Saturday, June 16, 2012

Prometheus vs. a board game

Which seems more promising? A huge space epic that considers the origins of humans, creation, and Charlise Theron in super tight pants OR a huge alien invasion epic based on a board game from my childhood? Believe it or not, Prometheus, Ridley Scott's much anticipated prequel or sequel or whatever-quel, is less enjoyable than the bloated and cliche-ridden Battleship.

How is this possible? Both movies have shockingly high budgets and amazing special effects. I'm not saying that Prometheus isn't worth seeing. In fact, it is a much better film in almost every respect, except one, the entertainment factor. Battleship, a mash-up of Top Gun and An Officer and a Gentleman, chronicles the coming to manhood of a complete mess-up, played by Friday Night Lights'
Taylor Kitsch. Since this is a fantasy, don't be surprised that our hero manages to overcome Navy brass, the admiral's refusal to have him for a son-in-law, and an alien invasion (a nod to too many movies). The movie moves quickly, the dialogue is corny but fun, and the battles impressive.

Prometheus, on the other hand, has even better and more spectacular effects, many based on the classic designs of the Alien films, the first of which was directed by Ridley Scott. It is a visually gorgeous film. Despite his best efforts, Scott has bitten off more than he can handle. The film suggests that aliens have visited eons ago and now their calling cards have begun a major space probe, manned by good archeologists and bad corporate types (Theron). Neither quite find what they wanted to. But they do encounter lots of horrors, some quite similar to the earlier Alien films, but without the surprise effects. Warning: some of the effects are stomach-churning and difficult to watch, especially the most graphic Caesarian birth ever filmed (even on the medical channels).

So, it's your choice. Alien invasion or human invasion of aliens. Or maybe wait for the new Spiderman.

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