Before reading, I suggest checking out the latest “Prometheus” trailer, if you haven’t already, which you can do here. And FYI, I deem this blog spoiler free, but only if you’ve seen all the “Alien” films prior:
This looks to be a big (and hopefully great) summer for movies. Two on my radar are “The Avengers” which I truly hope doesn’t suck, and “The Dark Knight Rises” which thus far looks awesome. But as much of a Batman addict as I am, the film that has me most excited is “Prometheus”. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re either equally excited, or at least curious to find out what the big deal is. Here’s 5 reasons why:
1. It’s Ridley Scott’s first sci-fi flick since “Blade Runner.” Ridley Scott emerged from a successful career shooting commercials into one of the most talented and visually stylish film directors of all time. The film that made his career was “Alien”, one of the most terrifying and novel combinations of Sci-fi and horror in film history. He followed it with “Blade Runner”, which was a commercial disappointment upon its release, but has since been recognized as one of the best films of the 80’s and a hugely influential, both conceptually and visually. Since then he’s had a great and varied career with movies such as “Legend”, “Gladiator”, “Black Hawk Down” and “American Gangster”. But sci-fi fans have been hoping one day to see him return to the genre he helped redefine, and now it’s happening.
2. Despite all the misdirection espoused by Ridley and the screenwriters, this is an “Alien” prequel in some shape or form. One link from the original film that will definitely be appearing will be the infamous “Space Jockey”, which was the fossilized body that the crew found in the original film, along with the ship he/she/it was found in, both of which are seen in the trailer.
Long has been the curiosity about the origin of that species and what relationship it had to the “Alien” monsters, besides being a victim of the creature that helps propagate their species, the face-hugger. How much we will see or won’t see of those creatures has yet to be determined, but at the 2:01 mark on the trailer it look like a face-hugger to me.
And if there’s any way to make the case that it’s definitively tied to “Alien” here are 2 giveaways: (a) that eerie distress signal heard in the Prometheus trailer (at the 1:59 mark)is taken straight from the original films trailer. And (b)in the 1st trailer that was released, the expanding title sequence is identical. Check out the original trailer for “Alien” (which is easily one of the best of its kind) here.
3. This will hopefully save the “Alien” franchise from the poor state it’s in. James Cameron’s “Aliens” was a solidly satisfying followup, bur ever since the lackluster “Alien 3” (which not even the talented David Fincher could salvage), this is a film series that has suffered from diminishing returns. After the disrespectful notion of killing off Ripley and her surviving crewmates from “Aliens” in part 3,the story seemed almost purposefully ruined. “Alien Resurrection” had some nice visual touches, but the humorous tone never jibed well with the subject matter. I’d always hoped that one day they’d make a film where Ripley woke up and discarded the last 2 films as a dream. And “Alien Vs Predator” was just forgettable junk.
The only way to salvage the source material is to start from the beginning, which makes this one of the few prequels that feels intriguing and justified.
4. This film could be the tipping point for 3-D as an artistic attribute vs. an gimmicky detriment.
James Cameron made 3-D interesting when he did “Avatar”. A flawed film to be sure, but definitely one that made 3-D something that kept your interest instead of just making your eyes hurt. But ever since, so many films are done in 3-D that its almost become a joke, and most cases, it’s added after the fact, meaning they weren’t intentionally shot in a way that would prove dynamic. Ridley Scott has been very pronounced on how he shot this film specifically for 3-D and how much it fits his artistic tastes.
If “Prometheus” delivers as an amazing film which pushes the boundaries of the technology, it might be the 1st one that will elevate 3-D beyond some nice eye candy or a mere marketing gimmick.
5. We’ve been in dire need of an exciting space saga for a long time. Try to think of the last sci-fi film set in space that blew you away? Hard to think of one isn’t it? Much like our domestic space program has set its sights depressingly low, we’ve also seen a major decline in that genre. “Star Trek” was fun, but based on an old idea, “Sunshine” was gorgeous to look at, but the plot was a hodgepodge of other, better films, and “Moon” while being very entertaining and thought provoking, is set on a planetoid that we’re familiar with. No, our groundbreaking sci-fi films in recent years have been about the perceptions of reality (“The Matrix” & “Inception”” to name a couple), but we haven’t really broken any new ground space wise,since the original “Star Wars” and, well “Alien”. Scott’s film certainly looks like it has something new to offer in that arena given the compelling visuals.
Now as excited as I am for this film, I like many “Alien” fanatics have a few concerns. Is the story of the Space Jockey best left as a mystery, and will defining it be anti-climactic? And will 20th Century Fox force Ridley to make a PG-13 film which could undermine the horrific intensity that’s foreshadowed at in the trailers? The rating has not been decided as of yet. but Scott has made no secret that he’s agitated that he’s being pushed towards the lighter rating. Why this director doesn’t have final cut of his own films is ridiculous. He’s more than earned that right. But the silver lining, is that in all likelihood he’ll release a directors cut as he’s prone to do once it hits Blu-ray and DVD, so we’ll see his original vision at some point.
If you’re throwing caution to the wind and want to venture into potentially spoiler territory, check out the link to Empire magazines frame by frame analysis of the trailer, or join the Facebook page to get lots of viral leaks. As for me, I feel I’ve already learned too much, and hope to forget any hints I may have figured out once the film hits theaters in June 1st. Counting the days…
*Update: Over the weekend I picked up the may issue of “Empire” magazine, which has a major article on the making of Prometheus. Proceed with caution, as it has what some would consider spoilers, which wasn’t hinted at all in the preface.
If you’re a fan of the Alien films or Blade Runner, have a Blu-ray player, and still haven’t added these to your collections, then you’re missing out on some awesomeness. You can go straight to Amazon to order by clicking on the link. They all look and sound amazing in HD, and the extras are absorbing to watch.