November 13, 2012

Prequel-methius?! A Sleepy-Eyed Rant...

I am a huge fan of the Alien franchise, most notably Aliens (what can I say? I have a big boner for James Cameron. T2, anyone? The Abyss?? He can do no wrong!), but I also dig the original Alien. Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection not so much, but I still watched them because Sigourney Weaver kicks ass as Ripley.
Needless to say, I had high hopes for Prometheus. I was beyond bummed when I didn't get a chance to see it in theaters and I rented it from a Redbox on the first day it became available. I was soooo excited to finally watch it! I hadn't read any reviews, deliberately avoiding them for fear of spoilers. And I didn't want my enjoyment of the film to be tainted by someone else's opinion. So, the night of the viewing was a very big deal.  

I turned on the DVD player, settled in with some hot tea and popcorn drenched in vegan butter. And this was the first thing I saw...

This guy drinks some black sludge and breaks apart like a vampire in the sunlight. Then we see his DNA changing underneath the water to make what? Presumably, the first "alien." But it's never really stated exactly what's happening here. So, clearly this guy is sacrificing himself to create the alien. But what the hell is that black sludge? Where did it come from?? And, other than wanting to create something to kill humans with, what's the point? And since these so-called "Engineers" created human beings with their own DNA, couldn't they take them out without the aid of aliens? By the end of the movie, having gotten virtually zero definitive answers to any of these questions, it was a premise that just didn't fly with me.

According to the Xenopedia Wiki, "The Black Liquid was a mutagenic pathogen manufactured by the Engineers for war and genocidal purposes."

Okay, that makes sense. And it also makes sense to me that the pathogen got loose and infected the whole race of Engineers, which is why they're all seemingly dead and why there's black goo all over the floor of their spaceship. But if they're so smart, and "god-like" why would they be so stupid as to create a mutagenic pathogen for the purpose of genocide? I mean, it seems like they would be more "all-knowing" than that. I mean, c'mon Engineers - that's a Bush League mistake.

And then there's David, the robot played flawlessly by Michael Fassbender.
Prometheus' version of the "artificial person" was less confusing than the later androids, Ash and Bishop, who could blend in with humans and even deceive folks into thinking they are humans themselves. David is clearly not a human, but something about his demeanor and his exquisitely subtle reactions to criticism by his human counterparts left me thinking that he would like to be considered by humans as superior to them, since he clearly is, and to be treated with some measure of respect, which he definitely was not.

I read online somewhere that, rather than take cues from the other two robots in the Alien franchise, Fassbender studied Rutger Hauer's portrayal of a robot in Blade Runner, and fashioned his voice after deadly computer HAL in 2001.

Honestly, David was truly the only character I found myself giving two sh*ts about, and he's certainly the only character that was even remotely interesting to follow. For real, let me just show you how boring this mess of underdeveloped characters is...

They're too clean, too lovely, too perfect, too contrived, and totally boring. They look like they spent hours with an acting coach learning how to configure the perfect scowl on their faces.

What makes great sci-fi work is when the characters are as real as you and me, scruffy and normal, rag-tag, people you could really know. Look at the cast of the original Alien...

These people are not bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. They look tired. They look hardscrabble, work-a-day. They look like people who work too many hours and make just enough money to feed themselves and maybe buy a round of beers for their friends every now and then. But, most importantly, they look like people I can relate to, which is why I can't help but to care about their fates!

Why do I care about what happens to a bunch of supermodels in spacesuits??
Oh yeah, I don't. That's the problem.

And, while we're talking about the loveliness of the film's stars, let's talk about Guy Pearce, shall we? Guy Pearce is a good-lookin' dude. And he's young. Not frat-boy young, but middle-aged, I guess. Still young enough to be considered young. So, why would the director need to use him to portray an old rich turd? First of all, he's Guy Pearce. He's a good actor, sure, but he sells tickets because he's hot. Did you see him in Ravenous (one of my favorite movies)??
Just look at the following photo...

So, why would you do this...

To this guy...??

See what I mean? It's a travesty. And it's totally unfair to elderly actors who don't get a bunch of roles to begin with and who might, just once, like to be cast in a big Hollywood production that's unofficially part of a huge franchise. But now that old guy, the one who could have had his last hurrah as an actor, has been usurped by a young sexy guy who had to spend five hours in make-up to look like a wrinkly old man. Totally not cool. Not cool to potential old-guy actors, and not fair to my eyeballs, the pair of whom love to get an eyeful of some Guy Pearce. The Guy Pearce without fake spider veins running up his butt.

Well, now I'm tired dang it. I had planned to rant on and on about all the unanswered questions, all the remaining stuff that irritated me, and even some more of the stuff that I liked. But it's late, and I'm sleepy. In the meantime, here's a good little link that hits on some of the same things I would have gotten around to saying if my eyes weren't starting to droop...

1 comment:

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