A PROMETHEUS Roundtable: Part 2 – The Moody Views
As PROMETHEUS opens up this week, we continue our conversation of all things important surrounding the movie. We posted our first post yesterday, and today we look at the R rating, creature design, and dichotomy of optimism and pessimism surrounding the release.
I had the privilege to be joined by a pair of contributors when writing this project. My good friends Chris Baldwin and Will Damron offered up advice and thought about PROMETHEUS. Chris is a fellow blogger for Screen Invasion and writes comic books, screenplays, and anything else worth creating under the sun. Will is a video blogger who does weekly movie reviews for his site Papa Kenn Media, and his videos are also hosted by the Bobo Broadcasting Network.
So let’s get back into it, shall we?
Something else that has me hopeful for the intensity/fear factor of the movie is that Scott has required the movie to stay rated R rather than water it down to PG-13 levels due to gore. There is always the risk that it could be gore for gore’s sake, but again I’m staying hopeful in believing that requiring the R rating means this will be a wonderfully terrifying experience for audiences our age.
I have to admit: If some scientists announced that they had discovered the cure to a terrible disease the same day as the R rating for PROMETHEUS was confirmed….I would still be more excited about the R rating for PROMETHEUS. Yeah. I said it. Get at me…world.
Question: How much does this rating matter in the grand scheme of things? We’ve seen just how little a rating can impact a movie’s intensity or violence with THE DARK KNIGHT, and I don’t know why the level of gore will impact the movie as much as you say. Call it concern, call it a lack of interest in gore, but WHY is the R rating for PROMETHEUS important to you?
It matters. THE DARK KNIGHT was intense for sure, but there was little actual on-screen violence. In fact, the violence featured in TDK was handled very much like most of the violence in ALIEN (a movie Christopher Nolan has admitted several times he worships). However, I defer to the fact that if the studio would have forced the first movie to be PG (1979=No PG-13 yet) the chest-buster scene would have been COMPLETELY deflated. It’s in this sequence where the creeping dread of the first hour becomes actual dread, and a very real and visceral threat emerges for the crew of the Nostromo. The gore MADE that scene my friend, coupled with a superb performance from John Hurt, and of course some slick editing and make-up effects. Rumor has it, we may be in for another such scene in Prometheus, and I want to see that scene in all it’s glory, the way Ridley Scott intended it to be. *
Also, an epiphany: really it’s movie nerds (like us) who’ve ruined PROMETHEUS for themselves. I think the general movie going public doesn’t really have any idea that it is connected to Alien in any significant way. Imagine that, going into PROMETHEUS completely fresh, and without bias or expectations, like audiences did in 1979 when ALIEN was released. Being on the cutting edge of pop culture, truly cuts both ways.
But CAN somebody go into a movie not knowing anything about it anymore? I have my doubts that people would even want to do it. Let’s face it, movies are not cheap, not for audiences to see or studios to make. I don’t know if an audience could even go into the movie without having some tertiary knowledge of the film. And the spoiler-filled TV commercials are doing their best to connect to specific shots within ALIEN so we have to consider that.
All pop culture is now a part of each other. It’s inescapable, really. But is that a bad thing for PROMETHEUS?
I don’t think it is/would be a bad thing. And you’re right Kyle, it’s difficult (if not impossible) for anyone to go into a movie without knowing anything about it these days. To that regard, I think that the trailers (however spoilerific they may be) in this case actually help instill some confidence in the viewing audience that this movie will be worth their money. Then again, the trailers could be as misleading as the ones for THE GREY were,and we’ll actually be going to see a movie about the SOUTH PARK aliens playing a heated round of Texas Hold’em (or would it be Titan Hold’em?) against the humans.
The trailers’ use of connecting shots from ALIEN to PROMETHEUS isn’t necessarily bad, but can be a bit worrisome in that it could overly raise expectations for big fans of the ALIEN franchise, while possibly alienating (ha!) people with little to no experience in those movies. And let’s face it, despite the availability of information online, way too many people are way too lazy to look it up. Why else would “Let Me Google That For You” exist?
I know what I’m expecting, Chris knows, I suspect you know, and everyone else is drawing their own conclusions based on what information is being presented. Although I’m hoping for an amazing thriller of a movie that will melt my face off (having been freshly un-melted after seeing THE AVENGERS), it’s all speculation that runs the risk of leaving me disappointed and wanting to stab clowns/babies/ET cartridges like the movie CONTACT.
I’ve noticed things are starting to look mighty tentacle-y in the TV spots. One can never have too much tentacle in Lovecraftian sci-fi/ Horror films, and the presence of all these malignant tentacles definitely solidifies the connection between Lovecraft’s AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS and PROMETHEUS. It’s obvious that Lovecraft’s original story had an influence on PROMETHEUS, and sad that this movie might prevent Guillermo del Toro (HELLBOY, PAN’S LABYRINTH) from making his dream film. Best case scenario: The movie is a hit with audiences and critics, and studio executives wanting another big R-rated epic horror hit of there own green lights the project. Ah, it’s fun to dream.
Didn’t del Toro basically say that there would be no need for a movie version of AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS after PROMETHEUS screened? If anything, I’d like to see how del Toro could differentiate his work from Sir Scott’s in the future. Look, in today’s world we know that actual and projected audiences create projects, and how audiences react to PROMETHEUS will definitely affect how other films are made. I want PROMETHEUS to be a hit not just for AtMoM’s future, but also because R-rated sci-fi horror can be so, so fulfilling. There was a sweet spot in the 90s when we got a lot of it, albeit mostly bad movies, so I want more all the time.
But I just want a smarter blockbuster too. It seems that every year we get less intelligent films thrown our way. The idea that film audiences are largely dumb and should only receive poorly done blockbusters frustrates me. There should be room for more on the Hollywood buffet table, but it’s like I can only get Big Macs and Double Downs. Sure they’re filling and taste great in the heat, but I may also end up gaining weight and not get access to the sushi, salads, and culinary experiments I also want from buffets. If Prometheus does well, maybe we can get more of the intellectual blockbusters like INCEPTION and the BOURNE series, along with lesser hits like the SOCIAL NETWORK.
But I’m rambling now. Can we talk about how good PROMETHEUS looks? No, really, those visuals are stunning. I want more imagery that actually tickles the dead imagination I have from consumption of too many crap CGI images. However they did it, I want to relish that design work and fall into an IMAX theater with it. In particular, I want to see the images of Earth and the real give way to alien fascination, followed by the horror of the unknown.
There’s no denying a whole lot is riding on PROMETHEUS. While I was standing in line waiting for THE AVENGERS I overheard a few people talking about Prometheus, and they all seemed excited about it. This was very encouraging to hear, and I’m sure it will have put up decent opening weekend #’s, but it will need very strong word of mouth to become a bona-fide hit.
And yes Kyle, there is something deeply satisfying about adult-oriented R-rated (genre or otherwise) entertainment. It’s the reason I love GAME OF THRONES so much. It melds my childhood love of dragons and swordplay with my more adult tastes/sensibilities. I’m hoping PROMETHEUS does the same.
Now onto that imagery: The sense of immersion and depth of focus being conveyed in some of the stills FOX released is stunning. The objects in the fore ground of the shots don’t just POP, they are almost intruding upon our reality. However, I expected this. Ridley Scott’s made some bad films, but he’s never made a bad looking film. Will there be a amazing story to back up the amazing visuals? Also, the more pressing question: how much should the Space Jockey (and it’s overall mythology) be demystified? I’m just so goddamned scared there’s going to be a Midi-chlorians speech, guys… Remember: George Lucas mostly comes out at night….mostly.
They told me that it would be okay. It wasn’t okay, because the Jar Jar stand-in was still there!
Agreed. Even KINGDOM OF HEAVEN looked amazing, and ALIEN still looks great by modern standards. Have you seen the amazing Blu-Ray transfer of the film? It’s astonishing.
I don’t want to appreciate this movie like a child would. I want to appreciate a movie like an adult with smarter sensibilities. As someone who has yet to watch or read any of A Game of Thrones (I know, I’m weak and a terrible person), I receive relatively few filmic pleasures that actually stimulate my intellect. For years, the Alien mythology has been relatively untouched and unexplored. While I agree that demystifying the universe has its pitfalls in Midichlorians, I hope that the final product is actually adult and respectful of its audience of adults. Maybe that’s what the R-rating truly means; a chance to really get at the heart of what makes this universe work without having to compromise the artistic integrity of it all.
Or naked Charlize Theron. Never let it be said that Sir Ridley Scott didn’t know fine visuals when he saw them.
That bit of immaturity aside, can we agree that PROMETHEUS is our most anticipated movie of the summer? In a summer with a final Nolan Batman headed our way?
PROMETHEUS is the biggest deal for movie geeks this summer. ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER are both considered to be two of the finest, if not THE finest, science fiction movies ever made. Are my expectations too high? Of course they are, but here’s the thing: the derelict, the egg chamber, the space jockey and his big ass space chair have haunted my imagination for years, in a good way mind you. I’ve always wondered how he ended up there on that dreary and desolate little planet, which means I’ve come up with my own ideas (read: loaded expectations) about how all this went down. Ridley Scott coming back after all this time to tell that story is too awesome to resist.
So yes, in the end, my expectations are way too high for PROMETHEUS, but I don’t think it’s going to hurt my enjoyment of the film too much. I’m so parched for an ambitious and sophisticated sci-fi horror film that anything will taste good at this point. Maybe it won’t be as great as ALIEN, but I’m sure it will do in a pinch, and hopefully it will be successful so that the studios will start churning out more sophisticated genre entertainment.
Can we plan for a PROMETHEUS recap after we all see the film? I’m curious about what else we can cover since it’s obvious we have high expectations going into this. Let’s buddy up again post-mind-blowing and discuss this like gentlemen! To the derelict, we will go!