Thursday, August 16, 2012

Prometheus - Are You Getting This?

"Prometheus" which I was very much looking forward to, disappointed me, too! So, no, Prometheus, I'm not getting this.

What's going on? First "Total Recall", now this. Jeesh! The only new movie I've liked so far is "Dark Knight Rises". Sure, there were cool things in "Prom", but Ridley, you can do much better. You HAVE done much better.


I won't go into the story or details or the retreads of old ideas, some work, some don't. I won't go into the characters or lack thereof. I can name on one alien hand how many I actually cared whether they lived, died or were turned into god knows what. I just didn't care about them. Any of them. Like John Carpenter's "The Thing", I didn't like them, either. Johnny C made that same mistake back when he chose to remake one his favorite films, Hawks' classic "The Thing From Another World", which, as everyone knows, is filled to the brim with likable wonderful characters, good, bad and indifferent, all different and all real. "Prometheus" remakes the error Carpenter made in his remake, peppering the story with unlikeables. Ridley should've called it "The Unlikeables". The only 'person' who had personality was the robot! Was Ridley giving a tribute to Kubrick, making the machine 'more human than human'? He did, after all, name him David!

I did like the other tributes that I caught, i.e. the musical references from the score of Cameron's "Aliens" and some of the new concepts, though most were not used well enough or were wasted entirely. And I did very much enjoy all of the "Lawrence of Arabia" bits, including even a subtle line by Claude Raines from the classic Lean masterpiece, "big things have small beginnings (sir)"! In a strange coincidence we were talking about that very film in the lobby just before we went in. I was relating to friends about an incident at the Tokyo International Film Festival some years back where right in the middle of the scheduled classic film "Lawrence of Arabia" the chandelier suddenly began to sway. No, there was no chandelier in the desert - the one in the theater was swaying - like Zorro was swinging from it! I wasn't under the overly elaborate, and quite heavy, lighting fixture, thankfully, but I had an instant and total recall of that scene in "Poseidon Adventure" where one comes crashing down on the passengers and I could swear the guy in front of me looked like Roddy McDowall.

No, we didn't get hit by a tidal wave but we were having an earthquake right there in the middle of the festival, totally unscheduled - the nerve! Then, the film melted a hole through Omar Sharif's gorgeous black tunic and snapped, leaving only a bright white screen and a blinking audience of jittery folks who weren't sure whether to stay seated or start filing out.

The room soon stopped swaying and as the announcement came over the PA telling us it was a small quake and not to worry, we didn't. They asked us to be calm and remain seated. So we did. This was before 3.11, of course. Now, I'd charge out of that room like Peter O'Toole, saber raised, screaming 'NO PRISONERS!!'

But anyway, "Prometheus" was all right. Not great. It added elements to the Alien story that were not onlynot needed, but their inclusion wiped away yet another layer of mystery that I prefer remain enshrouded for eternity. I liked not knowing about those elephantine creatures. And I had always thought of them as benign and victims of the 'alien' which they were either transporting or had infested their ship too.

And talk about happy endings! I like happy endings as a rule, but this happy ending is not one of those I'd include. It was ridiculous! Good grief. Okay, to all those "Blade Runner" Director's Cut folks out there who hated the 'happy ending' post elevator door shut scene in "Blade Runner" - you know, the overland shots from cousin Kubey's outtakes of "The Shining" and the scene in the car with the, yes, wonderful line:

"Gaff had been there and let her live. Four years, he figured. He was wrong. Tyrell had told me Rachel was special. No termination date. I didn't know how long we'd have together. Who does?"

(from memory, may not be exactly as it was said, but that's how I remember it).

Okay, so to all those folks who hate that, I repeat, wonderful ending of "Blade Runner" the original theatrical release, if you now dare to state your love for the ending of "Prometheus", I shall call you out as hypocrites of the first order, pronouncing this universal challenge to you all: Duel with me on this point, and of the first of you to fall I shall build a statue in your memory.

Ridley, to quote from your own movie:

"Try harder".

Prometheus: B-