Oh how I wish it were not so.
Despite lowered expectations and bold declarations of how I was going to, “accept the film for what it was, rather than what I wanted it to be”, I left the Regal at 2:30 am deflated. It is not to say that “Prometheus” was a bad film. Quite the contrary, it was a good film that bordered on greatness. But the weight of expectations due to the pedigree of it seemed to have bogged down the filmmakers as much as it did fans. It was a quiet theater exiting last night, never a good sign.
What works in the film seems to be universally agreed upon.
“Prometheus” is a visually stunning film. Michael Fassbender continues to stake his claim as the best screen actor alive. His David is a gem of a take on the synthetics in the Alien Universe. Less evil or benevolent than Ash or Bishop…he is like a curious, sometimes mischievous child. I am going to have to re-watch “Lawrence of Arabia” as a result of David…so thank you Scott, Fassbender and crew.
What I liked: the sketching of what Dr. Shaw’s (Noomi Rapace) story could have been. But it feels like a sketch rather than a fully formed idea. Her motivation for the journey is exploring her faith, of discovering who created you and why. That idea is set up with some on-the-nose dreams and her father’s cross is the visual crutch that supports the whole exploration of this idea throughout the film. Faith is often an accessory in life, disposable for long strengths, and reliable crutch the next. It seems to be a primary attribute of faith. But on film it feels tacked on, ready to be used when necessary.
I found Noomi to be a competent lead. She was not at Weaver levels of greatness, but even Sigourney had issues when the quality of the material abandoned her. “Prometheus” does not hit the quality of “Alien” or “Aliens”.
“Prometheus” will be a DVD rental as soon as it is available at Redbox ( 4 week embargo, I think). It may even be worth a purchase, especially if there is a Director’s Cut. There is greatness in the story, it just feels like Fox asked Sir Scott to stretch it out over a trilogy and we only saw the first act. What a bummer for a midnight release. I have no issues with a film being a part of a larger story, but when it feels like it was pared down for that purpose it is a problem.
Recommended, with reservations. If you are expecting a “bug hunt” you best stay at home. This film is about big ideas, sadly they are explored in a small way.
NOTE: The film has sparked a lot of discussion on the themes in it…so that it a vote of confidence. It does not engender apathy.
Ah release day, my first crush…how I have missed you save the odd Pixar film. In spite of the tepid response from many of the film geek community that I adore ( they were hoping for “Alien” or “Blade Runner” quality…so was I, but I also hope for world peace, Mitch McConnell to go away and a full head of hair. None of that is on the horizon, they would all be nice), I am geeked to see the film.
Though I have tried to stay away from spoilers for once there have been sabotages all over the place. The Xbox/M$/static cling for geek vitriol E3 presentation had a decent sized spoiler, but the coup de grace was a national spot during the Eastern Conference Finals. There were a couple of shots given away that were doozies, I could have done without them.
One of the huge points of contention around the film seems to be that there are uneven tones, themes that were dropped in favor of a prequel, and a general feeling that things could have been much tighter. I caught a reference to the “Lost” finale in there…which would work for me…”It worked”.
What were these film journalists thinking, that Ridley was going to get final cut, an R rating and a huge budget with no strings attached? This is Fox after all. I will withhold my final feelings until after my film, but that line of thinking seems incredibly naive…this from a hopeless optimist. I now have an advantage, lower expectations. Now that those astronomical heights are not expected I can enjoy the film for what it is, not what I hoped it would be.
“Brave” is still number one on my 2012 film docket. My daughter keeps asking if we can see it. As with most, if not all of my life decisions(especially the trivial) the considerations of my children outweigh my own desires. While “Brave” is number one, other films have pushed up underneath it. This past week that was severely tested with the release of trailers for “Prometheus” and “The Dark Knight Rises”.
Both trailers have had me furiously crunching the numbers; there has to be a way for me to see both in the theater. While I am sure the films will be good on the plasma at home there is certainty in my movie geek heart that something will be missing from the experience if they are not seen on the silver screen.
“Alien” and “Aliens” were the first two “R” rated films that my parents think I saw on TV. My brother and I were allowed to watch them due to the fact that there was no nudity or sex. Violence…fine, it was human on alien, no big deal. The films have always held a special place in my heart for both that reason and their general awesomeness (remember, this is channeling my inner 12-year-old). When I discovered that Ridley Scott was returning to the Alien universe my heart swelled. That type of reaction in a post AvP-films world felt impossible.
The latest trailer reinforces those feelings. “This film needs to be seen in a theater” reads in my head with all the earnestness of River Phoenix’s Indiana Jones relayed in regards to the Cross of Coronado belonging in a museum. Perhaps the grocery budget can be pruned back further to accommodate seeing the film on the Big Screen? I’ll make it up in a July visit to Wegmans…
That seemed possible until last night, when the third trailer for “The Dark Knight Rises” was released.
While a devoted fan of Marvel, Nolan’s Batman films, most especially “Batman Begins”, hit the high water mark for comic book films. There have been others that have been enjoyable, but none have hit the emotional mark as well. The scope of Nolan’s vision demands the big screen. Maybe we can do without…well, I have to figure something bigger to cut. I know my wife will be in for this one. We saw the other two together in the theater.
This summer release schedule of 2012 is one of my teenage dreams (save a “Star Wars” film. I like to believe that after the prequels even my teen self would call BS on the franchise). Given the fact that my wife and I are buying a house, most, if not all the films will be DVD only. “The Avengers” and “The Amazing Spider-man” and even the impressive looking “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” have moved back in the queue. As we budget out our new reality the entertainment dollar must be rationed to more economical places. Cable TV, Netflix, and the occasional RedBox rental will have to suffice.
I am holding out hope that I can work out a way to see “Prometheus” and “The Dark Knight Rises” on the big screen. The former speaks for itself: Ridley Scott returning to the Alien Universe? That has to be seen on the big screen, my 40 inch Plasma will not do his vision justice. As for the latter, well, as big of a Marvel fanboy as I am “Batman Begins” is my favorite comic book film ever. Christopher Nolan has shown that his vision, while still compelling on the small screen, is made for a bigger canvas. When visitors come to see us this summer my wife and I will have to find a way to go see that film.
The one film that is going to be seen at the theater is Pixar’s “Brave”. Not that Anna needs it, as she has a very hard head when she wants to, but I love that the story is centered on a young woman finding her way in the world. Anna has been transfixed by each trailer since the teaser. Today’s is no exception.
Even with a newly tightened budget I cannot see skipping this family experience. I want my kids to fall in love with going to the movies as I did when I was their age. In a world where that experience is being marginalized by mobile technology, increased accessibility and smaller screens it is films like “Brave” that look to help cement that love. Plus I am a huge Pixar honk myself…
2012: the year I take that final plunge into adulthood and buy a house. It is long overdue, but the wait was worth it thanks to historically low-interest rates. Immaturity (and lack of funds) gives back more fringe benefits…
More than ever my ability to pursue my longest held hobby, geeking out at the movie theatre, will be tough to do. As if kids, juggling two careers and the cost of movie ticket were not enough…more expenses.
What makes this all the more painful are the plethora of films coming out in the next 6 months that beg to be seen on the Silver Screen amongst my people, the geeks who are inheriting the earth. There are a great many films that in a solitary world would be “must see” at the theater. Either a lack of scope or “geek chic” kept them of the list and relegated them Redbox level.
In order of release:
“The Cabin in the Woods” – Devin Faraci and seemingly every other movie geek on the web that has seen this has gone apeshit over this horror film. It showed at Butt-Numb-A-Thon last year and reportedly brought the house down.
“The Avengers” – See yesterday’s post. In Joss Whedon I trust.
“Prometheus” - “Alien:Resurrection” + the AVP films almost ruined the series for me. I had left it far behind, and then the bright light of Ridley Scott took pity of this abused franchise. It has a high level of expectation and anticipation. I expect it to live up to it.
“Brave” – I am a Pixar honk. Add in a 6-year-old daughter and I am amped for a tale of female independence. Note to Anna, you don’t need a man to be someone.
“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” – I really liked the first one. The ninja on a cliff fight scene that has the interwebs a buzz scares me. “Silent Interlude” is one of my favorite one shots ever. When you invoke imagery from something that classic you best deliver.
“The Amazing Spider-Man” – Slam dunk opening weekend. Many of my reservations faded with the last trailer. Gwen>Mary Jane, especially if they follow through on her arc on what I am sure is meant to be a trilogy.
“The Dark Knight Rises” – “Batman Begins” is my favorite comic book origin film ever. It tops “The Dark Knight” (which was still excellent, Aaron Eckhart is wrongfully overlooked…he rocked the main arc) due to the titular character having the arc. This one should be great, Nolan has not disappointed me yet.
“The Bourne Legacy” – Love the original trilogy enough to give this a whirl. Hopefully they ditched shaky cam and kept everything else that made Bourne great. Joan Allen, Davis Strathairn, Albert Finney and Scoot Glenn? Yes please.
I figure that for 180 bucks, give or take an admission. “Brave” will be a family event. Here’s hoping I can get funded for this.
The backlash was instant.
Last November I posed on Facebook that I was considering taking my kids to theater to see “Phantom Menace 3D” and “millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror.” In their defense my diatribes on the subject are numerous, verbose and really don’t warrant going over again. The film is a huge disappointment and was certainly not helped by 16 years of built up expectations.
In the time since the “post heard around my Facebook page” common sense and economics came into play. My kids would not sit still for the first 20 minutes at home, what are the chances they make it through the whole thing on the silver screen?
Also working against my support of the “Lucas Fund”: there are at least ten other films releasing this year I would rather see on the big screen. Those millions of voices filled with terror suddenly fell silent. There would be no trip to the Regal for “The Phantom Menace”
Though the Big Game was a largely a Big Dud there was still good in it: the annual marketing campaign for tent-pole pictures started in earnest. Let the deluge of imagery and information begin!
“The Avengers” and “GI Joe 2″ both look like slam dunks. “The Lorax” is one of my daughter’s favorite Seuss books. While I am not thrilled with some of the license they seem to have taken with the story, it is going to be seen in a theater. Another Veruca Salt moment: “I want more!”
Today the online marketing arm answered my bratty call. The response to Super Bowl marketed films began with the release of new “The Amazing Spider-man” trailer.
Though hopelessly biased*, I really like the direction the film seems to take with the character. I love the return of the web-shooters, they nailed the “thwip” sound. Garfield’s wise ass delivery in his exchange with the car thief is how I always pictured how he sounded while reading issue after issue.
A complaint: again with the numerous scenes with a maskless Spider-man? I know you want the lead to be seen, but he signed up for Spider-man…keep the mask on.
Overall there is a sense of relief. The first trailer left me looking for reasons to be optimistic. This one has me looking to the calendar to see how long I have to wait.
Feeling Veruca again: “Is it too much to ask for a longer ‘Prometheus’ trailer?”
* I convinced myself for a moment that “Spider-man 3″ was not complete shit…for a moment.