First off, Happy Father’s Day everyone! My kids are a little odd in that they both have 4 legs and by human standards probably need a shave, but they woke me up with extra zest this morning (translated as slobbery licks). Today I’m actually taking it pretty easy due to a strenuous event yesterday morning which will be a topic of an upcoming post. I can’t think of a better way to relax than propping the feet up and banging out a post. Today’s topic of choice is a recollection from last Thursday when a bunch of friends and I gathered to go see the latest from Ridley Scott. For those not aware, this movie is considered a prequel to the hugely popular Alien series. Admittedly, I was somewhat excited about this movie purely based on how high of an opinion I had on the first Alien film but at the same time a little concerned based on how bad the 2nd Alien vs Predator movie was (yeah, I was entertained by the first one probably due to the fact I am a huge Predator fan but the 2nd one was just awful). For this outing we decided to hit Landmark’s Theaters which is one of the older theaters in the area and quite frankly has a tendency for interesting people watching. The rest of the guys had a bad experience the last time they went there with some people in the audience behind them, but apparently not traumatic enough to sway their decision this time. It should be pointed out that the ticket prices are very reasonable with $6 for the movie and a small popcorn/drink combination for $2 more. Contrast that with the two small drinks and small popcorn that cost my wife and I $12 at the Rave Theater last night (that didn’t include the ticket which we actually had a pass for).
Hit the jump to see how I felt about this outing
Once again we found our group making up about 50% of the total audience, but the movie had been out for a week so interest may have been waning by then. Besides, it couldn’t be that bad since Rotten Tomatoes was still giving it about a 73 rating. As it turns out, that rating was WAAAAY out of line … at least from my personal opinion and about 20 points out of line based on the consensus of the rest of the members of our group. It didn’t take too long to evolve into a riff-track viewing with my friends making wise cracks and laughing at scenes that were so stupid it was comical. This downward spiral was probably initiated from the onset of the movie. The crop on this post graphic was not a result of sloppy work on my part, but rather a reflection of the fact the theater’s screen wasn’t big enough to show the entire width of the movie. Not only could it only show the amount of the title in that graphic, any labeling that occurred on the film near the edges was also cut off (as in the locations where they found the glyphs and where they landed). Additionally it was not a digital showing so the movie had that screen-cam feel which could have played into the whole sci-fi horror theme had this show actually BEEN a sci-fi horror. Alien is a classic in the sense you really felt the terror and suspense of not know what was coming next, who was infected, where was that slime coming from. In my opinion, this movie had none of that. Instead we are bombarded with horrible character development and some of the most illogical action sequences I’ve ever seen since well.. the last Underworld movie. Adding to this disappointment, was the incongruity of props in a setting that was suppose to be in the future. It would take all day to list all of these prop problems, but as an example:
- With high tech space travel, heads up displays and fully functional robots we are still shown a damaged spaceship littered with tons of paper books – and yes, they used an iPad to control some devices.
- The high-tech medical pod is capable of automatically performing a number of medical procedures autonomously (although only programmed for one sex sigh) is capable of using a laser to cut up the body but then resorts to STAPLES to put you back together.
- They have a mechanism to auto-map the interior of the structure and create a 3D model back at the mothership but the concept of relaying that information back to the individuals on the ground has not been developed yet
- Their spacesuits need to have a vacuum seal on their helmets, but later in the show it is still functional even when their gloves are off
- It’s 2093 and no one has developed a functional space travel suit other than wrapped gauze – they could have at least given a nod to the 5th Element tape suit
- Our most effective weapon in 2093 to take on board a space traveling ship is .. a flamethrower because we all want to be storing flammable canisters in space.
- that should be enough for you to get the point
To be honest, I could get over these prop issues but when this is combined with plot holes and ridiculous action sequences it all combine into goo – an Alien ball of acidic green slime if you will. So let’s do a quick list of non-prop issues (again, just a sampling)
- You go to a strange new planet, walk into an unknown structure, validate the air makeup inside and determine it is okay for humans (although it is not outside) and immediately take off your helmet
- You tell everyone there were 17 members on board the ship but choose to only let 5 or so of them even say anything the entire movie in what is an obvious nod to disposable red guys
- Let two guys get scared and head back to the safety of the ship. However, when the big storm comes in they hurry back to the vehicles and there are the same number they came in – when they get back to the ship they are in complete wonderment that the other two had not shown up
- Leave two of your crew trapped in an unknown structure (holding beheaded creatures) and don’t even help them understand the lay of the land (from their 3D model back at the ship). Rather than worry about them instead go get laid by Charlize Theron… wait a minute.. scratch that… that would be an absolutely normal thing to do after traveling in space for 2 years
- The crew immediately decides to follow the captain on a suicide mission without any discussion on alternatives. At least the other two crew members got to say a few lines
- A disfigured effigy of a dead crew member makes it way back to the ship.. do you a) keep the doors closed and ponder the options or b) immediately open the ship doors and try to make it extra crispy – note, this scene alone took at least 4 crew members that never had a single line in the movie (or a name for that matter).
- You find out someone else made the trip with the crew. At the same time you see three more crew members that appear to be perfectly fine with this discovery to the point they are more than happy to help out
- One of the main cast suddenly develops a serious (self inflicted) injury that appears to be severely impeding their ability to move/stand. You would think at least one of the crew would ask this person what happened or at least “What’s up with all the blood”
- Every time the robot comes upon something it starts pressing buttons and opening things yet everyone appears okay with that behavior
- Why would a soulless robot have the concept of being “afraid”
- And my favorite … let’s have two crew members try to outrun certain death by running lengthwise (or rather in line with) a falling spaceship when all they needed to do was move 3 feet to the left or right and be totally safe.
Long story short, this movie was a big disappointment for me. From the incredibly slow start to the gaps in plotline flow. This might be one to wait for the director’s cut DVD in hopes it was just a matter of gutting the story to make it fit into 2 hours (doubt it, but we can hope). On the other hand, this might be one riff-track worth downloading. I need to give kudos to two of my friends for comments after the movie. One accurately referred to Charlize’s space suits as the camel outfit and my Korean friend Pakage expressed his disappointment that our creator was “An Even Whiter Guy”. In summary, much like the original Prometheus I felt like an eagle was eating my liver during the entire movie. Oh, I did see that Ridley got to reuse his wheat field shots from Gladiator!
Love to hear your opinions of this flick, maybe I’ve overlooked some gem in the rough.