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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Prometheus



Loved everything but the story... which stunk in no uncertain terms. Everyone else involved produced wonderful work. The writing - and possibly the editing when one considers the editing as a means of furthering the story - were light-years behind.

The script was illogical to the point of being inane.
The philosophical questions were jejune... as jejune as the juvenile or larval stages of the Giger-monsters with their squid-like menace... I flashed on James Mason as Captain Nemo battling a giant cephalopod, dodging the squid's chitinous beak, in Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.
(Giger-monsters are the torpedo head alien monsters of the original 1979 Alien; in this film there is another "alien" humanoid race who creates both Mankind and Torpedo Heads.)

There was an android, who loves Peter O'Toole as Lawrence of Arabia and who vacillates between the Force and the Dark Side for no apparent reason... it was so goofy that I kept thinking of the little robot with Slim Pickens' voice in Disney's The Black Hole, which is sort of my standard measure for Android and Automaton Goofiness.
(I hate to say this, but in his more villainous moments, Michael Fassbender as David the Android leered in a manner which clearly resembled Dr. Smith from Lost in Space, the TV series. That was unnerving.)

There was a main character infected by the android with something (don't know what); the character almost immediately transforms into something (don't know what), and is almost as quickly dealt with by fire as The Thing was dealt with in John Carpenter's The Thing... and no explanation for anything. (I fully expected to hear David Clennon's voice as Palmer saying "You gotta be __ kidding!")

There's an automated caesarian to remove a xeno-embryo... which may be a homage of the most dim-witted type to the mythological Prometheus' punishment of having his liver eaten by an eagle...
Oh, and there are Geologist Zombies...
Oh, the list goes on...

There obviously was a whole lot of story that was not able to be put into the film and keep it under 5 hours or so, so the editing had to remove it, and there was so much dead-time that I could not help but wonder what the hey was going on, rather than being enchanted by the film.
I was completely disengaged at least twice, and shook my head and drummed my fingers, looking around for the exits.

At times I mused upon Alien vs. Predator , if that is any indicator of my frame of mind!

Well, backing off a bit from the "intellectual film critic" thingie and going back to the original Prometheus story, I recall that Prometheus, a Titan, created man from clay or dust or some homely grit, then stole fire from Olympus to give man some equality with the gods.
For this act, the gods wrought a great revenge against him:

1) we have a story-line wherein mankind creates life, the android, and there are references to this act of creation and why it was done and possible outcomes, but it did not really "go" anywhere to fleshing out parallels to aliens seeding Earth, and the ethics of Life Creation.

2) the original humanoid alien (non-Giger alien) upon Earth in the opening of the film had a differently shaped space vessel, and we might consider him a "rogue" alien who had come to establish life throughout the universe, and by doing so sort of violated some "prime directive" against doing so, thus causing the other aliens to seek revenge and destruction against the rogue alien's creations (just like the mythical Prometheus);

3) there was a lot of "why are we here?" and "what created us?" type stuff. This was properly answered by Idris Elba, who played the captain of the vessel Prometheus, who when asked whether he did not wish to find the aliens who spread the Earth with the seed of mankind, said that he did not, suggesting that a search for such beings who were also creators of  Weapons of Mass Destruction (which it turns out the Torpedo Heads were) was a fool's quest. (Or a mad man's or woman's, such as quested Ahab in Moby Dick.)
Now that's a proper question: why should we care about beings that create WMDs and incessant wars and discords!! That's one that strikes close to home!

So if there is another film, it will follow the logic of this type of story and explain why the "gods" sought to destroy mankind. (And, since Herakles freed Prometheus, perhaps there will be a Herakles myth story line that will be sliced and diced.)

However, this obsession for allowing for sequellae  -  a word I made up for "sequels" and "prequels", the idea being that, given a movie good enough to warrant further exploitation, any new films based on it, regardless whether they take place after the action of the original film or take place prior to the action of the original, they are both "sequellae" (sequella singular)  -  seems to me to seriously impede the creation of masterpieces of cinema. The original Alien was a singular and self-contained universe; it was great. This film limps along, trying to pull itself through various rough patches of illogicality and holes in the story.

But everything else is wonderful... except for the anachronisms, such as the fact that the computer displays in the prequel are much more sophisticated than those of Alien, which is supposed to follow the time of  Prometheus by about 28 years or so.
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2 comments:

Baysage said...

The special effects were good, but it was pretty muddled. Have not seen a really good flick in a while.

Montag said...

It was stunning.... then the story brought me way down.