Prometheus – all the scary, none of the Ripley

I went to see Prometheus with a friend this week.  In this Alien prequel, a team of scientists (backed by Waylan Corp) set out to find the “engineers” that they believe may have created the human race. They find a desolate planet and several ships where something terrible must have happened to kill all the engineers many, many, many years previous. Don’t expect any fully formed Aliens to be lurking in the shadows though. The Alien race we know and love to hate (acid blood, hissing, multi-jawed, snapping teeth, whipping tail) doesn’t show up in a fully formed way until the end seconds of the movie. As the team sets out to explore things take a nasty turn.

Like the previous Alien movies, this one has the company keeping secrets, an intriguing artificial person, and lots of apparently expendable crew. I was a little disappointed by a few small slips from cannon. For example, the ending doesn’t exactly match up with what the crew of the Nostromo found in the original Alien, but it is pretty close. Mostly, it annoyed me because they could have easily fixed that. I was also annoyed because they didn’t even try to be consistent with the AVP crossover cannon, which I adore.

Overall, though, I had a great time with this movie. It had all of the scary, jump in your seat moments you’d expect from an Alien prequel plus grand cinematography and amazing effects.  I definitely left the theater pleased with having plunked down the cash to see it on the big screen. On the ride home I started to mentally compare it to the other alien movies and that got me to wondering why I wasn’t looking forward (to the next installment) rather than back. It was immediately apparent that the movie was missing one critical element – Ripley.

Sorry, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, but character-wise you just don’t fill Ripley’s shoes.  Ripley was always the heart and soul of the Alien movies and despite obvious efforts to tap into similar themes, Dr. Shaw didn’t capture my heart. Don’t get me wrong, she was pretty kick-ass (walking away from emergency surgery to go running all over the ship and then the alien landscape with only the occasional belly clutch of pain) but in a horror we need a character to be scared with and I never felt her fear.

I do recommend this movie. It’s pure SciFi goodness. Just don’t expect to remember it, quote it, love it, 20 years down the road.

4 thoughts on “Prometheus – all the scary, none of the Ripley

  1. We had planned on seeing Prometheus this weekend, but it didn’t happen. Maybe next.

    I’ve heard such mixed reviews. My theories is that the haters were not SF purists and that’s why they didn’t understand the movie. But I’ll only know for sure after I’ve seen the movie.

    I agree about Ripley, without her, the Aliens franchise fell flat.

    • I’m not entirely sure I understood the movie either! LOL. It did leave most of the questions unanswered and it is clearly a set-up for another movie, but I’m a sucker for big ships and this movie certainly had those.

  2. Charlie my sweetie actually told me when he walked outside of the theatre with me that he LOVED the movie, first thing I said was “Why?”
    I am a huge fan of the first two in the franchise after that not so much, (also the first two Predator movies and the last two) however in the prequel the thing that really turned me off was the AI unit David. I could not stand him but loved the one played by Lance Henricksen in the later Alien movies, he was such a sweetheart in comparison to the first freaky AI character Ash.

    I also agree, no Ripley no real emotional connection to the main female lead. No one can ever make scared but determined look as good as Sigourney Weaver.

    And hate to say it actually cheered when they “pancaked” Charlize Theron, ain’t I awful. LOL

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