Thursday, 31 May 2012

Movie Preview: Prometheus

PREVIEW: On June 8, 2012, the science fiction film Prometheus opens in North American, having opened on June 1st in England with the movie's world premiere on May 31st at Leicester Square in London. This is number five in the series of "Alien" movies and represents, according to reports, a prequel to the first 1979 film.

I am writing this in the evening of May 31, reading reviews in English newspapers by those who must have seen an advanced screening or attended the premiere. England is 6 hours ahead of me. Considering that the director, Ridley Scott, is responsible for two of the most famous science fiction films of all time, Alien and Blade Runner, I can see I am not the only one whose expectations are running high. (Did you know that Scott directed the famous 1984 Apple Macintosh commercial? - Wikipedia: 1984 (advertisement)) : click here for ad)

A Quick Refresher in Greek Mythology
In the briefest of explanations, Prometheus was the Titan who stole fire from the gods and gave it to man. Zeus punished him by chaining him to a rock where an eagle ate his liver every day; Prometheus being immortal had his liver grow back each night. He was eventually freed by Hercules.

As an FYI, it is worth the read to go through the Wikipedia article on Prometheus. I, for one, not only refreshed my memory but learned things I had not known.

What is the connection between this Titan and the film? Play with fire, get your fingers burned? I'll leave out any spoiler alerts.

The Early Reviews
Since the movie opens in the U.K. on June 1, critics writing the day before had obviously been given a preview. Going through The Guardian, The Daily Mail, etc. paints the portrait of a visually spectacular film which reaches great heights but doesn't quite live up to Scott's two other classics. However after sifting through all the nitpicking in these reviews, I conclude the public is going to love the film. Hey, we're talking about Ridley Scott here. With a budget of $125 million, it is hard to believe he'd blow it and considering we've got the baddest-ass monster alien of all time, you can't really go wrong.

The Franchise
The original 1979 film was groundbreaking. It was definitely one of the all time great scare the bejesus out o' ya horror movies. The suspense was terrific but the idea of having something growing inside you certainly raised the level of shock up a notch or two. And of course, let's not forget H. R. Giger, the Swiss surrealist painter and sculptor who designed our favourite badass monster alien. I first saw Giger's work when he did the cover for the 1973 album Brain Salad Surgery by the progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

While the original film was good, the sequels have had their ups and downs. James Cameron's Aliens was excellent and it is not often that number two is good. (Although, Cameron's Terminator 2 was arguably better that his first Terminator.) From there, my impression was that the series lost its way. Were these projects green lighted out of an effort to cash in on the name? I'll make a short mention of the two Alien vs. Predator films which were obviously done for profit and were panned by the critics but made substantial profits meaning the fans ate it up. As a FYI, the Wikipedia article quotes none other than James Cameron as saying he liked Alien Vs. Predator. Go figure.

The following is a recap of the series.

Alien (1979)
Budget: $11 million
Gross: $105 million (worldwide)
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

Aliens (1986)
Budget: $18.5 million
Gross: $131 million (worldwide)
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

Alien 3 (1992)
Budget: $50 million
Gross: $160 million (worldwide)
Rotten Tomatoes: 40%

Alien Resurrection (1997)
Budget: $70 million
Gross: $161 million (worldwide)
Rotten Tomatoes: 55%

Prometheus (2012)
Budget: $125 million
Gross: n/a; June 8, 2012 release in North America
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

Final Word
What? You think there is a hope in hell that I am NOT going to see this? Wild horses couldn't keep me away. Ha! In order to "hold me over", I combed the Internet and found a number of interesting articles about the film and video clips from the film. And when I say video clips from the film, I don't just mean trailers but clips from the movie itself. For anybody looking forward to this up-coming "alien treat", I would suggest browsing through the references below and feast your eyes.

Note: I am sure any ratings from Rotten Tomatoes will fluctuate as more critics file their reviews.

Rotten Tomatoes: Prometheus: 89%
No consensus as of yet

Wikipedia: Prometheus (film)
Prometheus is a 2012 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. The film stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green and Charlize Theron. Set in the late 21st century, the story centers on the crew of the spaceship Prometheus as they follow a star map discovered among the remnants of several ancient Earth civilizations. Led to a distant world and an advanced civilization, the crew seeks the origins of humanity, but instead discovers a threat that could cause the extinction of the human race.

fan site: Prometheus
Prometheus movie news, information and community

fan site: Project Prometheus

Wikipedia: Alien (franchise)
The Alien film series is a science fiction horror film franchise, focusing on Lieutenant Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) and her battle with an extraterrestrial lifeform, commonly referred to as "the Alien". Produced by 20th Century Fox, the series started with the 1979 film Alien, which led to three movie sequels, as well as numerous books, comics and video game spinoffs.

Related to the franchise are the "Alien vs. Predator" films (Alien vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem), based on the related franchise which combines the Aliens with the Predators from the Predator film series.

Rotten Tomatoes: Alien (1979): 96%
A modern classic, Alien blends science fiction, horror and bleak poetry into a seamless whole.

Wikipedia: Alien (film)
Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto. The film's title refers to its primary antagonist: a highly aggressive extraterrestrial creature that stalks and kills the crew of a spaceship. Dan O'Bannon wrote the screenplay from a story by him and Ronald Shusett, drawing influence from previous works of science fiction and horror. The film was produced through Brandywine Productions and distributed by 20th Century Fox, with producers David Giler and Walter Hill making significant revisions and additions to the script. The titular Alien and its accompanying elements were designed by Swiss surrealist artist H. R. Giger, while concept artists Ron Cobb and Chris Foss designed the human aspects of the film.

Rotten Tomatoes: Aliens (1986): 100%
While Alien was a marvel of slow-building, atmospheric tension, Aliens packs a much more visceral punch, and features a typically strong performance from Sigourney Weaver.

Wikipedia: Aliens (film)
Aliens is a 1986 science fiction action film directed by James Cameron and starring Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, William Hope, and Bill Paxton.
Screenplay by James Cameron
Story by James Cameron, David Giler, Walter Hill

Rotten Tomatoes: Alien 3 (1992): 40%
No consensus yet.

Wikipedia: Alien 3
Alien 3 (styled as Alien³) is a 1992 science fiction horror film, the third installment in the Alien franchise, and the debut of director David Fincher. It is a sequel to James Cameron's Aliens.
Alien 3 had a difficult production, with various screenwriters and directors getting involved in the project, and shooting even started without a finished script. The film was the big-budget debut of a young David Fincher, who was brought into the project very late in its development, after a proposed version written by Vincent Ward at the helm fell through. Fincher had little time to prepare, and the experience of making the film proved agonizing for him, as he had to endure incessant creative interference from the studio and had to shoot the film without having a definite script. The added weight was also to create a film worthy of the work of the two revered directors that had gone before him, James Cameron and Ridley Scott. Upon completion, the studio dismantled and reworked it without Fincher's consent, including releasing a teaser trailer that suggested the film would take place on Earth.

The film was released to mixed reviews. While not very successful at the United States box office, it earned over $100 million outside of North America.

Rotten Tomatoes: Alien Resurrection (1997): 55%
No consensus yet.

Wikipedia: Alien Resurrection
Alien Resurrection is a science fiction film released in 1997 by 20th Century Fox and the fourth installment in the Alien franchise.

Introducing David 8 -- Project Prometheus
Discover, explore and build better worlds with the new David 8 - brought to you by Weyland Industries and powered by Verizon FiOS.

Prometheus - Peter Weyland TED 2023
[An interesting clip from the movie, a speech by Peter Weyland at TED 2023.

T.E. Lawrence, eponymously of Arabia, but very much an Englishman, favored pinching a burning match between his fingers to put it out. When asked by his colleague, William Potter, to reveal his trick -- how is it he so effectively extinguished the flame without hurting himself whatsoever -- Lawrence just smiled and said, "The trick, Potter, is not minding it hurts."

The fire that danced at the end of that match was a gift from the Titan, Prometheus, a gift that he stole from the gods. When Prometheus was caught and brought to justice for his theft, the gods, well, you might say they overreacted a little. The poor man was tied to a rock as an eagle ripped through his belly and ate his liver over and over, day after day, ad infinitum. All because he gave us fire, our first true piece of technology: Fire.

100,000 BC: Stone tools.

4,000 BC: The wheel.

9th century AD: Gunpowder. Bit of a game-changer, that one.

19th century: Eureka! The light bulb!!

20th century: The automobile, television, nuclear weapons, space craft, Internet.

21st century: Biotech, nanotech, fusion and fission and M-theory -- and that was just the first decade.

We are now three months into the year of our Lord, 2023. At this moment in our civilization, we can create cybernetic individuals who, in just a few short years, will be completely indistinguishable from us. Which leads to an obvious conclusion: We are the gods now.

For those of you who know me, you will be aware by now that my ambition is unlimited. You know that I will settle for nothing short of greatness, or I will die trying.

For those of you who do not yet know me, allow me to introduce myself: My name is Peter Weyland. And if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to change the world.


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