Welcome to Empirical Purple

A blog by Simon Brady to cover a surprisingly wide range of geekiness, in a combination that no-one else does quite the same way. Probably. Either that, or it'll just be Simon talking about the likes of Football (usually the Soccer variety), PC & Tabletop Gaming, WWE, Movies, Music and occasionally even my actual job of Graphic Design, depending on what I'm up to in the world.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Finding Pro-metheus Reviews

Well, that got a bit interesting. I expressed my dislike for Prometheus in my last post, a correlation of conversations, thoughts and ideas that came out as somewhat of a ramble, written sparingly in a couple of sittings.

It still sums up my initial reactions to seeing the film, and my general problems with it. I've paid my money, made my mind up, discussed with with friends and put some thoughts out there. Here. Wherever.

So when someone I follow on Twitter (@sibrady, by the way) retweeted the following, I just had to bite.

My response? "If he'd have pre-warned us it was going to be shit then we wouldn't mind the whole non-prequel thing."

Smart? Ridley Scott has certainly proved that he's a smart guy who can make smart movies as well as low-brow blockbuster types when he wants to, but Prometheus was too smart? I wasn't expecting an Alien prequel as such, given that even though it was announced as such, Ridley recanted this long ago to say that it shared the 'same DNA'. Which is very clever, considering a lot of it is based around weaving DNA together.

Brian Ward - who I have no idea who he is, but he seems to have an imdb page, which should be impressive enough - then linked us to a blog by a guy called Adrian Bott (@cavalorn), entitled Prometheus Unbound: What The Movie Was Actually About. I suggest that, if you're reading this and haven't read through the link, go have a read now.

Welcome back.

That post reminds me of what Christoper Loring Knowles does over at The Secret Sun, involved in the delving of references, homage and the secret crazy Illuminati (although with less Freemasons). I think Cavalorn makes valid points all over his piece and, if the references are correct, has massively (and correctly, as it happens) over-thought the whole thing.

The Space Jesus aspect of the Engineers is just teased if you, like me, didn't catch the reference to wounds in the stomach. I didn't know if the Engineer at the beginning (actually my favourite part of the film) was on Earth or not. Evidently you have to have the Director's Commentary or otherwise Word of God to be able to figure out that it doesn't really matter.

And this is my overall point. If you watch a Tarantino movie, say Kill Bill, and don't get why the music has been chosen as it has, or why they're wearing certain clothes or the dialogue flows in a certain way, you can accept it and move on as a thing that Tarantino likes from some crappy film in the the 70s that you don't know about. When Ridley Scott presents us with something we don't understand why it's there, it's presented in such a way as to simply confuse us, because once you've decided you can't figure out why a reference, scene, line or whatever is in there, it just adds a layer of confusion to the whole thing.

When you have a certain number of these 'Huh?' moments, your disbelief is suspended and instead of being immersed in a great film you find yourself sitting in a cinema with your friends, wondering if the insides of everyone else's head in front of you is filled with the same thought. The thought that "oh, this is shit".

Several people shared that inside the cinema as the credits rolled, never mind on Twitter, Facebook and the like in the days afterwards. Whether you think it's good, bad, flawed, brilliant, shit or you're undecided, it's still Ridley Scott being hyper-cerebral, as usual (as Brian Ward pointed out), in what is intended to be a mainstream movie.

It was so close to being an Alien prequel that, with a tiny shove, all the dots could have been connected and a great movie enjoyed by the masses. That's what the masses expected. It's what I would have liked, but that's not what Ridley chose to give us. It does feel like he's been yelling "I'm going this way!"throughout the whole process, with various studio execs trying to hold him back and turn him in a more low-brow and, ideally, profitable direction.

Neither one nor the other has led to very few people being actually happy with it. I see a lot of people trying to prove "It was a shit movie" wrong, but I don't see many people actually trying to prove that "It was a great movie".

It had holes in it, no matter what you opinion of it overall. What were they originally running from? Why not run to the side of something crashing down on your head? Why are you two so passively and jovially joining in on suicide? Why are you offering to have sex with that man? What is that flute in aid of? Why is your acting so wooden? Why get a young guy to play an old guy? Why are you not making a prequel, because you'd make more money and have more happy people and finish something you started over thirty years before. But no, you made that.

So, yeah. That's largely my take on the film itself and the fallout and discussion arising from it. A "borrowed, inconsistent mess" it may be, but it's my mess, much like Prometheus is Ridley Scott's movie. 

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