Suffering from superhero burn out? Me too. Thankfully Prometheus will treat us to some real science fiction this summer.
Prometheus comes out in just a couple weeks and I couldn’t be more excited to see it. Not only is this movie a return to a universe I had all but given up on, I think it could be a proper return to science fiction at large. People are kind of hesitant to throw out the word “prequel” when it comes Prometheus, but anyone that’s paying attention knows it is. It’s not hard to see that Prometheus shares the same DNA as the Alien franchise that was born 33 years ago this weekend, and if the director, cast and visuals is any clue, this franchise might just return to its former glory.
In space no one can hear you scream
The first Alien movie was a milestone of sci-fi horror that gave us one of the most iconic creatures in the alien, and one of the most legendary scenes of an alien bursting out of someone’s chest – a scene you’ve no doubt reenacted yourself for friends, especially after eating some White Castle that maybe decided to give you a hard time. Then after seven years and what seemed like forever, the sequel Aliens was released and transformed one of the best horror films into one of the best action films. If Alien made you anxious with fear, Aliens made you anxious with pure adrenaline. The famous aliens returned, as did Sigourney Weaver, only this time she was armed to the teeth and ready to fight. It was a cat fight of epic proportions and to this day is a movie that I can watch over and over despite its 120+ minute runtime. I’ll go on the record that Aliens was a better movie and thus puts the franchise in the rare category where the sequel is better than the original.
That was 1986 and that was the last time anyone enjoyed an Alien film. Then six years after that it was “game over, man” when Alien 3 was released and sucked…then Alien Resurrection, which really sucked, and then we were insulted with the Alien vs. Predator movies. For those keeping score, the Alien franchise has been beaten and neglected for the better part of 30 years to a point where an entire generation only know the alien monsters from AVP. I’m hoping Prometheus will be the film we all want it to be and put the Alien franchise back where it belongs as an exciting mix of sci-fi action and horror.
Bringing back real science fiction
To be honest, I really want to see Prometheus do well because I want to see full science fiction movies make a comeback. Looking at the past decade, there haven’t been that many straight up sci-fi films worthy of note. Take out all the comic book movies, which I don’t consider very sci-fi anyway, and that leaves you with maybe less than a half dozen films of note. Minority Report for sure, and the Star Trek reboot was a big shot in the arm but otherwise Hollywood has been focused on vampires, wizards and superheroes (although I don’t blame them, they bring in big cash). I just want to watch a good sci-fi story that exists within original sci-fi world. The new Total Recall movie is hopeful but Prometheus will mean more if only because the Alien movies made such an impact on my childhood.
The Alien universe had style…and it was some bad ass, scary style. Sitting still on the wall, the art of HR Giger is weird and slightly perverted, but put it on the big screen as a backdrop for androids, spaceships and heavy artillery, and you have yourself a good time. Unfortunately, that style was lost over the years. After Aliens, the only hint of Giger’s work was the alien creature itself, everything else was left to being a “dirty future”. Prometheus is taking us back to where the series belongs…in the heart of an alien species.
We’re told the aliens in Prometheus are not the aliens from the older movies, but I have no doubt there is some lineage there. I expect Prometheus to explain the origin of the alien creatures we’ve all come to know and love. Plus we’re treated to a new android…I mean, synthetic person…in David, the subject of some excellent viral videos. I’m also happy to see Prometheus will be rated R, which is right where it belongs. Movies have been too scared of an R rating for too long. Yes, PG-13 technically means a younger crowd can see the movie…but who’s checking? I don’t know about you, but I was walking into R-rated movies in middle school. Point being that Prometheus needs to be rated R to do what it needs to do. I’m happy they didn’t restrict their choices just to get a lesser rating…do what you need to do to make a good movie. If it’s rated R, it’s rated R…people will still go see it.
All things said and done, I’m really just excited to see an Alien franchise movie on the big screen. The first two movies existed only as VHS tapes in my life, so I never saw either one of them in the theatre with an audience. Watching Prometheus with all the luxuries a modern movie theatre offers should be an exceptional experience that will not only take us back but also make us hopeful for the future of science fiction.