Jun 14, 2012

Prometheus --- film review (spoiler alerrrt)

This multiplex in Pathong's biggest mall is real nice, the shiniest black marble greets the lone visitor, and it's being polished a-more as we a-wait the beginning of the movie. We did MIB 3, and may elaborate on it later. Now we are doing Prometheus, the latest film by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator...). The movie program of this multiplex is somewhat meager, three or four movies are running now, and the humongous auditorium n° 5 is empty. We brought warm clothes to weather the air conditioning. An utterly empty auditorium, it's always impressive, especially to retired university professors, as it brings their worst nightmares to life.

OK, Prometheus. We vaguely recall having read a review in the NYT, not a bad review, right? SciFi, somebody's having visited Planet Earth 35,000 years ago, left some traces, and modern science has discovered where they came from. We're on our way. A motley crew. They've been hired on the fly by Charlize Theron, whose nose is so straight she must have had a facial. Also aboard is David, the humanoid (robot). He's so much smarter than than the rest that one wonders why anybody bothered to send authentic humans at all---except that the uppity assistant who pointed this out at the script conference got fired on the spot, perhaps because David looks too much like Lawrence of Arabia, or, more precisely, like Peter O'Toole, and he also speaks like a British actor from fifty years ago.

The year is 2089, we're on our way to this planet far away, although the trip takes only 2 years. Superluminal speed, 70 years from now? Delivered from ion plasma engines (according to one of the pseudo-scientific marketing posters) that would need 10 years at least to accelerate to a 10th of the speed of light?

We're almost about to land although nobody aboard appears to have the faintest idea of the planet's topology  (it's actually a moon, circling a larger planet). Crew member Charlie thinks he sees a straight stretch crossing the dark desert valley. "God does not travel straight," Charlie philosophizes (really). The captain gets the clue, switches to "hand control," (all this 70 years from now), and we land symmetrically on the straight stretch, which turns out to be an ancient road.

Why waste time? The hatch opens, the vehicles are manned (personed), and a tank plus two moon buggies exit to head straight down the straight stretch towards the venue. Dust. Foreboding.

The venue is some sort of hill with a cave system inside. We will make three excursions to the venue, each ending in tears because an ancient civilization zombies back to life and unleashes its bad temper upon the suspecting explorers. Special effects.

The further story unfolds along the syllogisms of a horror movie. Our explorers will meet their makers one by one in surprisingly unsurprising ways, except perhaps when it comes to Charlie whose demise is brought about by Charlize who does not like him, and who wields an ancient flame thrower to good effect (shhht, pufff, shhht). Special effects.

Noomi and her moon buggy; note the buggy's license plate

At the end, we count 1.5 survivors. Humanoid robot David, although decapitated by a particularly unfriendly alien, survives bodyless and continues to dispense useful advice to Liz, the Noomi Rapace, the only other survivor.  Liz packs Charlie's head into a bag, (she apologizes, he does not mind, it's actually quite funny), climbs onto the surviving, license-plated moon buggy, and rushes down the straight road for the last time, a cloud of dust in her wake. She has some sort of message that threatens a sequel. There's a whiff of Terminator One in the air as dark clouds billow on the horizon.

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