Posted on Monday, June 11, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Reviewed by: S. Tran
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron
Director: Ridley Scott
Running time: 124 minutes
Aliens Deserved Better
Ridley Scott's 'Alien' came out in 1979 and remains a classic. In my mind the movie has withstood the passage of time and if you told someone seeing it for the very first time that it was only released a few years ago they would probably believe you. Unfortunately 'Prometheus' which is a pre-quel to the Alien mythology does nothing to advance the legend of the movie which started it all. Instead we get a clunky origins movie in which vast plot holes litter the landscape and nothing is explained.
Rapace is Elizabeth Shaw, a scientist of some sort who has been researching ancient cultures who share the same drawings about giant aliens from another solar system. Based on some crude drawings they somehow manage to determine the star system and the group is on a trillion dollar research mission funded by a company called Weyland and led by Meredith Vickers (Theron) the creepily icy daughter of the Weyland company's founder. Assisting her is David (Fassbender) a very human looking android of the same sort we saw in the Alien films.
As the ship reaches it's destination the crew attempts to piece together what happened to the 'Engineers' who visited Earth so long ago. Along the way they discover that the ship holds almost as many mysteries as the planet does.
The film is high concept and reminded me a bit of 'Mission to Mars' from a few years back. Unfortunately all the special effects in the world are not enough to save a film that should have delivered a more solid story. While we have characters agonizing over how great it would be to resolve the great mystery of life, "How did we get here?", they ultimately all start doing incredibly stupid things which turn the movie into almost parody of itself. It was as if they were writing a movie about what not to do when travelling to a strange planet. I have a hard time believing that anyone would spend $5 never mind a trillion dollars to send such a dysfunctional group of people across the universe. You would think such a mission would have the best and brightest minds, not people who think removing their helmets on an alien planet is a great idea.
When the answers finally come they actually don't reveal much at all. In a radio interview the screenwriter said his father taught him early on to be satisfied with the answers he came up with on his own to stories and mysteries rather than being given the ending. This may be great for him but when I pay $12.50 to see the movie in 3-D I want something more satisfying than what was delivered. I felt like I was watching an uncompleted screenplay.
Walking through this anemic story if Fassender as David who manages to shine in an otherwise bleak film. His unnerving portrayal as the android with his own agenda is fascinating to watch and his intellect in the film only underscores what a bunch of morons the rest of the passengers.
'Alien' fans may take something away from this but even they would be hard pressed to recommend spending money in the theatres to see it.
2.5 out of 5 stars.
S. Tran also writes at Cracked.com, Gunaxin.com and Uproxx.com