2012 was supposed to be our year. The year that the Mayan prophecies would come true and Ridley Scott would return to science-fiction and the franchise that changed cinema forever.
For the last five years I have tried to like Prometheus. My love of Scott runs deep and out of some weird obligation I feel towards his work I watch it repeatedly, trying to find something, anything worth loving, even liking. Alas I find, this cannot be done. There is too much I just don’t understand.
I don’t understand why, after discovering who created the human race, even being face to face with the Engineers themselves, Naomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw still has to grab her crucifix and ask, ‘Who made THEM?’. I don’t understand why Idris Elba’s Janek, who has been left in relative darkness for the duration of proceedings, finds it logical to engage in a kamikaze mission and kill his entire crew. From a narrative point of view, writers Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof disregard the work done by modern physicists in favour of Abrahamic precepts. This is all well and good, if you’re writing ‘Star Wars’. But even ‘Alien Resurrection’ had little to do with The Resurrection.
Having developed ideas that exist in physics, such as the ‘Zero-One-Inifinity’ rule that basically says if you find one of something, chances are there exist an infinite number of somethings, they then proceed to shit themselves and make the film about God. It’s as if they sat back after draft one and in fearing public reaction, said “The audience is stupid. They won’t understand this. Quickly, slap a cross around her neck. Cover the bases.”
Perhaps what I find most unforgivable is that Prometheus shares almost the exact same beginning as ‘Alien Vs Predator’. A bunch of scientists are assembled from around the globe by Weyland who only reveals himself on the vessel when the crew are halfway there and begins to explain to them what they are heading towards. What could have been a game ganging exploration of the beginnings of humanity turned into a half baked fart about Creationism; it looks pretty, but has more holes than a Warburton’s crumpet.
That Scott allowed Spaihts and Lindelof to damn near ruin the Alien saga is a mystery. Maybe the fault lies more with the studio than with Ridley himself. Even more a mystery is how he didn’t see the similarity to AVP. Scott was vocally negative about AVP, so maybe he hasn’t seen it. He should have.
So what is there to look forward to? At least three things.
Firstly, out, are the truly awful and lazy Spaihts and Lindelof and in their place, John Logan. Logan, who had worked with Scott on ‘Gladiator’ and also penned ‘The Last Samurai’ for Ed Zwick, ‘Coriolanus’ for Fiennes and ‘The Aviator’ for Scorsese to name a few, is a vastly superior appointment to his predecessors and just might threaten to treat the subject matter with some integrity.
Secondly, the image of ‘The Last Supper’ released by Fox could hint at a potentially chest-bursting escape from the dim, psudo-Religious mess of ‘Prometheus’.
Thirdly, the visuals. The Xenomorph itself looks beautiful in the trailer, which itself is hugely exciting. The harsh chiaroscuro from the original film and the claustrophobia that influenced so many rip offs returns in dazzling form.
If the trailer for Covenant is anything to go by, this could be Scott’s finest turn since Alien itself. Thank the Engineers!