The Horror Honeys: On the second day of Christmas, my True Love gave me Aliens.

On the second day of Christmas, my True Love gave me Aliens.

A Sci-Fi Honey Alien Series Retrospective Part 4 

Prometheus (2012)

Next week I’ll be doing a tandem review of Alien: Resurrection with the lovely Revenge Honey, which is technically #4 in the Alien series. But this week, I’m heading back to Prequel Land. Or forward to Prequel Land since this is the most recent movie… Anyway, I’m reviewing Prometheus, you get Resurrection next week. ‘Cause I do what I want.

Prometheus takes place in the year 2089, following the crew of the spaceship Prometheus as it follows a ‘star map’ (not a map to the stars’ homes like you find in L.A.) discovered by archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway through cave drawings and artifacts of several ancient cultures on Earth. The Prometheus arrives on a distant world after travelling for over two years, seeking the ‘Engineers’ who may have created human life. The crew discover a dome, begin to explore it, and find evidence of the Engineers, and learn that there may be a threat to Earth’s existence. What that threat turns out to be, you may sort-of be able to guess, since this planet is the one that Ripley and the gang land on in Alien. And you’d be kind of right and kind of not. That’s all I’m sayin’, in case you haven’t seen Prometheus

I have to say, the opening scenes of Prometheus are amazing. Gorgeous. This is some of the most beautiful cinematography I’ve seen. The opening scene travels up a waterfall, and shows an Engineer on Earth with a spaceship above him, and it was fantastic. The Engineer is an eight foot tall, pale, sculpted, regal looking humanoid, I thought it was really well done. The sequence where the Engineer begins the process of creating life on Earth was great. 

See? Gorgeous.

The effects in general for Prometheus are lighter in colour than the four Alien movies - The alien creatures are pale, the engineers are pale, there is more lighting overall. Geiger’s work is a lot darker, from the Alien to the ships to the planet. In Prometheus they discover the ship that Ripley and crew discover in Alien, so obviously that couldn’t be changed much in style or it wouldn’t match. I really liked the look and style of Prometheus; it felt more modern than the look of Alien, despite events taking place many years before, which is logical since it was shot many years after the original series of movies. Don’t get me wrong, I like Geiger’s style, but this was refreshing and interesting, and the lighter look helps differentiate it from the original movies.

Mural on the ceiling of the dome.  See anyone you know?

The acting in Prometheus is generally really good. The lead actress who plays Elizabeth Shaw, Noomi Rapace, does a great job as the archaeologist who believes in God, who is really only on this trip to meet her ‘Maker’. She wants to look the Engineers in the eye and ask ‘Why’. Interestingly, she doesn’t see this as being unfaithful to God, she believes that science and religion can coexist, that ‘Something had to create the Engineers’, and she has a burning need to find out where the Engineers came from. I can relate, I’d feel the same way. 

Cut up, stapled back together, keeps going.  Awesome.
And she is one tough mother, lemme tell you. She gets beaten up and cut open and stapled back together and fights some more and takes on an eight foot Engineer and runs and jumps and fights alien creatures and holy shit this woman takes a licking and keeps on ticking, Ripley would be proud. This woman is not a victim. What’s interesting though, is that unlike in Aliens, where the women were pretty much ‘butched up’ to show they are tough (shaved heads, muscles, swearing, giant guns…) Shaw has pretty much zero weaponry, isn’t a big or tough looking woman, but she is like a terrier, she never stops. I am impressed with Ridley Scott for giving us a female lead who can be unassuming on the surface but still kick ass. Well done, sir.

It's so pretty, he's so pretty.  Pretty.
Michael Fassbender plays the requisite Android, named David, and his character is an interesting one. He initially displays human-like qualities - he watches old movies, shows sympathy for crew members who are throwing up after waking up from cryo-sleep. When he is treated by crew members like a non-human, he acts non-human, denying he has feelings or ‘wants’. And yet later, he seems to take revenge upon a crew member who repeatedly tells David how non-human he is, and shows really subtle emotions when that crew member is making fun of him. Fassbender does a great job, as he always does.

Charlize Theron plays Meredith Vickers, a rather icy villain character, who is related to an elderly man who was the founder/CEO of the corporation (played by an unrecognizable Guy Pearce) funding the expedition. She has a contentious relationship with David, they are almost like siblings, complete with sibling rivalry. They even look alike, which apparently was intentional. I didn’t find her character totally necessary, other than to play the usual Corporate Villain that generally appears in the Alien movies. She played it well, but she felt superfluous.

Wait, haven't we met? On a deserted planet somewhere?
Never mind, I'll figure it out.
I really like the overall theme and story of the movie, even if the dialogue wasn’t spectacular. The movie wasn’t about ‘going to another planet and getting attacked by aliens and pretty much everyone dying and then a survivor or two escape and then there is a sequel’. This movie dealt with creation as a whole, as befitting a prequel - creation of the human race, and creation of the Alien race as we come to know it. I found it particularly interesting how the Alien creature evolved, changing as it went from host to host, until it becomes something we recognize.
Hmmm, I definitely think I met your cousin.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. It’s actually my favourite viewing experience of the series retrospective so far - although it’s not the same animal as Alien, so it’s kind of like apples and oranges.  It’s a bit less action and more cerebral, obviously the effects are better than they would have been 30 years ago. I’m really glad I watched this movie, I loved it.

Welcome to my vaguely penis-y ship.

Sci-Fi Honey Lowdown: I really dig this movie. There is still lots of action in Prometheus, even though less than the four originals. It has a couple of truly gross effects I actually had to turn my head away from, beautiful cinematography, and kept me engaged.  Noomi Rapace does a fine job playing a strong female lead who flies under the radar for most of the movie, but is a quietly kick-ass character who endures more abuse than I can count and in the end doesn’t give up, she wants to keep looking for answers. Ridley Scott announced that the script for a sequel was completed in October 2013, I’m hoping it goes forward, I want to know what happens next!

Sci-Fi Honey Rating: I give Prometheus 4.5 Eight Foot tall surprisingly dickish Engineers out of Five. Beautiful, action-packed and really interesting.