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Thursday, April 18, 2013

PROMETHEUS (2012)

The rap on Ridley Scott is that with all his visual gloss, technical command & sophisticated design, he’s not so hot at simply telling the tale. (Five cuts of BLADE RUNNER/’82 and counting.) But no one’s going to complain about the storytelling in PROMETHEUS; no one’s going to care. This much anticipated return to Sci-Fi is a dog, and a something of a retread with big, empty winks at David Lean, Stanley Kubrick and . . . yep, Ridley Scott, though the template is H. Rider Haggard’s SHE/’35 where a group of explorers look for immortality deep inside a cave-dwelling alien culture. A few gags lighten the path: an alien abortion that uses one of those coin-operated treasure cranes and, an old fave, the talking disembodied head. They even pull out the breathable atmosphere gag from those old ‘50s B-pic space epics so the astronauts don’t have to wear helmets. (So much easier to light!) Not that we care much about a supporting cast who appear to be auditioning for CSI: NEPTUNE, with eyes glazing over as they recite meaningless technical jargon. The leads fair no better, though Michael Fassbender has naughty fun aping Peter O’Toole's Lawrence of Arabia . . . as played by Julian Sands. And is that really Guy Pearce underneath Keir Dullea’s ancient man-of-the-future make-up from 2001/’68? The screenwriters probably got Scott involved with a tricked up coda that works as a shameless plug for a 3-D conversion re-release of ALIEN/’79, but couldn’t be bothered to work up enough character traits so we could, at the least, enjoy guessing what order everyone would get knocked off.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: The real question is why, at the age of 75, Ridley Scott would bother with such tripe? All he really wants at this stage is to win a directing Oscar®. Check out his expression when GLADIATOR/’00, a Best Pic Winner, lost the directing award to see just how hungry this guy is for that kind of meaningless respect.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: Even if you’re not a huge fan, ALIEN/’79 looks like a masterpiece next to this. And what a difference in character development & writing! Or wallow in the silliness of the original SHE/’35, from the folks who brought you KING KONG/’33.

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