Okay, so ... I've done my reading and studied for the test, and while many seem to share my opinions ... I am really divided on this movie. So, spoilers beware, cause I'm going in depth on this review. Like really. And you thought I wrote a lot about the Avengers.
Alien back in 1979 starring Sigourney Weaver as the iconic Ripley and introducing us to the spine chilling titular aliens, the Xenomorph. Prometheus is a prequel.
Noomi Rapace as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw and Michael Fassbender as David the android, who lead the ship Prometheus (named after the Greek Titan who stole fire and gave it to mankind and god knows if I honestly have to explain the symbolism to you people I'm gonna crack skulls) in search of mankind's makers (called Engineers), a race of aliens who, up and to 2000 years prior, were regular visitors to the planet Earth.
Something obviously went wrong 2000 years ago. I blame the Christians.
|Anyone else thinking of Firefly?|
So, Dr. Shaw and her lover, Charlie Holloway, played by Logan Marshall-Green, are driven to find our makers, one as a person of faith, and the other as an atheist. Also including Peter Weyland's (played by the ever talented Guy Pearce) drive not just to find the 'gods' but to ascend to their level. Every story needs a Lovecraftian mad scientist, I suppose.
This falls apart though, upon the discovery, upon moon LV-223 (which, mind you, is not the planet that the Nostromo, from the original film, Alien, landed upon, a fact which I didn't know until further reading), ... well, I don't really know. Let's delve into it, shall we?
|On the scale from 1 to cuddly ....|
Okay, so I can buy that the characters are all lacking in higher brain function, including the Android who talks to himself.
Yeah, that pissed me off.
|"Big things have small beginnings ...."|
Said the machine to itself like a weirdo.
Moving on to my biggest grip with the plot. The black goo.
This shit ain't science fiction, brothers and sisters, it's frakking magic. Where everything else is just silly, this is downright insulting.
|He's having a rough day.|
"The unrealistic part of it is that it’s a humanoid alien planting DNA seeds to seed all of life on Earth. And most life on Earth is not humanoid. In fact, most life on earth is plant and bacterial. So if they were to represent that accurately, it would be some kind of bacterium dropping its DNA into the oceans of Earth."
Now granted, the scene was frikkin awesome, but it's science-fiction, not fantasy, remember? If we were engineered by alien life, I would expect the actual engineering to happen in the Jurassic Park laboratory as designed by H.R. Gieger. And thematically, this is as if the Greek Titan gave fire to humanity by lighting himself on fire and running at them. It does not seem to be the most expedient method possible.
Now back to the black goo.
From a kickstarter of an opening, the black goo mutates two itty-bitty worms into something called a Hammerpede, a giant snake-like eel that seems to operate like a pre-stage Facehugger complete with throat fetish an acidic blood.
- The black goo mutates Holloway after his drink is spiked with a mere droplet of the stuff ... somehow with a little tentacle thing coming out of his bloodshot eyes and then him kinda ... dying, I guess, although he makes like he's alright up to to the point he lets Vickers charbroil him.
|This poor thing is so inbred it's family tree looks like the Olympic Rings.|
- Oh, right, I almost forgot, before the whole Charlie-as-a-candle bit the black goo made him super-fertile which impregnated the barren Dr. Shaw, who, within 10 hours was 3 months pregnant with a squid called a Trilobite that grows up to facehug an Engineer whose chest bursts releasing a proto-xeno called the Deacon.
|Yes, of course, the only conclusion is that they hate us.|
And speaking of David. After a very interesting conversation about the nature of creators in relation to the created with Charlie Holloway, he spikes the man's drink with the black goo for the purpose of 'trying harder'. Why is this robot conniving? Robots don't connive! Still doesn't explain why he brought the goo on board in the first place. As far as finding a ticket for Weyland to immortality, it makes no rational sense. It could have done anything. There's no indication that anyone even did what could be considered a scientific analysis of the damn stuff. And Weyland may only have a few days remaining to live, but he's in cryo anyways, so you know what that means? NO RUSH!
|Although Guy Pearce is awesome and the Viral |
advertising had me super psyched.
She did however look mighty fine in a skintight uniform ... crap, where was I going with this?
Oh right. Shaw's pregnancy. That scene was badass. I would consider it one of the best in the film, if only for the gore-factor. However, they must have some damn good drugs in the future, cause she spends the better portion of the remaining film running her ass off, getting knocked about, and falling off stuff. Every single time too I was thinking, 'Staples in the gut, staples in the gut'. Talk about brutal. Go to a Metal concert and do that in the mosh pit.
But the whole pregnancy cesarean, GIANT SQUID event goes unnoticed and for the most part un-commented upon save by the once-again conniving robot. Shaw never brings it up with anyone so far as I recall, and it is left on board (for later, but still). It is meant to be overshadowed by learning that there is still a living Engineer frozen in cryostasis, and Weyland's brilliant plan is to wake it up and ask for immortality.
So, they find an Engineer, wake him up, ask for immortality ... and he roars like a movie monster and rips David's head off before going on a murderous rampage.
|We went from black goo to this in the course of a day.|
|Just like riding a bike ... with a flute, through space.|
And honestly, I can share her sentiment. As the credits rolled, that word echoed noisily in my mind, and much to my frustration, as I read more into it, the fewer satisfying answers I found. For me the three most glaring issues with this film revolve around the effects of the black goo, the motivation for David's behavior, and the validity of Shaw's assumptions that the Engineers want to destroy us, and despite the quality of the rest of the film, explanations for these three things could have elevated it far above what it is: a shiny sci-fi film, with great effects, a great cast, big questions, and a screenwriting mistep that ultimately crippled it.
Cause here's the thing, and this'll really cook your noodle later, I really enjoyed this movie.