Aractus

Blog of Daniel Baxter, now secure! :)

Free SSL from Let's Encrypt!

Archive for June, 2012

Prometheus

Rarely do we see great films these days. This movie had a lot to live up to, but no film directed by Ridley Scott is a bad movie, and this is no exception. That said, I actually haven’t seen all of his films, so let’s talk about some of them briefly.

Alien.

This movie is a masterpiece, with nothing out of place it’s hard to find any problems within it. Like “The Exorcist” it is simply a classic film of the genre and none of the sequels could match it.

Blade Runner.

Far from being a refined piece I like to think of this akin to Alien 3; a movie produced without a clear script and ultimately in this case with a lot of unused footage/plot and other production difficulties. Ultimately, Scott made the decision to put in a voice over – something he later regretted. While not a perfect film, for all its flaws, it is still a “cult classic” and a good movie in many ways ahead of its time. A note about the book, its themes and story are so radically different from the film that, quite frankly, in my opinion they could have gotten away with not paying royalties to Philip K. Dick. With that said, Dick was unhappy about the changes, so Scott liaised with him, worked with him, prior to his death Dick had only good things to say about the film (unfinished) and Scott, which is a tribute to the quality of the film’s story and themes.

Hannibal.

Before Tom Harris disappointed us with “Hannibal Rising”, he delivered this novel as the concluding chapter of the “Hannibal Trilogy”. It is by far the longest of the novels within the “Hannibal universe”; and consequently much of the original plot is necessarily unused. When I read the book, however, I loved it. I actually saw the film in theaters before reading it; and it had gone out of my mind. What Scott delivered in the film adaptation certainly matched the quality of the novel and brought to life Mason and the other characters. It also had the burden of fitting the previous film installment “Silence of the Lambs”; which many believe to be the best of the three books. It was most certainly not the disappointment of the film “Red Dragon” (frankly Hopkins should be ashamed of himself for that film) or “Hannibal Rising”. All criticisms for the movie came from criticisms within the book, or the fact that Scott changed the ending (but the endings of Manhunter/Silence of the Lambs/Red Dragon are also different to the corresponding books). If you don’t like the story that’s fine, but if you do like it then the film is masterful.

Prometheus.

Just a gentle warning there are some “light” spoilers. That is, I’m not going into specifics but I am talking about plot, read ahead at your discretion.

Like Alien it is not based on a book. So we can’t go back and criticize it for being unfaithful to the story, or leaving out important plot elements, or anything else. Many will consider this to be the Fifth Alien film; or many who hate Alien Resurrection will consider it to be the Fourth. It actually takes place where Alien 2 or Alien 3 or Alien 4 should have taken place. That is, on the planet where the f*ing aliens came from. Well, maybe not “The” planet, but a step closer to the original source anyway. In Alien, it is abundantly clear that the spaceship that crashed into the planet brought the Aliens there from some other world. We now have a chance to see how such a thing could have happened.

So fans of Alien will be very happy. I do have a criticism for this film, however, and that is that it borrows too many story cues from Alien that make some of the story predictable, and it also ends clearly leading into a potential sequel. Both of these mistakes were avoidable. In my mind no movie should end leading into the potential sequel; it’s much better if the audience doesn’t know what the sequel’s possible plot could be. But from the ending of this film, we already know exactly where the sequel is going. As for the plot cues, one in particular would have worked better if it had actually mirrored the original Alien closer in its subtlety, but instead it was made blatantly obvious. I can also think of two examples where the film loses believability, which is also unfortunate (mind you neither was anywhere near as bad as surviving an atom bomb by locking yourself in a fridge).

The original Alien is a five-star film, in my opinion this is a strong four-star film. I would have given it four-and-a-half if it was a bit less predictable. It still built suspense, although not as much as Alien, and it still has a very strong story, so all in all it was an excellent movie. I put it on par with Blade-Runner. If you see the film I hope you enjoy it.