Overall, if you are fan of the Alien universe, you won’t be disappointed. The movie is a much better entry into the franchise than Alien: Resurrection could ever hope to be. And, if you liked Alien: Resurrection, well, sorry to offend you, but I didn’t. Hence, you fans of that pile of hooey may want to stop reading now…unless you really reaaaally like my witty writing style.
But, this isn’t about Alien: Resurrection (which I just quasi-reviewed anyway by calling it “hooey”).
This is about Prometheus, the next foray into the Alien universe, an as-advertised-non-prequel to Alien that does a really great job of fleshing out more of that universe while, wisely, complete ignoring anything Alien vs Predator.
It’s hard to make a movie that goes over of some well-worn ground and Ridley Scott wisely doesn’t try to see what he can do with the mess that was made of his franchise after his 1979 creation, Alien, or 1986’s Aliens by the I-used-to-have-talent-now-I-am-just-rich James Cameron. So, Scott went the other route, he made a prequel-ish movie; and, he did a mostly-great job. You won’t leave that movie thinking “the sequel to this must be Alien” but you will walk away with a better understanding of what leads to Alien. There are some points to get nitpicky over and, well, because it’s my review, I am gonna get nitpicky over them later.
But, first, let me say this: no matter how nitpicky I am going to get, this is still a movie you should go see. Visually amazing. Mostly logical. Consistent in the Alien universe. Good expansion on the original source material. Well acted. This, folks, is a movie worth watching.
The pacing of the movie was mostly spot-on. The times that you aren’t on the edge of the seat, you are sitting back comfortably, engaged and absorbing what is happening because what is happening is actually interesting and relevant. The parts that keep you on the edge of the seat will remind you that there are other options than the MegaMassiveSuperSize Drinks at the concession stand. [Note to self: send apology to theatre for mess.] I thought that the movie seemed to drag on a smidge at the end but I could be a little OVERLY picky here.
The acting was all first rate in this movie. Everyone does a great job with their character. Charlize Theron, who I recently reviewed in Snow White and the Huntsman, has again nailed her role. Noomi Rapace, whom I had never heard of because most of her previous work isn’t in my native tongue, did a ridiculously good job in this movie. Michael Fassbender was incredible as the robot, David… a bit like Hal from 2001, a bit like Ash from the original Alien. No one’s acting bugged me, and that’s always a good sign.
Visually, the movie was amazing. Great cinematography right from the opening scene. I would like to go rewatch it on IMAX and without the 3D that I couldn’t avoid watching at the press screening (although, being fair, the 3D wasn’t too distracting for me).
Now, the things that bugged me are some inconsistent behaviors the writers decided to dollop on some of the characters. For example, scientists generally are pretty smart in their approach to things and when you see a smart scientist do something stupid, you can’t help but say, “that wasn’t consistent”. When someone is scared out of their mind and wanting to go back someplace that makes them warm-and-fuzzy, and then they encounter something that is not warm-and-fuzzy, they should still be scared out of their minds and behave consistently. There were a couple of throwaway plot points in there, too… things that made me think they should have been left on the cutting room floor or slightly re-written.
So, what did we learn? You should go see this movie. Unless you thought Alien: Resurrection was awesome. Actually, see it anyway. Overall, it’s worth the time and money.
Ugh. I just realized that Alien: Resurrection was written by none-other-than Mr. Joss Whedon, whom I virtually called a god-amongst-men in my review of The Avengers. Well, they all can’t be home runs, Joss, otherwise home runs wouldn’t be special. But, I digress…