Saturday, June 16, 2012


Ok, I am going to western movies here in Mexico. No Bollywood here. Not much Bollywood on Netflix. I could sign up for ErosNow and maybe I will.

Sadly, this will be a critical review. My level of disappointment is probably in proportion to my respect for the director, Ridley Scott.

Promethus was a major disappointment. I like Ridley Scott a lot. I have seen many of his movies like Bladerunner, Aliens, and Thelma and Louise. Maybe it is because of my age, I saw Aliens years ago and it was scary. This is Aliens 2.0 and it is not scary or even a good movie. Maybe the 30 and younger crowd will like it in 3D.

Here's the basic storyline. It is about the year 2089, a rich old man decides to pursue an archaeological theory that aliens seeded humans on earth. Somehow this theory warped into these aliens must be "gods." Anyway, he thinks if he finds the planet most likely inhabited by these aliens, he will find the fountain of youth or the wisdom of god.

You have a ten person crew, with a robot, David, who awaken when the ship reaches its destination.

The movie revolves around archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw and her partner Charlie. Charlie is unprofessional and childlike. Meredith, the leader of the expedition is clueless. Several engineers think they are going to get rich quick and go off on their own. A lone security guy pops up now and then. Janek, the ship's captain and his two co-pilots, Chance and Ravel, reminded me of Hans Solo and his motley crew.

Anyway, a group goes down to the planet to explore the only visible artifact, a Mayan-like tomb. They have no safety checks other than 'don't remove your helmet.' They enter the foreboding maze of tunnels. They see hieroglyphics and David, the robot, can read them. To cut to the chase, they unknowingly release a live organism and bring it back to the ship where they use no decontamination procedures.

David, who went exploring on his own, found an alien in stasis and awakens him. The old geezer gets his chance to meet "god." But, it doesn't turn out like anyone thought. The rest of the story is about how the organism develops and threatens the crew.

I can't even begin to explain how off-putting it was to see such an elaborate set that represented sophisticated technology run by lugheads, incompetents, and greedy, ignorant idiots. Tell me how the human race was able to develop such technology and still send idiots into space. It boggles the mind.

One scene was an anomaly, the ship's captain, Janek, and his co-pilots crash their spaceship into the alien ship to save humanity. This is the first and only "noble" act in the movie.

Anyway, after various scenes of blood and guts and alien organisms, the crew is decimated all except for Elizabeth Shaw and David. In the end, they commander an extra alien spaceship that is conveniently available, and go out exploring looking for "god."

To my mind, the scriptwriter broke, at least, two rules of storytelling, one -- your audience must care about what happens to some if not all the characters. Two -- believability -- do you really think that a gazillionaire would build a sophisticated a space ship and staff it with lugheads? Or is this how private enterprise wastes money and resources? No character exhibits professionalism, teamwork, or even intellect. Each character has such individual agendas, it's a wonder they made it as far as they did. Even the robot, David, seemed off. I finally found a word for him, immature. So, right from the get go, you know the end of the movie.

My companion, who I would consider an average moviegoer, felt the same as I did, where's the tension? The only concern we had was the popcorn had too much salt.

Plus, my companion kept whispering, "Oh, it's so dull, there is no color, where is the color?"

Do you really think that if aliens propagated humans on earth that they would be such brutish, inelegant lugheads?

Oh, and the mission to find "god" was laughable. When the old geezer who started all of this, who wanted immortality, stood and faced the alien, the alien just smacked him. How's that for a godlike answer? It cracked me up.

The science in this movie is so inaccurate even I recognized it. Plus, I loved the way Elizabeth Shaw was able to program so many computer systems she had never seen before, like the surgery cubicle, in just a few keystrokes. I found it humorous. Also, the religious references were offensive.

Hard to comment on the acting, since, for me, I found none of the characters interesting or sympathetic. Actually, I did like Janek, the ship's captain. Idris Elba played the part well with warmth, humor, and humanity. But, it was such a small part, his character did not affect the overall boorish tone of the movie.

Ultimately, the problem with this movie is Scott took too many ideas from the original Aliens and used them in this movie. In Aliens, the ship was a cargo ship and the crew was a bunch of odd characters. But, even they exhibited more professionalism and teamwork than did the scientists in Promethus. In Promethus, the ship was on an exploratory mission with scientists on board yet, Scott treated it like a cargo ship full of misfits. Scott tried to alter how the alien organism functioned but is was still the same body invasive concept as in Aliens, nothing new. Surely, in the world of science fiction there are other stories of aliens or invasive organisms that could have been used. This is like a remake of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The one good thing I can say about this movie is, it is the first "horror" film where I laughed. I wasn't scared for a second.

Now, I don't like doing negative reviews because they exhibit simplistic analysis and even jealousy or envy, maybe. While I am not jealous or envious of Mr. Scott, I do wish Hollywood would spend that kind of money on my screenplay. Gosh, I don't even need 100+ million, 50 million would do just fine. Hey, Hollywood, call me, I have great science fiction story about a human who falls in love with an alien. She is telepathic and more. But, I don't want to give it all away, contact me.

Bollywood is not immune to this "blindness" which is what I call the process that produces an expensive bad movie. Somebody somewhere did not listen to their instincts but may have been swayed by other reasons to produce this movie.