Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Prometheus (2012)

Firstly, an admission. I need to say I've never been a big Alien fan. I appreciate the original is a seminal piece with a stunningly grubby (is that a contradiction in terms?) set design  and a brilliant ensemble cast that changed the way we viewed sci fi whilst still using traditional tropes from that genre, horror movies and 'And Then There Were None' style chillers. 

I totally appreciate it's a solid piece of workmanship, extremely mature, intelligent and aesthetically brilliant. 

But...they still leave me a little cold. To be honest, they leave me in a cold sweat. Indeed every time I watch an Alien movie, so claustrophobic and unsettled do I feel, I get all clammy, physically and metaphorically. And Prometheus is no exception. But as it's clearly the intention as well, then you have to mark this 'prequel' or 'companion piece' (whatever you want to call it) as a success.

In the main it is an enjoyable if familiar return to the Alien franchise and territory for Ridley Scott in that this film riffs on many of the elements that made the original such a success. Now, you could argue that that is as it should be or you could argue that it was a lazy retread. I don't know. Perhaps if I was more of a fan of the films I'd have a firmer idea of what camp I was in.

The cast similarly follows the same path as the original, a disparate ragtag diverse group of Hollywood and British character actors playing at cowboys, greasers and scientists in space. However much as I love Noomi Rapace - and I do, seriously - I didn't feel her heroine to be as capable, likeable or intelligent as Sigourney Weaver's Ripley and as such not as iconic. I also felt some of the rather irritatingly dumb attitudes and choices she had was more of a step backwards for the role of feminist all action hero than Weaver was. Kudos then to the more progressive and enlightened 70s/80s. Meanwhile Sean Harris proves once again he's never going to play the cute romantic lead in anything, Kate Dickie adds some suitable Scottish sensibilities, Benedict Wong is still in Danny Boyle's Sunshine, Guy Pearce continues to prove he's a chameleon, Rafe Spall struggles with his accent, Charlize Theron looks unfeasibly glamourous as always, and Idris Elba continues to be nowhere near as annoying in US productions as he is in UK ones. It is Michael Fassbender however who is truly brilliant and I'm sure there's a subtext between his auton character and his love for Lawrence of Arabia than I can see on first glance, but I can't be arsed looking.

Two points, Dr Elizabeth Shaw was the name of The Third Doctor Who's very first companion. Doctor and all. And did anyone else think the big baldy giant Gods looked like Woody Harrelson?

And whilst we're on the subject, some retro...

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