Saturday, 2 June 2012

Prometheus - In The Cinema You Can't Hear Yourself Scream

By which I mean that even before the film started I was sunk into my seat with a Munchian (!?) expression whilst being tortured by adverts for films I'm not interested in - all at a thunderous volume - H-E-E-ELP!

But no-one could hear me scream above the on-screen din. If this is what all cinema-goers regularly subject themselves to it's no wonder these films still get made and watched. The poor sods who pay have long since had their senses dulled and their brains turned to mush.

Like all fans of Alien and Aliens I wanted Prometheus to be good, to be better than critics had suggested. People have a thing about critics, and it's obvious why, but from what I've read most seem to be right in this case. The return of Ridley Scott was supposed to promise quality, so we all hoped - alas, that's not the case. Oh, it has plenty of whiz-bang effects (and some suckers will pay extra to see them in 3-D - well, you know the saying about polishing a turd), but since when has that been enough to make a film great? This whole film felt like an effect, or an attempted effect, as it tried to please brain-dead thrill-seekers and the 'thinking' sci-fi fan.

It's a spaceship wreck - two hours of mangled script and twisted direction resulting, I imagine, from the conflict between franchise obligation and weak-willed desire to inject some philosophical gravitas. Woman in peril being subjected to body horror, suspicious android, frantic race back to the ship - old ideas from previous films are revisited as pale imitations. Even the aliens offer a confused picture in both form and origin, unless it was all too complex for me to understand.

If in doubt, have a slithering creature invade someone's body - this may be fine for porn films, but here it suggested a lack of original ideas. Yes, we expect something along those lines, but it really felt like tokenism rather than true horror in service of the plot. As for the script, you could find better in a 50s B-Movie. Perhaps in 50 years time this will be hailed as a B-Movie classic, although men in dodgy monster costumes are far more entertaining. It proves that you can throw as much money as you like at a film, but it's wasted without a solid foundation in script, story or direction.

*Spoiler* > one alien life-form turns out to be a vicious GM version of Squiddly Diddly.

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