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The much anticipated Ridley Scott movie Prometheus hit cinemas in the Uk and in the majority of cases has been met with mixed reviews. I took myself off this morning to check it out.
First of all I. Was very unhappy before I even got to the cinema. As soon as the cinema listings came out there were practically no normal 2D listings in favour of a large number of 3D.
So on to my thoughts on the movie...
Dr's Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway have discovered drawings and pictograms from various ancient civilisations depicting men worshipping large god like figures. Each image accompanied by a star map, an invitation (or so they think!)
They Wayland Corporation (traditionally bastards in Alien movies) fund the trip to take the docs and a crew to what they believe to be their 'makers' home world. On board the ship ‘prometheus’ the crew are briefly introduced, and a old Peter Weyland speaks to the crew from beyond the grave. In general the crew area a heady mix of generic seeming characters whose primary job is to await a gruesome demise.
The people you pay attention to most are David, an android with ulterior movies brilliantly played by Michael Fassbender, and Meredith Vickers, the main Weyland Corp presence on board Prometheus, played by Charlize Theron.
On arrival at their destination the crew immediately disembarks from the ship and is off on an adventure, finding seemingly ‘man made’ structures to explore. After mapping the structure and roaming its tunnels they come across the huge remains of one of the aliens they have come searching for - Alien fans will recognise this alien as the ‘space jockey’ but they are now called Engineers. They also come across the huge human like head sculpture seen in they trailers surrounded by urn-like containers which seem to react to being exposed to life and start to bubble and ooze black stuff. THIS CAN'T BE GOOD!
While the scientific team is packing up the space jockey head, David pockets one of the urns to take back to Prometheus. Who's he getting his orders from? Old man Weyland obviously, I can put 2 and 2 together Ridley.. Weyland has snuck aboard the Prometheus to meet his maker. Literally. but shhh I dunno if we're not supposed to have figured that out yet. Oh yeah and 2 of the crew don't make it back to the ship and have to stay out overnight.
Back in the lab the space jockey helmet, sorry Engineer helmet is removed to reveal a human like head! Even better Shaw discovers that their DNA is an exact match for humans! Meanwhile David is playing with the urn. It disassembles in a manner that reminded me of the VX gas rockets from ‘The Rock’. Inside is more of that black stuff which David uses to deliberately infect Holloway. Holloway then goes and sleeps with Shaw (this really isn't going to end well).
The crew ventures out onto the planet again to explore more of the structure only to find the body of one crew member and for holloway to fall ill. David meanwhile has disappeared to another place in the structure and found one of the Engineers alive in a stasis chamber and a star map showing that they Engineers had plotted a course for earth. The crew return to the ship with the ill Holloway who is transforming into something. Vickers refuses to let him on board and at his request she let's loose the flamethrower on him. Shaw collapses and wakes up in the ship medical bay where David informs her that she is pregnant. Which is impossible as she is sterile and only had sex with holloway 10 hrs ago. UH OH!
David, being the Weyland Corp android, wants to preserve the pregnancy and sedates her with the plan of putting her back in stasis. Shaw escapes and makes it to an automated surgery bay which she program's to remove the foreign object which turns out to be a lil squid like face hugger. Gross.
Shaw discovers Weyland aboard (surprise surprise) who means to meet the alive Engineer and ask him to prolong his life somehow. The act of a desperate man at the end of his life. Janek, captain of the ship, suggests that the black stuff in the urns is the equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction, which means the Engineers were planning on returning to earth to destroy the human race! WHY?!?
The crew wake up the engineer, David talks to him and then the giant Engineer rips off David's head and killing Weyland. Shaw escapes and the engineer preps the ‘ship’ for takeoff (the structure contains a ship). To stop it heading for earth Janek crashes Prometheus into the ship bringing it down, crushing Vickers.
Shaw heads for the escape pod Vickers fled in only to find that her baby squid is on board and has grown into a massive squid/face hugger/vagina monster (you'll see what I mean). The Engineer is also still after her, having survived the crash of his ship. Shaw unleashes the vagina monster on the engineer who is impregnated and killed. Yuk.
Shaw gathers David's head which is still working and together they set off to grab another ship to head to the Engineers home world and unleash their bio weapon upon them!
Finally we see the engineers corpse burst open giving birth to the first xenomorph alien queen. THE END.
Overall I really enjoyed the film up until the last 20 or so minutes. The adventure is exciting and captivating but the final payoff isn't really there. This isn't an alien prequel, just another story of discovery from the Alien universe, some could even see it as a reboot of sorts. It really worked for me up until the Engineer woke up and went apeshit on the crew. A reason for why the human race was going to wiped out by its supposed makers would have been nice, and perhaps given the movie greater meaning.
The other main question is, how many aliens does it take to make an Alien queen? The black stuff causes the Engineers to be destroyed instantly, but Holloway lasts long enough to pass it on to Shaw who gives birth to a face hugger. Why isn't Holloway destroyed instantly, Engineer DNA and human DNA are a 100% match! RWAR!
So for an Alien to be born the black stuff has to infect someone that then impregnates a mate, who gives birth to a face hugger thing. Then the face hugger has to impregnate a human/engineer who can then give birth to a queen. Not a very streamlined process is it for a WMD developed by people with the ability to create life.
Sufficed to say that for me the movie wasn't the work of genius that I'd been hoping for. I thought it was going to deliver but it just tailed off for me and I was fast losing interest at the end, especially after David was incapacitated. The Lawrence of Arabia obsessed android was by far the best thing about Prometheus from his early scenes roaming the ship alone, entertaining himself to his scenes exploring solo and working out his ulterior motives. Fassbender as usual is superb in the role.
Also, as someone who hates 3D movies, this ones not bad at all. The effects are subtle and the technology is mainly kept for making the futuristic computer graphics and helmet cam heads up displays pop on screen.
The film is stunning to look at, from the ship to the planet, even the isle of skye at the start. The Alien movies were famous for rarely venturing off sets and sound stages. But definitely go see this movie regardless of my comments, it is certainly worth 2 hours of your time but if I has to give it a score it would probably get a 7/10. It would be a 6 but for just reminding myself of the stunning visuals of the film.