Prometheus – Film Review

With Ridley Scott back in the Captain’s seat and Sigourney Weaver looking a lot like Noomi Rapace, fans can finally sink their rabid teeth into what may be the truest prequel/sequel/sidequel in the Alien franchise to date. Of course though, as my Uncle Ben once told me*: with great expectation comes great disappointment.

For those of you that never caught any of the eight hundred spoilerific trailers and posters, Prometheus sends a misfit group of scientists to a distant solar system on the dime of a God-complexed Guy Pearce to discover the origins of both the Alien franchise and the human race. Of course, this being a film in the Alien canon, events take an awry turn and things get pretty tense and icky for the naive explorers.

The disappointing thing about Prometheus was its marketing (as alluring as it was). Prometheus is by no means a perfect film to begin with but the trailers and posters gave away almost every major plot point and impressive reveal there was to be seen. Your experience of the film is then tarnished by nagging thoughts such as: “I’ve already seen all of this, why do I have to pay to watch the trailer last over two hours?!” and “Grrrrr.” If I’ve not explained that very well, imagine how you might have felt if Star Wars Episode V’s trailer revealed the pivotal Vader/Luke “No, I am your father” moment**. That is essentially what happened with Prometheus and its alluded to Alien mythos.

As dissatisfied as the words above come off as, once you get over the fact that the entire film had been spoiled by the film studio itself, Prometheus is an enjoyable – if at times oddly paced and occasionally confusing – film.

It doesn’t really answer or deliver on what it sets out to do in plot or idea as a prequel, but – as co-writer Damon Lindelof would often say to calm Lost fanatics – the journey itself is the exciting part. For every vague and unanswered question there are numerous phallic, gooey creatures that creep you out. For every unforgivable bit of prosthetic on Guy Pearce’s head there are countless enchanting landscapes and stunning set-pieces to gape at. For every moment you miss Ellen Ripley and Xenomorphs, Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw is there to kick the arse of both of their memories with an extremely cool performance (even if she and the rest of the characters are, on the whole, a little two dimensional). And finally, I would be remiss to not mention just how subtly amazing Michael Fassbender’s token android David is.

I am itching to detail more of the film’s particularly great moments (of which there are some corkers), but to even allude to them may spoil the little left that is unknown.

The amount of flack that Prometheus is taking is understandable. It is hardly the most stunning or exciting film of 2012 but as far as Ridley Scott films go – and I write this as someone who doesn’t place much stock in Blade Runner – this is one of his best, and it easily equals Alien in style, character and idea development. It isn’t the easiest film to love but please, just hold back on angrily throwing face huggers at Scott et al until you’ve had a good and lengthy cryostasis sleep to think about the film properly. You might find that actually, you kind of liked it too.

*This might not have been what he really said … or even been my Uncle.

**If I’ve just ruined that then I really have no words for you except for how old are you?!

Paul – Review

Last November we were lucky enough to see an early cut of the new film Paul. We reviewed the film but within a day had received two take-down requests so did the decent thing and took the review down. At the time we were promised invites to a press screening of the film so that we could review it properly but as that has failed to materialise we’re going to republish our review. Bear in mind that we saw the unfinished film and all manner of things may have changed in the meantime.

Pegg and Frost play two friends who follow up a visit to Comic Con with a trip around America’s alien hotspots. Along the way they meet Paul, a foul-mouthed and brilliantly rendered alien voiced by Seth Rogan, who is on the run from the government. Along the way they pick up Kristin Wiig in the form of a crazy Christian and end up persued by her even crazier father. They are also chased by some rednecks with almost no consequence, it’s that kind of film.

On the whole Paul is great, very funny and lighthearted, and while the humour is normally broad and often relies on alien Paul saying or doing something rude never really resorts to pure toilet humour. In fact Seth Rogan as Paul was surprisingly funny and restrained.

The film felt like a more old fashioned comedy with the leads gradually gathering various people chasing them, a bit of romance between Wiig and Pegg, and of course the now standard bromance between Frost and Pegg.

The film’s main weaknesses lay in two of the characters who appear only briefly. Sigourney Weaver’s role was presented as a big reveal despite her having very little to do and featuring heavily in the production blogs. She did get one of the biggest laughs in the film though so who am I to complain?

Blythe Danner’s character was another that was all pay-off and no set up. The emotional resonance of the climax of her storyline fell a bit flat when we were only told her back-story in a quick bit of exposition rather than shown it properly.

Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio and Jason Bateman were all great as secret agents, and Jane Lynch’s small role as the waitress at a UFO themed cafe was a real highlight.

Paul does suffer from the lack of Edgar Wright, and is nothing compared to the Cornetto Trilogy, but a few unnecessary parts aside is a lot of harmless fun and Greg Mottola does a good job at directing. I’m willing to look past the bizarre bit of Christianity bashing that could genuinely offend some.

After the film we were asked to filled out a survey and I selected “Would definitely recommend” so do go and see Paul when it is released on 14th February 2011.

10 points if you spott Scott Pilgrim.