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Prometheus (2012)


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#81 Ryan H.

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 08:27 AM

Yes, I like ALIEN 3 more than ALIENS.

Where is a plain old stun-eyed emoticon when you need one? The highlighted ones are too esoteric.

Hah.

My preference for ALIEN 3 is contingent on the ALIEN 3 in discussion being the longer "Assembly Cut," and not the much shorter "Theatrical Cut."

#82 Anders

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 09:10 AM

And as far as Ridley Scott's reputation goes, it doesn't help that his next few films -- Blade Runner, Legend -- were even *more* dramatically inert (though again, they had style to burn). Another reason Ridley Scott is not one of my favorite directors is because his occasional forays into serious history -- 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Kingdom of Heaven -- get downright cartoonish in their approach to the "bad guys" of history.


As far as BLADE RUNNER goes, I don't think the dramatic "inertness" is a knock against BLADE RUNNER. I recently re-watched it and love how slowly paced it is. It really is almost a sci-fi art film (following Bordwell's definition of art cinema as emphasizing ambiguity, authorship and realism). Sure, it doesn't have a strong narrative thrust, but that's not what it's really about nor is that the defining quality of good cinema.

I had forgotten *how* slow it was. I had always thought the scene where Deckard finds Zhora and Leon came much earlier, but it's almost at the half-way point of the film!.

Anyway, I'm working on a piece for Three Brothers Film about BLADE RUNNER that should be up before PROMETHEUS.

#83 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 10:55 AM

Ryan H. wrote:
: But what is ALIENS? "Just" an action movie, albeit one with an admirable level of intensity. See, it works both ways. Posted Image

Well, it COULD work both ways, if it weren't for the fact that the Ripley-Newt relationship is at the heart of Aliens and lends it an extra punch far beyond a mere bug hunt. I could also add that Aliens was arguably the first mainstream film to give us a genuine action heroine, and the surrogate mother-daughter relationship that they represent is still quite rare (or at any rate it feels quite rare; I can think of fathers rescuing daughters, in Commando and Live Free or Die Hard, and mothers rescuing sons, in Terminator 2, but I can't think of any other mother-daughter combos off the top of my head).

: The thing is, ALIEN is such a brilliant mood piece. The film is breathtakingly designed, shot, and edited, resulting in a film that is as chilling and uncanny as any film I've ever seen.

Yeah, I don't disagree with this, as far as it goes.

: ALIENS has something more of a story, but it loses the emphasis on the nightmarish, dream-like mood and instead places emphasis on action rather than in atmospheric dread and suspense, and I'm kinda so-so on it for that reason.

I would prefer to say that Aliens balances these two elements, instead of emphasizing one *rather than* the other. But sure, when you get the adrenaline flowing, it's not so easy to soak in the mood.

: Y'know, I recently did a run-through of the ALIEN trilogy on Blu-Ray in anticipation of PROMETHEUS (I pretend the fourth film doesn't exist) . . .

I guess I shouldn't ask if you watched the two Alien vs. Predator films, then. Posted Image

: Yes, I like ALIEN 3 more than ALIENS.

Uh, wow.

: My preference for ALIEN 3 is contingent on the ALIEN 3 in discussion being the longer "Assembly Cut," and not the much shorter "Theatrical Cut."

Y'know, I tried to watch the "Assembly Cut" several times after I bought the Alien Quadrilogy boxed set, and I don't think I managed to stay awake through the entire thing once. That was almost a decade ago, though. (Then again, it was before I had kids, so I'm not sure what my excuse was. I fall asleep in the middle of stuff all the time NOW, but THEN...?)

SDG wrote:
: Then in the commissary chest-bursting scene, instead of being horrified and grossed out as generations of moviegovers have been, David is like, "So. They didn't scan his body. Like I said they should."

Heh. It *does* make sense that something which clamped itself onto someone's face/mouth might have deposited something in there, doesn't it?

: Of course later, when the chest-burster is revealed to have grown to enormous proportions, David immediately says, "Where'd all that mass come from? What's it been eating?"

Yeah, I've wondered that too. Hmmm. Do they store food somewhere on that ship?

Edited by Peter T Chattaway, 26 May 2012 - 10:58 AM.


#84 Ryan H.

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 01:05 PM

Well, it COULD work both ways, if it weren't for the fact that the Ripley-Newt relationship is at the heart of Aliens and lends it an extra punch far beyond a mere bug hunt. I could also add that Aliens was arguably the first mainstream film to give us a genuine action heroine, and the surrogate mother-daughter relationship that they represent is still quite rare (or at any rate it feels quite rare; I can think of fathers rescuing daughters, in Commando and Live Free or Die Hard, and mothers rescuing sons, in Terminator 2, but I can't think of any other mother-daughter combos off the top of my head).

Those aspects do make ALIENS stand out. That said, I'm not sure that I think the handling of the Ripley/Newt relationship is all exceptional. Cameron is not a great writer, and I much prefer the more fly-on-the-wall, documentary-like dramatic style writing in ALIEN to the more blockbuster-y writing of ALIENS.

Furthermore, my preference is not such that I really want "heart" mixed in with my horror cinema. My favorite horror films tend to be cold and brutal and bleak.

I would prefer to say that Aliens balances these two elements, instead of emphasizing one *rather than* the other. But sure, when you get the adrenaline flowing, it's not so easy to soak in the mood.

It doesn't help that the production design and cinematography of ALIENS are not quite in ALIEN's league. That said, I must confess that ALIENS looks pretty lovely on Blu-Ray (the improvement in the picture quality from previous DVD releases is pretty astonishing), it's just not in the best-ever category of ALIEN.

Y'know, I tried to watch the "Assembly Cut" several times after I bought the Alien Quadrilogy boxed set, and I don't think I managed to stay awake through the entire thing once. That was almost a decade ago, though. (Then again, it was before I had kids, so I'm not sure what my excuse was. I fall asleep in the middle of stuff all the time NOW, but THEN...?)

Well, the Assembly Cut does have a very dry stretch in the middle. But I love the first hour of the film, and really appreciate the last fifteen minutes, too.

Edited by Ryan H., 26 May 2012 - 01:09 PM.


#85 Darryl A. Armstrong

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 01:43 PM

Y'know, I tried to watch the "Assembly Cut" several times after I bought the Alien Quadrilogy boxed set, and I don't think I managed to stay awake through the entire thing once. That was almost a decade ago, though. (Then again, it was before I had kids, so I'm not sure what my excuse was. I fall asleep in the middle of stuff all the time NOW, but THEN...?)

Well, the Assembly Cut does have a very dry stretch in the middle. But I love the first hour of the film, and really appreciate the last fifteen minutes, too.


I was going to mention that I always really liked Alien 3 (although not as much as the 1st two - but it always seemed to get a really bad wrap, when I thought it was a solid follow up) and even defended my position here, but was pretty much shot down, but I see from the bumped thread that appears to have been on the old board. Aside: Wow, this community's really been around for awhile - I'm starting to feel old.

#86 Buckeye Jones

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 01:55 PM

Two films give me nightmares still after having seen them back in the eighties--John Carpenter's The Thing, and Scott's Alien. Aliens I can watch without flinching--Alien still creeps me out with Giger's biomechanical design.

#87 Jason Panella

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 10:41 PM

I prefer Alien Resurrection over th— OK, who am I kidding?

I love both Alien and Aliens — I think the former is maybe the better film overall, but I'd (hands down) rather watch the latter most days of the week.

#88 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 01:10 AM

Ryan H. wrote:
: Cameron is not a great writer . . .

That may be, but I honestly can't think of any quotable lines from Alien, whereas I frequently find myself quoting lines from Aliens (as much for the way they were performed as for the way they were written).

#89 Ryan H.

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 07:42 AM

Ryan H. wrote:
: Cameron is not a great writer . . .

That may be, but I honestly can't think of any quotable lines from Alien, whereas I frequently find myself quoting lines from Aliens (as much for the way they were performed as for the way they were written).

I'm not sure that the quality of dialogue is always measured by its quotability.

Edited by Ryan H., 27 May 2012 - 08:45 AM.


#90 Joel Mayward

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 09:02 AM

I watched all four films of the quadrilogy about two weeks ago, just to refresh my memory before Prometheus. I'm in the Alien > Aliens camp, but Alien is only slightly better, IMHO. Alien is about atmosphere, and Aliens is about action, and I generally prefer the former to the latter. I also can't stand Bill Paxton's character in Aliens, and agree with Ryan H: Cameron's writing generally puts me off. He makes up for it with the action sequences and set design, but I could handle only so many derivative action lines from a very worked-up Paxton. That said, for the climactic battle between Ripley and the queen, Aliens manages to enthrall me with every viewing.

Having never seen the fourth film before but hearing plenty about how terrible it was, I was surprised to learn that it was written by Joss Whedon and directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. I've loved or appreciated nearly everything both have done. So I went into it thinking, "people just must have misunderstood it, because those two are pretty great at what they do." I was very very wrong.

#91 John Drew

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 02:23 PM

Ryan H. wrote:
: Cameron is not a great writer . . .

That may be, but I honestly can't think of any quotable lines from Alien, whereas I frequently find myself quoting lines from Aliens (as much for the way they were performed as for the way they were written).


"Here kitty, kitty..." I say that nearly every day. I'm pretty sure that wasn't around before Alien. Posted Image

#92 andrew_b_welch

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 05:18 PM

Since everyone's debating ALIEN/ALIENS here, I'll go ahead and pose a question here instead of on some other thread:

As someone who hasn't seen any of the ALIEN movies (I know, I know...), is it better to start with the theatrical version of ALIEN or Ridley Scott's director's cut? I checked out a DVD that has both, but I may only have time for one.

#93 kenmorefield

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 05:45 PM

Since everyone's debating ALIEN/ALIENS here, I'll go ahead and pose a question here instead of on some other thread:

As someone who hasn't seen any of the ALIEN movies (I know, I know...), is it better to start with the theatrical version of ALIEN or Ridley Scott's director's cut? I checked out a DVD that has both, but I may only have time for one.


Andrew, I'll let Ridley Scott take that one:

In 1979, when ALIEN was originally released, I felt that the theatrical cut of the film was the best I could possibly make it. I was very pleased with its pace and structure, and although there were several scenes left on the cutting room floor, I didn't miss any of them. For all intents and purposes, I felt that the original cut of ALIEN was perfect.

I still feel that way.

The traditional definition of the term 'Director's Cut' suggests the restoration of a director's oriignal vision, free of any creative limitations [...]


Scott goes on to describe how Fox approached him about doing it for the DVD, how he didn't like the new cut but understood the need to put something "new" to induce people to pay for the content again and basically compromised to include some footage that would be of interest to those who had already seen the film. He makes clear, though, that he prefers the theatrical cut.

If you are a commentary track kind of person, though, I might suggest watching the last fifteen minutes or so of the commentary on the director's cut in which Scott and Weaver discuss what they would want to do in a sequel and why (i.e. what questions interest him) as I think that would have some bearing on PROMETHEUS.

#94 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 01:47 AM

I've posted some thoughts on my recent viewing of the original Alien in the thread for that film, but I wanted to follow up on one point here:

  • The company: what it knew, and what it intended to do.

    If the company that sends the Prometheus is the same company that Ripley worked for in the other movies, then why, in Aliens (i.e. the James Cameron film) could they have been so utterly skeptical, ignorant, or unaware of the aliens that Ripley claimed to have found on that planet?

    You might say the company was simply PRETENDING to be ignorant, etc. But the film itself makes it pretty clear that the colony they planted there had no contact with the aliens until AFTER Ripley alerted the company to the aliens' presence. (It was AFTER Ripley told the company about the aliens that Carter Burke sent instructions for someone at the colony to look for the crashed spaceship.) It seems pretty clear that, as far as Cameron was concerned at least, the alien contact in the first film was spontaneous and stayed off the company's radar until they found Ripley drifting in space decades later.

I don't know why I hadn't remembered this earlier, but there is a bit of dialogue in Alien where the captain, Dallas, tells Ripley that his regular science officer was replaced by Ash (i.e. the android) only two days before they set out on their current trip. So the clear implication would seem to be that Ash wasn't just one of many androids planted on company ships; rather, he was deliberately placed on THIS particular ship, for THIS particular journey, to ensure that THIS particular alien beacon would be checked out.

It kind of makes you wonder why the company could have been ignorant of the alien presence on that world half-a-century later (and were there no OTHER attempts to check out that beacon in the interim?), but that's a problem for Cameron's film, not Scott's films. (And I'm not saying it's an insurmountable problem, either; you could always imagine that files went missing, or that the company didn't think it was cost-effective to keep sending ships that went missing, etc. Oh, and you could also always imagine that the Space Jockey's beacon ran out of power and stopped transmitting somewhere along the way -- otherwise the colonists in Aliens surely would have noticed it, no?)

#95 Ryan H.

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 04:49 AM

Cameron's explanation was that in between ALIEN and ALIENS volcanic activity had cracked open the derelict and stopped the beacon from functioning.

#96 Rachel Anne

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 10:31 AM

(And I'm not saying it's an insurmountable problem, either; you could always imagine that files went missing, or that the company didn't think it was cost-effective to keep sending ships that went missing, etc.)


Of course, "companies" don't know anything, lacking minds and such. People in companies know things. We don't know how many people in the company in Alien had knowledge of the alien spaceship. Possibly there was just a few (or even one), who acted like Burke did in Aliens, arranging the mission secretly to maximize personal profit, and, after the disappearance of the Nostromo, decided to cover up the whole thing and destroy all records of it to avoid being saddled with the responsibility for the loss of the ship (which as we are told in Aliens, was worth $42M, less payload) and the lives of the crew.

All just audience rationalization, of course.

#97 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 01:20 PM

Jeffrey Wells reports that the film opens tomorrow in France, Belgium and the French-speaking part of Switzerland -- are there really no reviews of it out there yet?

I also love watching the newest featurette, which focuses on the design of the titular ship, so soon after seeing the original film (which, remember, takes place *after* this one) and its considerably lower-tech '70s designs (I mean, the computer screens alone...).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCezT-9kE14

Ryan H. wrote:
: Cameron's explanation was that in between ALIEN and ALIENS volcanic activity had cracked open the derelict and stopped the beacon from functioning.

Awesome -- I *knew* Cameron would have an answer for this! (Unlike that Ridley "who cares?" Scott dude.)

#98 Ryan H.

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 06:25 PM

Jeffrey Wells reports that the film opens tomorrow in France, Belgium and the French-speaking part of Switzerland -- are there really no reviews of it out there yet?

Only in French. You can look 'em up if you want, but the Google Translate doesn't do the reviews many favors. Spoilers abound, too.

It does seem that the reaction to PROMETHEUS has been decidedly mixed, with most praising the scale, the themes, and visual design of PROMETHEUS, but with complaints about the characters not played by Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender being rather undeveloped, about the film having a somewhat scattershot narrative development, and about the film's uneasy relationship to ALIEN.

Edited by Ryan H., 29 May 2012 - 06:47 PM.


#99 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 12:37 AM

Ryan H. wrote:
: Only in French. You can look 'em up if you want, but the Google Translate doesn't do the reviews many favors. Spoilers abound, too.

Well, I'm seeing it in a couple days, so I can wait, at this point; I'm just surprised that none of the sites I follow have been offering translated excerpts from those reviews.

#100 Ryan H.

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 08:31 PM

Reviews:

Peter Bradshaw @ The Guardian
"It is a muddled, intricate, spectacular film, but more or less in control of all its craziness and is very watchable. It lacks the central killer punch of Alien: it doesn't have its satirical brilliance and its tough, rationalist attack on human agency and guilt. But there's a driving narrative impulse, and, however silly, a kind of idealism, a sense that it's exciting to make contact with whatever's out there."

Todd McCarthy @ The Hollywood Reporter
"Ridley Scott's third venture into science fiction, after Alien in 1979 and Blade Runner in 1982, won't become a genre benchmark like those classics despite its equivalent seriousness and ambition, but it does supply enough visual spectacle, tense action and sticky, slithery monster attacks to hit the spot with thrill-seeking audiences worldwide."

Justin Chang @ Variety
"Elaborately conceived from a visual standpoint, Ridley Scott's first sci-fier in the three decades since "Blade Runner" remains earthbound in narrative terms, forever hinting at the existence of a higher intelligence without evincing much of its own."

Tim Robey @ The Telegraph
"Scott may have set himself an impossible challenge here, both in satisfying commercial hopes and doing justice to the bigger questions he wants to address: for all the tentacular mayhem going on it it, the film can't please everyone all the time. For the time being, with expectations ever so slightly lowered, it's something to gorge on hungrily all the same: majestic to look at in every way, and wild enough that many of the opening-night crowd -- this viewer included -- will be right back for seconds."

Tom Huddleston @ TimeOut London
"Perhaps more than any other film, ‘Prometheus’ is reminiscent of Chris Nolan’s ‘Inception’: it’s slick, gorgeously designed and scattered with intriguing concepts. But there’s just no real power behind it. The characters are thin and emotionless, the plot twists are predictable and the entire thing seems built on ideas plucked from superior predecessors (in addition to the original ‘Alien’ movies, there’s a little bit of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, a touch of ‘The Abyss’ and a whole lot of ‘Star Trek’). There’s no denying that ‘Prometheus’ will make for a perfectly entertaining night at the movies – but we were promised so much more."