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[film] Prometheus, or the Modern Frankenstein - badgerblog
June 10th, 2012
11:31 am


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[film] Prometheus, or the Modern Frankenstein
maegwynn and I went to Mission Valley to see Prometheus. I thought it was worth watching, she's not completely sure.

Good: the visuals. It's a gorgeous film. In particular it was nice for me to recognize the buildings as modeled after HR Giger's concepts for Harkonnen Castle in the Jodorowsky Dune (also a second article).

The actors do well: I will watch Idris Elba in almost anything after The Wire. Noomi Rapace is luminous. Michael Fassbender has echoes of Peter O'Toole (as cited in the film) and Hannibal Lecter for me. He does well with "like us but not us".

General: This isn't a direct prequel to the first Alien: this not-quite-a-prequel-but-in-the-same-universe is an exploratory science mission that goes wrong so it's part of a tradition that goes back to Scott and the Antarctic expeditions, or Cook's South Seas explorations. Prometheus isn't as much of a horror film as the "haunted house in space" that the first Alien was.

The film score is big orchestral stuff, not particularly creepy. The composer wrote some sections out in reverse so some parts are performed in reverse, then flipped digitally for right-way-through, to flip the attack-decay of notes and cause a certain amount of unease. Similar to the phonetic reversal David Lynch used with the little man in Twin Peaks. If you're not sure what this might sound like, here's a demo of the Danelectro Back Talk reverse echo pedal that gives a guitar example.

In a way Prometheus is structured like Alien Versus Predator: find a big building, look around, not a good day.


Not everything is explained: if you're looking for the declarative secret origin and actual history of the Alien universe you're going to be disappointed.

Watching this film with the James Whale Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein films is illuminating, primarily from "bring the giant head to life zapping it in the neck with electricity" and extending backwards and forwards from that point. Fassbender's David is viewable as an elegant and poised Igor.

Old Dr. Weyland being Charlize Theron's father was telegraphed way, way in advance.

I don't think of the Engineers as Engineers, really. I think of them as Farmers.

There's enough echoes of the setup for the first Alien, including the wrecked ship landing in the same orientation, that it's not clear that this wrecked ship is not the wrecked ship in the first Alien: it's not the same planet. We're not seeing the prequel, we're watching a side-eddy in the narrative: a useless appendix, a dried-up riverbend.

I didn't think Rapace's character needed to be sterile and incapable of having children, either to justify her professional career, her choice of career, or what happens to her.

Other reviews, again spoiler warnings:
Prometheus in 5min(for the sarcastic-minded):

bryanalexander's more serious thoughts on the film:

Edit: Added for detail, length, and quality:


* The Possession - Jewish supernatural possession film. This looks great.

* Total Recall - summer. Still looks like Fifth Element.

* Gangster Squad - Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen crimelord in 1950s LA and cops going outside the law to take him down. One shot in the trailer really reminds me of Frank Miller's Sin City. A big fan of Ellroy and also of the almost-no-one-remembers series The Hat Squad, I am so, so there.

* Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter - Extended longer trailer. I'm there for the wushu axefighting.

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(2 comments | Leave a comment)

Date:June 11th, 2012 05:03 am (UTC)
What is it with Nick Nolte and 1950s Los Angeles cops?
[User Picture]
Date:June 11th, 2012 12:20 pm (UTC)
Typecasting? I like what he does so I'm happy.
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