Saturday, 2 June 2012
Tragically, it seems to have more in common with Event Horizon than Alien. It has a plot so thin 80's Doctor Who would have thought twice about putting it out and a script so clunky and with such lumpen dialogue, I wonder whether the writers have actually finished high school. They certainly rely way too much on Chekov's Gun.
I had avoided all press and trailers so went in very no preconceptions and expecting nothing. Sadly, that's what I got. In abundance.
However, pretty it looked, and there were some aesthetically beautiful moments, it was vacuous nonsense. I mean, however stupid Alien:Resurrection was - and it really was - it was at least well paced and fun. This plods and offers nothing that we haven't seen in countless other lower budget movies - the aforementioned Event Horizon, The Thing, etc., and rather than creating a shocking moment of body horror, as John Hurt managed in the original, it tried too hard to create unease by many moments of half-arsed body horror, instead. It failed, with only one genuine moment of squirm that was casually tossed away a few minutes later.
Whereas there's an argument for Alien being a metaphor for male fear of penetration, pregnancy and birth, with Gigers design for the eggs and face huggers being disturbingly anatomical, transplanting that fear to a sterile female character simply seems crass. And most of the aliens, rather than looking like walking vaginas, this time are extremely phallic and exhibit violent acts of penetration. It's not subtle.
Having four writers was not a good thing when they all seem to be pulling in different directions. The Von Daniken angle being the most gobsmackingly awful. This, I think, is the crux. The plot, such as it was (land a ship, run up and down some corridors, get killed) had no real focus, it simply didn't know what it wanted to do or say. Nothing was explored to any kind of satisfactory conclusion and rather than be excited by the potential for an well signalled sequel, I just thought 'Who cares?"
Fassbender was probably the one redeeming feature, and how ironic that the one character that was meant to be cold, distant and aloof was also the most human. Marshall-Green could have been great had he not been despatched so early and Idris Elba was savagely underused. The problem is that everything was a plot device. Every character or piece of machinery that was introduced had one plot device/use. Ooh look, she lives in the life boat; golly it's an automated surgical unit; lawks a lummee, there's only one person who could do *that* sort of manoeuvre, I mean he's bloody told he can often enough..... GAH!
The addition of the 'finding god' plot was, again, lumpen and felt tacked on in order to give it some perceived gravitas and an attempt to TACKLE IMPORTANT ISSUES. All it did was make you want to punch the female lead. And giving someone Daddy Issues doesn't make them interesting, especially when you have such a lacklustre cast who simply can't pull it off.
Somehow, this movie, despite looking rather lovely, manages to diminish the entire franchise and make a nonsense of the established chronology/mythology. It makes you yearn for the original while it so thoughtfully pokes you in the ribs going "eh, eh..this bit's in Alien you know" Yeah, but its *better* in Alien; all it achieves is to point out and accentuate it's own inadequacies.
And don't get me started on the sub-Star Trek soundtrack.
Disappointing and genuinely awful.