Posts Tagged ‘ Alien ’

Prometheus (Movie Review and Discussion)

Prometheus move poster

Prometheus

I strongly disagree with the common consensus about Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. While most people dismissed it as incomplete, illogical, or just a well-meaning mess (that last one would be much better applied to The Dark Knight Rises), it really fulfilled my hopes for an Alien prequel. It was a stunning spectacle that felt like a love letter to the originals without being beholden to the past. I don’t plan on giving a typical review here. Instead, I’ll focus more on the criticism of this movie. Just know that my experience in the theater was a solid A, and it feels like a B or B+ in retrospect. I officially give this an A-.

I really have to wonder what most people were expecting: I’ve challenged friends to name another movie series that provided a more satisfying ret-con after a years-long break, and no one has been able to. Expectations for follow-on movies are always confusing: Remember that Alien and Aliens came out in a very different culture than we have today, partly just because those very movies had yet to make their impact. Making something too different now would disappoint people, but on the other hand, one of the major criticisms of Alien3 and Alien: Resurrection was how closely they copied the first ones.

I should admit that I’m a fan of all four movies. (I haven’t bothered seeing the Alien vs. Predator spin-offs.) While I normally would complain about the repetition in the third and fourth movies, in this case I think they’re vital to the our understanding of the series as a whole. The first two movies portrayed conflicts that seemed winnable, but by the end of the fourth, the struggle feels hopeless and eternal. Ripley can win battles, but human nature and the uncaring universe combine to ensure we never escape this nihilistic cycle. Those last two may not be great, but the context they provide is what turns the first two into masterpieces.

Knowing all this, it’s not surprising that I would like Prometheus. All the key elements of the original mythology were there. But rather than being an Alien 5, the new characters and setting gave the movie an excuse for a slightly different atmosphere. By splitting the difference between the old and the new, I feel like Prometheus opened up fertile ground for a new series.

(There are thematic spoilers for Prometheus from here on.)

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