Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Prometheus - a review

With some friends, I watched the prequel to the Alien stories on Christmas eve. There is a Christmas Tree in it, so it must be a Christmas movie. Ooops! Spoiler Alert! Without further ado, here is my mildly spoilered review of Prometheus.

Filmmakers make prequels generally to answer questions raised in their previous movies. For instance, the Star Wars prequels answer the question as to where Darth Vader comes from, how the Empire got started, and all of this Clone War business.

So, Prometheus attempts to answer the big question that many people complained about the monsters in the Alien movies. The aliens from these movie spent all that time in space waiting for humans to come and discover them. Now that they are discovered, these aliens could now reproduce by implanting themselves inside a human. It seems like a very inefficient reproductive strategy. So, what is the deal

The one problem with prequels is that you have to end the movie at such a place to be consistent with the originals. So, this is one of the ways the Star Wars prequels go astray. They simply do not line up seamlessly with the original trilogy.

How did Prometheus fair? Well, the movie makers do quick work of that alien reproduction question. Namely, there is human DNA all over the place. You see, we were planted on Earth by an unknown and unnamed alien race. Presumably, these aliens also did this to other planets. Thus, human and human-like DNA is all over the place. There you go, end of story. Of course, that raises another question. What was the intent of these aliens? What is the deal with these uber-monster aliens? Where did they come from?

Okay fine, it is fiction, and humans were planted on Earth. I can live with that. However, the rest of the movie just goes right off the rails. It doesn't make any sense. I can think of dozens of ways to make a plot with these later questions and still have it make sense. I wish the makers of this movie used one of them.

I won't go into specifics, but at the end, we have as many questions as we have answers. For instance, why would you ever take your helmet off on another planet. I do not care if the air is exactly like Earth's, you would never ever catch me taking off my helmet. There is all kinds of microbial life in our air. What kind of microbes would you find on another world? Let's find out by taking our helmets off.

If I were the captain of the ship, as soon as they took their helmets off, they are living on that planet for the rest of their lives. I would not take them back to Earth. I would not even let them back into the ship. However, all of this human interacting directly with the environment is a plot point. They should have worked harder at this one. Leaky suit? Non-away crew member sneezed one of the suits? Be creative, don't be stupid!

Speaking of dumb plot points. Why did the guy who made the map of the structure get lost? Ummm... There were lots of crewmembers who could get lost, why the geologist guy? Why the guy who mapped the thing? I realize he was supposed to be hated, and you were supposed to cheer when he got his comeuppance, and all. You couldn't have another character map the structure? You couldn't think of another reason to leave them behind? Again, be creative, don't be stupid.

There were some good points about the movie. It very much had a similar look and feel to the original Alien movie. You could tell it was in the same universe. For the most part, it was well acted. (The unlikable geologist was a bit over the top.) The cinematography was also excellent. Many of the tropes from the Alien universe were there. It is just that all of this was for nothing in this train wreck of a screenplay.

If you turn off your brain, you might be able to enjoy it. But for me, the stupid burns too greatly. There is some tension, but I was constantly taken out of it by stupid plot points that screamed "Hey! I am an obvious plot point! Look at me!" So, if you like your scifi to be smart, you will avoid this one. It is too dumb.

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