Sunday, June 10, 2012

Prometheus - Ft. Michael Fassbender's Butt

Whether or not you may have actually seen the original Alien film, I think the trailers for Prometheus managed to generate hype enough on their own, nostalgia factor or no. Hell, they were so epic that I sampled the already fairly iconic siren (which, oddly enough, is so discrete in the actual film that I hardly remember it going off at all) in a song of mine. The midnight showing I attended was packed to the brim, and for good reason - this is a damn good movie, and not just because it illuminates the initial conception of the infamous Xenomorphs.

Probably one of the greatest draws for me personally was the prominent role of Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class, Shame) as David, a synthetic human in the vein of Bishop in the second Alien film, and his pivotal roles in the overall plot, combined with the unique perspective his character offers throughout, seem enough to justify watching the movie just for him (and his glorious 3-D butt). However, as the plot progressed, and the ultimately main character, Shaw, became more and more the focus, and as her character developed, it became more enjoyable to watch her as (spoiler) every other member of the crew is killed off.

As can be easily guessed, this is, of course, a horror movie at its heart, so expect death. Lots and lots of glorious, bloody, fiery, gruesome death. (Oh yeah, don't watch this if you're squeamish.) However, it's also a sci-fi movie, so all is not death. The premise of the plot is, in fact, quite ripe for some good story (of which Prometheus is not lacking); the opening of the film depicts Shaw discovering what she interprets as an invitation by the so-called Engineers - of humanity. Of course, the prospect of Man having been planted on Earth by an alien species brings with it what becomes something of a crisis of faith for Shaw, who wears a cross on her neck for most of the movie, even in spite of the possibility that Man may be nothing more than an experiment. (This is demonstrated well by a conversation between David and Shaw's husband Charlie which, in summation, implies that Man was not engineered for any grand purpose but made, as Charlie says, 'because [they] can.') It is this small dose of philosophy that really makes the movie for me, and keeps me excited for the already-rumored sequel that may serve to tie up what loose ends are left by Prometheus.

While Prometheus is indeed a prequel to the Alien franchise, don't expect Shaw to run into any Xenomorphs just yet. The focus in terms of extraterrestrials is the Engineers, which, to be fair, are enigmatic enough to warrant such a focus. However, it seems to be on this point of the film that every other critic cannot make up their collective mind; Prometheus is, at best, tangential to Alien, but seems to do well enough at connecting the two movies, and this tangentiality leaves Prometheus plenty of room in which to weave its own story, which is really what makes it such a good movie - it can stand alone in an already-established universe, but viewing it in the context of the Alien franchise brings it to an entirely new level. This is worldbuilding at it finest.

This is the part where I talk about all the little things that annoyed me, though. For a two-hour movie, it feels terribly short, possibly due to what's left unanswered by the end of the movie. Some of the deaths felt overly arbitrary, especially (spoiler) Charlie's. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough, but I did not see as much of Michael Fassbender's butt as I had heard I was in for. Also (spoiler) the scene where David wakes up the last surviving Engineer and tries to speak to it, only to get his head ripped off, is very jarring, though in a horror sense, it's easily forgivable.

But nevermind all the nitpicking. This is an amazing piece of work that you need to go see at your earliest convenience. Or inconvenience. I don't really care, nor does Michael Fassbenders' butt.

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