Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Prometheus (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

David investigates the new room, which is large and circular. With his magic ability to always push the right sequence of buttons, he triggers another holographic display of the aliens using the room, including one... playing a flute... to activate machinery. Okay? A 3D map of the universe pops up, Earth featured prominently in the hologram. I'm not a fan of the whole 3D thing in movies, but I bet this scene was amazing in the theater.  Though I do question how he's able to HOLD THE HOLOGRAMS in his hands.

After the hologram fades, he finds a cryo chamber with an alien inside. He can hear a giant heartbeat, which I'll buy since I'm sure he has enhanced hearing.  Asshole 2.0's skin is starting to go veiny and crack like Dr. Brooklyn's did, which must mean Engineers and humans fall apart while worms mutate. Got it. Since it's been established Engineers and humans have identical DNA (sigh...), I'll buy that too. The team arrives at the Prometheus, but entry is barred by Vickers armed with a flamethrower who forbids Asshole 2.0 to come on board Probably should have done that at the beginning of the mission Charlize.

I almost want to applaud Vickers for showing an ounce of a brain cell by barring Asshole 2.0 from entering the ship because he's sick, but then why is she letting everyone else on board? They were all with him, helmets wisely off, inside the dome. They could all easily be in the early stages of infection like he was. But rational thinking is not something our "heroes" like to engage in.  Asshole 2.0 slightly redeems himself by telling Shaw he loves her and tells Vickers to torch him. She obliges and burns his ass to death, and I now have another new favourite character!

Shaw wakes up later in a quarantine, with David examining her. He takes her cross away because it "might be contaminated". He also discovers she's three months pregnant. Shaw says that's not possible, but David ominously tells her its not a traditional fetus. She starts (rightfully) spazzing out, wanting it out of her. David drugs her and remarks it must feel like her God has abandoned her, with her father and Sandals both dying from a virus. She asks how he knew that, he reveals he learned that from watching her dreams in cryo sleep. Creepy!

I do want to add at this point Michael Fassbender has been DIVINE in this role, it's one of those all too rare instances where an actor completely and utterly mastered the character he's playing to the point every time he's on screen your eyes are glued to him (see also Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter, Heath Ledger as the Joker). It really makes the movie feel a lot more special and helps balance the other nonsense that's going on (which is basically EVERYTHING).

Shaw next wakes up with Ford and another scientist trying to put her in cryo sleep. She kicks their asses and escapes to the Medpod, telling it she wants a Cesarian operation. Medpod says it's calibrated for male patients only (but Vickers isn't a male! Why in the world would she have a Medpod calibrated for a man? How dumb does this movie think we are?), so she reprograms it for an abdominal operation and hops in.  Her stomach begins to pulsate as the operation begins. Medpod lasers her open and pulls out the fetus, which is a horrifying squid-like creature which begins going berserk. She gets her stomach stapled shut and quickly exits the pod, leaving Tentacley Jr. trapped inside.  This might be the funniest and/or stupidest scene I've ever seen in a big budget non-comedy. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Nuking The Fridge, you are OFF THE HOOK.

I'm not even sure where to begin! The machine is able to perform a C-Section without damaging any of her female organs. When the fetus is removed, its sac burst and splatters her massive open stomach incision with God-knows-what. She grabs the umbilical cord and rips it out of her stomach. The machine just staples her stomach up, doing absolutely nothing for cleaning the opening or stopping all the internal bleeding she must be going through right now.  I've seen more realistic medical procedures in video games where characters restore their health by eating food off the ground.

Janek gets a feed from Asshole 1.0's monitor, which is right outside the ship and somehow working again. His body is crouched outside in a very awkward position with his LEGS OVER HIS SHOULDERS, so they decide to open the ship's door to investigate. I... this movie better have a reveal coming very quickly the atmosphere is full of gas that inhibits the part of the brain that, like, works. Asshole 1.0 stands up to reveal himself to be a face melted mutation that is now death incarnate.

Now hold on a second. Asshole 1.0 is a human, so shouldn't he have gotten sick and fallen apart like Dr. Brooklyn and Asshole 2.0? Why did he mutate like the worms? Why is he psycho and killing people? Why does this movie have no rules or consistency whatsoever?!? Asshole viciously kills the guys who come to check on him with superhuman strength. Janek and what's left of security end up taking him out by running the landcruiser over him and adding liberal dashes of flamethrower and shotgun. Mmm Mmm, just like momma used to make!

Shaw, doped off of pain killers, wanders around the ship and enters a room where she finds Weyland, David, and Weyland's medical staff. Fortunately they don't try to play this off as a big reveal, since they made it woefully obvious Weyland was on the ship. David tells Shaw one of the Engineers is still alive, with Weyland hoping it'll save his life.  I guess Weyland is dying of extreme old age, but the writers don't feel this is a big enough plot point to trouble us with.  Shaw makes no mention of her squid baby, which I probably would have brought up but that's just me. I suppose you could make the case she was so high she forgot, but she's still covered in blood, amniotic fluid, alien goo, and staples from the operation. Did no one even bother to ask her why?

And what was the point of Weyland faking his death?  It didn't make one iota of difference to the crew as apparently most of them didn't even know who they were working for!  Also, why would he assume the aliens can save him?  He's going off the assumption they created the human race, it's a pretty big leap to also assume they can magically prolong life, if that is what he's dying of.  This actually would have been a good part to establish Weyland was religious like Shaw, and that his faith was enough for him- oh my goodness, this is turning into a fanfic.

Shaw tries to talk Weyland out of going to see the alien since this whole operation has gone tits up, but he brushes her off. As a final shot, he asks if she's lost her faith. BURN! ...I guess.  Later in Shaw's room, she has a discussion with Janek. He just got done reading the movie's script apparently because he now knows everything about this movie. LV-223 isn't the Engineers' home, it's a military installation where they made a biological weapon that turned on them and they left. You could try to pass this off as speculation, but it's presented as such matter-of-fact information that it feels like we missed a scene or two. Janek wants to get out of there stat. He tells Shaw he won't let any of the alien stuff get to Earth. You might want to take a look in Vickers' quarters then, since Shaw doesn't feel like mentioning Tentacley Jr. to him either.

Weyland and Vickers have a pointless conversation where we learn he's her father. This does add an ounce of depth to her one note character, as her father clearly cares more about a robot than her, but it's not like she's been a crucial character to anything in the story thus far. You could have cut her altogether, had Janek torch Asshole 2.0, and the movie would be identical.

Next we get a strange scene as the team gets ready to depart for the dome again. Shaw asks David what he'll do if Weyland dies, David musing he'll be free and that all children want their parents dead. Shaw has a pain attack from her emergency surgery as the scene ends very abruptly. Thus far this movie has had terrible transitions from scene to scene, and the way this scene ends really magnifies it. Also, why is Shaw going with them after just trying to talk Weyland into abandoning this whole thing? I guess that faith comment really got under her skin. But then again, a lot of things get under her skin in this movie.  Eww.

On top of that, David makes a joke about Shaw's squid baby so it's obvious he knows about it. Like no one cared to follow up on this? We have a slight ticking clock because Weyland said he only has a few days left to live, but they couldn't have had at least ONE scene where everyone is like "Yeah, let's just leave that squid baby locked in the Medpod room for our own safety". It's just such a major thing to completely ignore and really stands out in this trainwreck of a script, which takes a lot.

Inside the dome, David tells Weyland he can take his helmet off. Shaw brings up that the air could be infected and that's how Asshole 2.0 probably got sick. David says it isn't while looking knowingly at her, which she has a "Waitaminute..." reaction to but then we cut to the next scene before anything can come of this. This editing is TERRIBLE, it almost looks like she was about the say something when the scene cuts away.  David tells Weyland the vase room is a cargo hold, and we learn inside the dome is actually a giant round ship. David figures the Engineers were trying to go to Earth after everything started going wrong. He opens the cryo chamber with the Engineer in it, who stands up and faces them.

Shaw screams at him why do they hate humans, but Weyland has one of his guys hit her to silence her. He has David try to talk to the alien, but the alien responds by TEARING HIS HEAD OFF AND BEATING WEYLAND TO DEATH WITH IT. Awesome! The Engineer kills the rest of the team except Shaw who wisely runs away. Vickers has been monitoring all of this and decides it's time to get the hell out of Dodge.

The Engineer calls up a control chair which will also look very familiar to those who saw Alien. The ship begins to rise from the dome, Shaw desperately trying to run from it to return to the Prometheus. At this point her God Mode has kicked in again, because her stapled stomach no longer causes her pain as she does all kinds of athletic moves to escape. It's her adrenaline, right? She calls Janek to tell him he has to stop the ship from leaving.

Janek figures out an idea to turn the Prometheus into a giant bullet which involves ramming it into the escaping alien ship. He tells Vickers he'll eject her lifepod quarters to the surface which will give her two years of life. She gets in an escape job and jettisons to the surface, oddly enough landing almost right next to Shaw. Convenience homing beacon!

The Prometheus crashes into the alien ship, exploding and causing it to come crashing down back to the planet. And here we get the most infamous scene of the entire movie: Vickers and Shaw try to outrun the crashing alien ship, which is rolling after them in a straight line. Yes, they try to outrun a rolling object by running in a STRAIGHT LINE. Shaw trips and FINALLY gets the idea to run to the side, but Vickers doesn't and is flattened. Farewell completely pointless character, how I will miss your bitchiness.

However a different part of the ship comes down on Shaw right after, knocking her out for a bit. It's not until her suit announces she only has two minutes of oxygen remaining does she wake up. What an AMAZING coincidence, since it was established that's the max time a person could hope to survive without a suit! It's also neat how she wasn't crushed to a pulp like Vickers. Shaw books it to the lifepod.

She grabs a conveniently placed ax (huh?) and enters the lifepod's main room. Looking through the window the Medpod, her little squid baby has now gotten HUGE. David (androids can still function despite decapitation, also previously established in the movies) calls Shaw to warn her the Engineer is coming for her, and I immediately wonder how he knows this. Did the Engineer tell him? From David's respective, all he would have seen would have been the Engineer leave the control chair and run off.  For that matter, why is the Engineer after her now? He just let her go earlier, watching her run off. Is it because she hurt his feelings when she yelled at him?

Immediately after David's call, the Engineer appears and attacks Shaw. This movie has COMPLETELY devolved to Slasher vs. The Last Girl Standing (Now With Action Ability!) nonsense. We have the immortal slasher, who survived a ship explosion and apparently doesn't need to breathe air since he wasn't wearing his helmet when he entered the lifepod, taking on the previously timid girl who has now Leveled Up To Badass with her sharp weapon and bonus invulnerability to an emergency C-section. LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!

Oh wait, the Engineer just wails on Shaw in a completely flat shot. He's even snarling like some kind of monster. She manages to open the door of the Medpod room (sadly she can't think of a snappy Hollywood one-liner, instead settling for the played out "DIIIIIIE!") and Tentacley Jr. attacks the Engineer, shoving a tentacle down its throat and killing it.

Though I suppose calling it Tentacley Jr. is not accurate because it has a vagina the size of a grown man's torso and junior is a masculine-only term. I'm fine with this though, the Alien franchise has always had very sexual imagery with its creatures. They were designed by Giger, after all. No, my problem is how BAD the Space Vagina looks. It wouldn't be out of place in an Eighties low budget sci-fi movie or a 2014 SyFy Original movie. The only bad looking thing in what otherwise has been a spectacular looking film. 

Shaw escapes back outside with a new suit apparently, because her depleted oxygen is no longer an issue. Although we never see her change suits... She is reduced to lying in the dirt and crying about how she can't do this anymore. Achievement Unlocked: Faith Lost! David calls her again, telling her there's more ships and he can operate them.

This forces me to ask again with a vengeance: WHY did the Engineer come after her?! Especially if there's more ships on the planet which he surely must have known about. If his mission of getting to Earth was so vital he immediately started doing it when coming out of cryo freeze, what's leaving one little human (or hell, fellow Engineer if we're going off DNA) behind going to matter?  Shaw returns to David amidst the ship wreckage, asking where her cross is and he just happens to have it on the lower half of his body. Achievement Unlocked: Faith Restored! Did they make that obvious enough for you?

She tells him she doesn't want to return to Earth, but rather where the Engineers came from. Shaw then loads up his head and body and RAPPELS out of the crashed ship, that's probably helping her surgery heal faster right? She says she deserves answers on why they changed their mind and tried to kill us. David doesn't understand. She says because she's a human and he's a robot is why it makes sense, and- really? That's- that's the line we're going to end on?

Movie ends with Shaw doing a voice over narration that it's New Year's Day in the year of our Lord 2094 and she's still searching, as we see her and David take off in another alien ship.  But we can't just end there, as we cut to the lifepod for our stinger which is so phoned in and anti-climatic it feels like a parody. The Engineer's dead body starts twitching, and lo and behold a chestbuster explodes out from it.

Only... it's not a chestbuster, it's a near full sized Xenomorph. And... it doesn't look like the traditional Xenomorph. Oh, but the Xenomorph DNA was birthed from an Engineer and not a human, that's why it looks different. But... Engineers and humans have identical DNA. No, I got it. The Xenomorph didn't come from a facehugger, it came from Tentacley Jr., THAT'S why it looks different. So how is it Tentacley Jr. is able to lay eggs in people's stomachs just like facehuggers do? Tentacley Jr. wasn't born from an egg, he was born from a human, so shouldn't his spawn be vastly different? And it's not like this was the beginning of the Xenomorph evolution, this movie is only about thirty years before Alien. Speaking of eggs, where do Alien Queens come into the picture?

Assuming LV-223 was a military installation, the black liquid was a weapon the Engineers created for some reason. We'll just totally ignore the beginning where we saw it was used to create life, because that scene REALLY stands out now in context of everything else. Unless maybe it was originally supposed to create life and eventually evolved into the Xenomorph creating liquid we saw- you know what, this is pointless.

Cue the credits.

Well, that was horribly disappointing.  In 2007, Ridley Scott gave an infamous interview where he shared his thoughts of modern sci-fi movies: "There is an over reliance on special effects as well as weak storylines".  The irony of that statement is delicious.  The movie looked gorgeous and had some fantastic acting, but the story completely fell off the rails pretty early on and fell HARD.

This movie will go down in history as yet another story that wouldn't exist if any of the characters exercised the SLIGHTEST ounce of common sense.  If "Idiot Ball" is an expression used when a character's stupidity fuels the plot (like Homer's carrying the Idiot Ball every week on the Simpsons), you could say this was the Idiot Ball Dream Team.  Virtually every single person in this movie was stupid beyond comprehension, from our super smart "scientists" to even the super smart aliens who created human life.

When you spend almost every scene smacking your head and yelling at the screen "Dumbass, why would you do that?!" or "I wouldn't even try to chase you down to eat you because it's obvious you have no brains!" (err, that last one might only apply to me), you're not watching a very good movie.  I've seen all kinds of interviews online from Scott and Lindelof where they shine some light on the many unanswered questions in the story, but if it's not in the movie then I don't care.  A sequel is due in 2016 which will hopefully officially answer some of these questions, but it still won't save this film.

Despite all that, I'd still recommend seeing this film if you haven't.  It looks AMAZING, almost all the actors (especially David Fassbender, who gives a performance for the ages) bring their A-game despite their characters being written as too stupid to live, Shaw continues the franchise's proud history of having a strong female lead that isn't a Barbie Doll who needs to show lots of skin to stand out, and the movie never really drags.  The negatives are really all around the how story and the writing.  Even a person who has never seen an Aliens movie would be left asking question after question after question.  A good story has you talking about it years after you've seen it for everything it did right, not everything it did wrong.

Seriously though, a freaking Rubik's Cube?!  GRRRRRR-BAHHHHHHHH!