After 20 years at the University of Oregon, I have retired. So, I will begin posting about my new experiences here and hope you find them interesting.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

"Alien" erupts from "Prometheus" shell

I'm a big fan of Ridley Scott so with some level of anticipation, I trotted off to the mall to see his latest, "Prometheus", yesterday.

 What a let down! (Spoilers ahead)

I found "Prometheus" to be little more than a remake of the original "Alien" with only a slight twist that the "creatures" were being transported to earth by our original "creators" to wipe out the inhabitants for some unspecified failure or shortcoming on our part or perhaps we had sufficiently "terraformed" the earth to a point that our "creators" decided they wanted it or something. The reason was never explained and screamed SEQUEL so loud you could hardly concentrate on the action. Of course, if you've seen "Alien" you didn't need to worry about following the plot anyway. It even had the same artificial life form with the same milky fluid for blood (not Henrickson, though, but a handsome Peter O'Toole type, Michael Fassbender) and the same strong female survivor (Noomi Rapace but not as riveting as Sigourney Weaver. Even the life cycle of the alien was the same and Ridley Scott surely must have paid H.R. Giger some kind of royalty for the "inspiration" for the fully rendered appearance of the mature creature complete with inner mouth parts!
Michael Fassbender as A.I. "David"
in Ridley Scott's "Prometheus"

Maybe somewhere Scott admitted it was an Alien remake but I had not seen anything mentioned to that effect in the usual promo articles I had read. I have gone to a few remakes but I prefer to know that before deciding to see a film. For the most part I also do not understand the purpose of doing a remake of a film considered a classic and I doubt such efforts yield the profits that an original story would. The original "Alien" has had so many sequels and spinoffs that it's not like audiences haven't been exposed to the "Alien" universe many times since its original conception in 1979.

I see that the L.A. Times film critic has weighed in and says Scott admits to "sharing some DNA" with "Alien" but I think they were being overly tactful because of Scott's reputation. I felt the same disappointment with the less than spectacular TV series helmed by Steven Spielberg - "Falling Skies" and "Terra Nova". It's as if Spielberg let the Nielsen ratings folks write the scripts to meet some demographic target. I guess "Falling Skies" supposedly survived the network axes (Terra Nova did not) and so we will be "treated" to another season. But if the entire season revolves around freeing captured kids from the aliens without a more significant overarching storyline, it won't hold my interest for very long.

Anyway, as far as Ridley Scott's work is concerned, I guess he's entitled to a do-over.  The film did have a visually spectacular opening scene and, as someone who is fascinated by archaeology, I really liked the visuals connected with the civilization of the "creators".  I also felt the artificial being played by Michael Fassbender was mesmerizing and wished his role had been exploited more. 

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