Monday, 29 October 2012

Ridley Scott's Prometheus explained for morons

A bit peeved.
Finally caught up with that big movie of the summer, the one that allegedly made no sense, left a million loose ends, and requires half an hour of extras on the blu-ray to explain. I was expecting something like Peter Greenaway's Prosperos Books or some Terence Malik art  film. Instead I saw the best Alien movie since James Cameron's, leaving me with a level of stupefied disbelief at the people who struggled to deal with the plot.

What bits honestly didn't you understand? Can I dumb it down enough for you?

- It's  a remake of Aliens vs Predator with less Predators and more pretty pictures

Is that dumb enough?

How about

- it's a spooky mysterious space monster movie

It's got 'loose ends'? Hello? Blade Runner anyone? I guess these people are completely unfamiliar with anything ever written by Phiilp K Dick?
Unexplained plot elements? Does someone want to to explain to me how Daniel Craig acquired Sean Connery's gadget equipped Aston Martin in the "the best bond film of all time"*
(*all British newspapers)

Is it not enough that, aside from the Alien stuff, Prometheus is obviously the best Ridley Scott film since 2007, arguably since Gladiator (If you want to gauge the level of improvement, Ridley Scott's last movie featured 13th century landing craft in the most flat out ridiculous beach scene I've ever seen in a movie).

One of the benefits of being a middle aged movie fan is that you can remember the drubbing that classic movies got upon their original release. It is recognised today that classics like Blade Runner and John Carpenter's The Thing were somewhat - ahem - under appreciated on their release; but people forget Ridley Scott's Alien got a similar rough ride. "Nonsensical" is a word I remember. "Good horror movie terrible scifi movie" is another. "Captain Kirk wouldn't blow his ship up by accident" was maybe the most flat out stupid.

The lapses in logic in Alien, AND The Thing AND Prometheus are, for me, a bonus. These are nightmares. I don't want everything fully explained. I like that I don't know WTF Pyramid Head is in Silent Hill. I want my terror to come with a hefty dose of disorientation.

Loose ends? You should try some Italian horror movies.. it would take a week of DVD extras to explain the haunted underwater basement in Dario Argento's Inferno. Honestly,  these people would need a 5000 word backstory to view Fuseli's Nightmare.

The Alien films all generally make narrative sense but the horror of disorientation is a theme running through them, not so much in nightmare imagery like heads growing spider legs and running across the floor, but just in the loss of trusted authority figures. From the death of Captain Dallas on-wards the authority figure in each of the Alien movies dies or is lost and the collapse of the group dynamic (in contrast to the united front of 50s monster movies) is all part of the nightmare.

Compared to some of those re-valuated 80s classics Prometheus actually got an easy ride from critics this summer and made enough money for Ridley and Co to consider a sequel.What I think really irritates me is that I was lead to expect some Giger drenched version of The Shining and actually got something fast paced and straightforward, that was nevertheless beguiling, mysterious, thought provoking, funny and really scary in places. Frankly, for me, it could have been a whole lot more vague and mysterious, but I loved it as it was.

I highly recommend Prometheus for your Halloween viewing.

Mysterious inexplicable fish loose ends from the trip to see Damien Hirst's Verity statue in Ilfracome harbour

Y'know.. just because I know there are people who respond to this blog who genuinely, no kidding, ARE morons.. the plot of Prometheus is explained here

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