Monday, June 18, 2012

Prometheus and expectations

I saw Prometheus yesterday. Ridley Scott's return to the Alien universe was very well done and had some amazing special effects.

It was also oddly disappointing. It did not take much analysis to work out why. We've developed expectations from the Alien franchise. Some of them have even become memes...even people who never watched Alien 'know' that certain things will happen.

The movie followed all of the memes. Combined with Scott's tendency to put far too many guns on far too many mantlepieces, it was far too predictable to be frightening.

Part of it is that anything ever done in that universe has to follow Alien. Alien had never been done before, and nobody knew what to expect. Now? It's stale.

Also, Rapace was not Weaver. She did not do a bad job, but she lacked Weaver's peculiar sensuality, her ability to be hot despite not being all *that* physically attractive. She lacked Weaver's willingness to dance with the monsters and make them part of her even as she defeated them...she tried, and I liked her, but she just didn't have 'it'.

It's a shame. I honestly feel that Scott should have left well enough alone. It was an okay movie, even a good movie, but it suffered from audience expectations. Which is often the case. We have certain expectations of fantasy - and part of the amazing success of A Song of Ice And Fire is that Martin completely shattered many of them when he created a world in which there are no true heroes, and those who trie to be heroes end...badly.

Having the courage to shatter expectations is part of entertainment. Prometheus did not even try...it was clearly meant to be a nostalgic return to a familiar world. Sadly, that does not work as well in horror as it does in other genres.

Older viewers should pay particular attention during the opening scene for a reference (conscious or otherwise) to 2001.

Worth watching, but not up to the hype.