You should go see Prometheus. You should. Its fun, gross, stupid, impressive….you should see it. Do it now!! For me, I have to say, my initial reaction is that I enjoyed it. I loved the main theme music. I liked the black guy, the practical effects, the CGI, and a few other things here and there. It passes the initial taste test. Is this clearly a high budget blockbuster with high production values? YES!! BUT – is it a great film worthy of Alien(s)? NO!! Not at all!!
The biggest travesty regarding this movie is the very suggestion that it is a prequel to Alien. It isn’t. It has a very different feel, premise, style – it will never live up to being a relative of Alien. (In case you’re just tuning in, Prometheus was originally touted as a prequel to the critically acclaimed movies Alien and Aliens.) If it is related, it is married into the family via some distant cousin twice removed. But, for better or worse, family is family, so Prometheus will live out a place in history as the proverbial redheaded stepchild of the Alien series when really, it needs to be seen as the beginning of a new series.
If this movie were to be released with an anonymous directing credit and some changes to cut ties with Aliens, this movie would be a surprise summer hit, and, once outed as director, Ridley Scott might right now be hailed as “still having it” when it comes to sci fi. Alas, things did not turn out this way. Still, you should go see it and develop your own opinion. Or not. Who cares? Just know this – if you see the movie, set your expectations low, and do not hope for anything close to Alien(s).
Actually, now that I think about it, the movie seems like a 100-car train that is half wrecked, like the engine and first 50 cars are just smashed to pieces like the train in Super 8, but the remaining 50 cars and caboose are completely unscathed. Or, you could say its like the end of a blowout NBA game when no one but scrubs are playing – there’s clearly some talent on display, but when compared against the starters, those guys seem absolutely awful. I think Prometheus is good enough to avoid being a total scrub, but not good enough to get off the bench that often.
Get ready, here’s my thoughtful tangent!!! Okay, go!
Here’s my one massive take home from seeing this movie: Hollywood has lost its ability to tell stories. CGI continues to improve, IMAX tech is more prevalent than ever, and native-3D tech is finally being used to great effect. But what of stories? They seem to be cast aside in the hope that people will buy in just based on “prettiness”.
Now, I’m not like an English teacher or a proper journalist or anything, so my terms might be a wee bit off, but I consider story and premise to be two different things much like tactics and strategy are different things. The premise is the macro, the big “what is this movie about”, and the story is the micro or what actually happens within that overarching idea. I feel like today’s movies feature an over-abundance of imaginative, creative premises, but the stories are incredibly weak!! (See: Carter, John)
So what’s the solution?
Good thing I’m here to answer my own question!! I know exactly how to magically solve what I perceive as a massive weak spot in Hollywood (even though I’ve never written a script or story and might not get to even the scrub stage if I did). In short, stories need to be simpler. Like, does this story contain an obvious protaganist/antagonist? What makes the clash happen? Why are the characters cool/likeable/cared for? Why should anyone pay to ingest this into their consciousnesses??????????? Every great story answers those questions in spades! NOTE: the questions that need answering will differ depending on genre, but still, the basic idea remains the same.
But here’s what I’m excited about – even though stories are crummier these days, effects in film are becoming more and more awesome!! If those effects can be married to a super amazing story, then our movie-watching experience will essentially be an embarrassment of riches.
Okay, end of tangent.
Anyway, go see Prometheus. Its enjoyable. Don’t expect the second coming of Alien(s) – you won’t get it. Actually, don’t expect anything. Just sit back and take it in, and decide for yourself whether its good. THEN recognize it for what I say it is: a 50% trainwreck of NBA scrubs playing garbage time.
Grant Stevens is a freelance writer who loves basketball and eating pizza. He is known for such literary masterpieces as (INSERT ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING HE’S EVER WRITTEN), and he’s a major proponent for the correct usage of the word “ironic”. He is also known for his chart-topping album release, Silhouettes. Check out more about Grant here: www.grantstevensgroup.com.