Our fearless crew launches their ship into that ship and stops the end of our race.
As a Writer: This thing had plot holes big enough to drive a truck through. It bothered me to no end. I was so hopeful that something, anything, might be explained in a logical sequence, but this one really stretched what could have been a great script. For me, stretched to the breaking point. The characterization was so light that all but one character was a cardboard cut out. Could have been anyone and you knew they were all fodder to be killed off. The one character they bothered to develop you know will survive just as Ripley survived as the end of Alien.
There were a lot of inconsistent character traits on those one dimensional people and the actors didn’t seem like they wanted to be bothered to take it further. The aliens weren’t the same ones we came to love in Alien. There was no explanation of anything they found. We’re left to assume how it all worked. Or guess. And the ending isn’t where most expect it as you know they’re leaving this open for a sequel.
Weak characters. Weak plot. Great special effects. Pretty much what Hollywood produces now days. As a writer nothing caught me by surprise. Noting built up any suspense. And I cared nothing for any of the characters. At least with Friday the 13th style movies you know everyone is going to die in an entertaining way. This one didn’t even bring that to the table.
Recommendation: Alien was shot with a small budget and relied more on lighting and camera angles and you almost never saw the alien. This brought fear into your heart wondering what was going to happen next and you’d catch the slightest glimpse and HOLY CRAP! Prometheus brings in a lot of CGI effects, bigger monsters that don’t seem to relate to the original movie at all. The first movie made me jump, this one had me wondering why? Why did they make this movie so poorly? Why did they spend so much on special effects and so little on a cohesive plot that would bring the universe of Alien together? Why did they make a movie that works out as a throw away movie in a universe that needed some great answers to big questions?
If you like Alien, Aliens and the other two, you need to see this movie, just don’t go in expecting to be scared. Yes there are a couple ‘stressful’ situations, but they felt forced. Almost like they needed some suspense and artificially created it. I was disappointed with the characters and the plot, but if you’ve got $10 burning a hole in your pocket, you can do a lot worse (like 2012). It’s not all bad, but it left me more frustrated than entertained. I wanted so much more from this movie that it just didn’t deliver.