If I wanted to do just one thing to improve my mental and physical well-being, it would be this: take the large, comfortable chair in my living room out into the backyard and burn it. I spend far too much time in it; yesterday, I decided to break the bonds of sedentia and see a movie — on the big screen, in a theater, with a Bloomberg-cringe-worthy bucket of popcorn. So I went to see Prometheus.
I saw Alien at a theater on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco on the day it opened in 1979. According to a good friend who I was with at the time, we watched it at a theater in San Bruno, but that’s not how I remember it. Regardless, I remember how much that movie affected me. It really took the sci-fi genre to a new level. And it was scary. Holy crap was it a scary movie. But the whole film turned a page for me — the H.R. Giger design; the Nostromo (although somewhat reminiscent of the “Valley Forge” in Silent Running) was something new in my mind. This giant, hulking mining ship. Nothing clean and white like the ship in 2001. The Nostromo was gritty. It was urban, dirty, working class. It was Allentown in space. But the story was fantastic. So I was really excited to hear that the creator of that fantastic story and film — Ridley Scott — was going home again. But this time, it was going to be a prequel.
I wasn’t disappointed. Okay, I don’t think this was his best work; some of the plot points are cliches from other movies of this genre. But in keeping with the Alien storyline, there were creatures crawling into, and bursting out from human (and humanoid) bodies. There was the final countdown — this time it was 2:00 until oxygen exhaustion — that was so great from the original. There was an homage to Greek gods in the persona of the giants that form the basis of the story, which I thought was superb. But there were also a couple of less-than-perfect plot flaws. Some of the characters were deeply developed — and others, not at all.
Maybe it was rushed. Maybe it was trying to do too much. But I still liked it. It takes the Alien storyline in a new and exciting direction. Assuming the ending was designed to enable sequels,they can take the arc of Alien in a whole new direction, yet remain true to the original film (and its sequels). I hope we see some sequels to Prometheus. There is a lot of the story left to tell.