“In space no one can hear you spoil”: Levi Agee on Prometheus

June 16, 2012

In space no one can hear you spoil or how I learned to ignore the
haters and enjoy Prometheus for the blockbuster Sci-Fi movie it really
is …

By Levi Agee

Alien is one my absolute favorite films. Ridley Scott’s 1979 film
about a extraterrestrial creature that stows away on a space ship that
blends science fiction and horror in one of the most satisfying
suspense thrillers in film history. I don’t just consider Alien a
great horror or sci-fi, it’s just a great movie. I can watch it any
day and get completely sucked into it. The music, the cinematography,
the art direction, the performances, direction are all top notch. I
didn’t find the follow-ups as inspiring but still consider them to be
fascinating and find the mostly despised Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s fourth
installment Alien Resurrection to be a guilty pleasure and have seen
it probably more than I’ve seen Aliens.

I don’t really consider myself a fanboy of the franchise not having seen the Alien VS Predators spinoff or played any of the video games but I do hold the first film
very dear to my heart. So when I heard they were doing a supposed
“prequel” called Prometheus, admittedly my chest was about to burst.

The resulting months of promo stills of giant stone heads and
geologist in beautiful space suits in front of beautiful landscapes
whet my appetite. The promos didn’t stop coming either. 20th Century
Fox was going to make sure that everyone knew about Prometheus. We got
trailer after trailer, clip after clip. Viral videos with Michael
Fassbender’s android David hit the web and became the talk of the
internet for a day or two. The movie was set to be a massive hit and
destined to reinvigorate the Alien franchise for a new generation.
Were we getting so much of Prometheus that it was going to destroy the
mystery of the film?

After seeing Prometheus at the midnight screening at Rave Motion
Picture’s new Xtreme (IMAX-like) screen I can definitely say the
promos didn’t spoil any of the mystery. The mystery is still very much
there after seeing the film. I expected that. I expected to have
questions and hopefully get another film to suggest some answers that
were left open to be addressed in a more direct prequel to Alien. What
I didn’t expect was the vitriol and outrage I’ve been reading all over
the internet. For everyone that loved the movie’s beautiful art
direction and cinematography you have someone bitching about the
film’s plot holes and logical contradictions. The film has plot holes?
Fine. But hating the movie because it wasn’t a direct prequel to
Alien?


So the alien at the end of Prometheus isn’t the exact Xenomorph
from the Alien films because it had a pointy head or walked upright?
Are you kidding me? How can you not get that connection? It doesn’t
matter really. The film isn’t supposed to be a literal prequel to
Alien although ostensibly it works as one. The “Space Jockey”
correlation in both pictures is more interesting than the Xenomorph.

I feel now that there is all the complaints the filmmakers namely
Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof feel the need to explain a few things
to appease people–describing the intent of the opening scene, hinting
at the intent of the engineers. Now instead of the fans being able to
debate and make their own theories and guess they’ve gone out and
spoiled the mystery provoked by all the negative fan reactions.
Couldn’t we have waited until the next film (Paradise?) to have some
of these things spelled out for us?

I’m not trying to crap on the cult following after Alien. I admire the
passion and share it for the mythology as well but I know how to
distance myself from how I want the series to take shape and the
intent of the filmmakers. I can’t be angry that a tree grew in the
corner of my yard when all my other trees grew out in the middle. I
can have faith that either the engineer of that tree’s growth placed
it there for a reason or I can ignore the logic and just enjoy it for
its shade and beauty. Well if that isn’t the most pretentious metaphor
I’ve written all day. What I’m trying to say is relax and enjoy the
thing for what it is. If you want to delve into the mysteries and
theories of something be civil and open-minded. People don’t have to
experience everything the way you do. They are not dumb or tasteless
for liking a movie you hated. I have to remind myself of this when
seeing the top 10 list of Netflix rentals for Little Rock. Sometimes
Jeff Dunham just makes people happy. I’m in no way equivocating a
ventriloquist standup act and a modern sci-fi horror story but you get
the idea. If you hate the thing so much then why invest so much time
and energy into pointing out all its faults? You could write your own
screenplay. I suppose this is how a lot of fanfic starts.

So maybe hold off on shipping Dr. Shaw and Ripley. I don’t want to quote anyone
for fear of making this personal but I’ve seen some very nasty
criticisms about the film that are more ad-hominem than intellectual
or cinematic in nature. I guess if Prometheus 2 is equally divisive
when it comes out I’ll try and be a bit more sympathetic to the haters
but for now try and simmer down now.


2 Comments

  • Comment by TonyTaylor — Jun 16,2012 at 9:31 am

    Great article, Levi, Couldn’t agree more. In the interviews I’ve read, Ridley Scott is always careful never to call Promethus a direct prequel to Alien (also one of my all time favs)… Now my question is how is Rave Xtreme? I’ve been inside the theater & seen the screen and seats but I have yet to experience a movie there. I saw the beauty of Promethus at the IMAX. Is Rave Xtreme worth the extra money? As I’m sure you will agree, even IMAX isn’t always worth the extra money, just depends on the movie….

    Now let’s get a screening of Alien! Never seen that baby on the big screen!

  • Comment by gerrybruno — Jun 17,2012 at 9:28 am

    I really could not understand all the haters. I thought it worked and left you interested enough to want to know more.

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