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.