Watched: 29 September
I enjoyed Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, which I’ve since discovered puts me out of step with around 95% of the rest of the people who watched it. I can’t remember much about the film – and probably ought to check it out again at some point – but I do dimly recall having had a few beers beforehand and being happily wowed by the special effects as I sank into my cinema seat; I must have been in a good mood because I even liked the 3D effects.
A few years on, Scott’s follow-up to Prometheus is another Alien prequel, which shares the same look and feel and expounds upon the story of the genesis of the xenomorphs, while also tearing all the mystery out of the series via its incessant mythologising. There are several links in the film to the events and crew that featured in Prometheus, though the main one is the presence of Michael Fassbender, who plays Walter, a newer model of the android named David that appeared in the earlier film. Joining The Fass this time round are Katherine Waterston and Billy Crudup, who head up the latest gang to crash-land on some distant planet; as per usual the group is mae up of a couple of grunts, a scientist, a space cowboy, a pilot, an android, etc., and before too long their collective stupidity means that they are enduring the delights of facehuggers, chestbursting and being systematically hunted by a drooling, ultra-fast alien creature. No alarms and no surprises.
If you’re not yet bored by the Alien franchise – which now includes a total of eight films if you are to include the Aliens vs Predator spin-offs, which Ridley Scott almost certainly doesn’t – then it’s entirely possible you’ll find something to like here; there’s a lead female character who displays a mixture of both resolve and vulnerability, a duplicitous, scheming android, some close-quarters body horror and a big end battle that involves some heavy-duty tech. It pays lip service to the themes and designs of earlier films, too, though sadly the creatures and world created by HR Giger nearly 40 years ago now seem slightly sanitised, much less reliant on bold sexual imagery in particular. Personally I found it all rather dull – it’s little more than a series of scenes that are designed to recall iconic moments from older, better movies, but I won’t deny that it looks impressive, and I liked the sting in the tale’s tail. (**)