I wanted to like this movie, I really did. I wanted it to restore my faith in the Alien franchise and in Ridley Scott as a director. I wanted it to blow me away and leave me as impressed as anything I’ve ever seen at the movies. It is possible, perhaps, that my hopes for the film were too high, but I really wanted this movie to be great and instead it was just…there. Not great, not bad. Merely Serviceable and it should have been so much more.
You probably are aware by now that this is a (more or less) prequel to Scott’s sci-fi epic, Alien. This film owes much to that and has many parallels, though you don’t need to have seen the other movies to watch this one.
The movie shows us a world where alien astronauts visited the Earth back in the day (they’re vague as to when, but at least as far back as 35,000 years ago), and apparently the aliens had a hand in the creation of humanity. A team of scientists go to an alien world to have a look-see and find out what was going on all those centuries ago. Bad things happen, stuff gets blowed up real good and we get our tie-ins with the other movies.
If this sounds like I’m writing off the plot as being kind of a paint-by-numbers affair, it’s because I am. There’s no real revelations, except a stupid and pointless one involving DNA, the main character isn’t nearly as interesting as Ellen Ripley and the science in the movie is laughable. This is also one of those films that relies on everyone acting like an idiot (ie: a biologist who, when confronted with a snake-like reptile that’s clearly adopting a threat posture, moves in for a closer look, resulting in what you’d expect to have happen). The movie leaves us asking far more questions than we should be, and they aren’t ones like, “What’s the real nature of humanity?” but instead are ones like, “Why did anyone think this was a good idea for a film?”
But that’s not fair, perhaps. It wasn’t a bad idea for a film. There’s some rich treasure to be mined with the premise. It’s just that the execution was very flawed. I’ll say that Michael Fasbender did an excellent job as David, and the film looked very good. But beyond that, it just isn’t anything like what I’d wanted.
That said, given how very disjointed the plot is, I’ll be very curious to see what the director’s cut will be like. Mark my words: I’m expecting at least half an hour of deleted scenes which will probably clear up some of the problems with the film. I certainly hope so, anyhow, because as it stands it just isn’t very good.