Sunday, December 21, 2014

Prometheus (A Shitmas Post from John Tatarelli Jr)

What I Choose To Believe or The Trick Is Not Minding That It Hurts
By John Tatarelli Jr

         I’m just going to start this off letting you know that this is not a summary of the film, I’m not going to try to solve the mysteries of this film by getting deep into it, basically this is just my vague rambling (this subject might be better explored in conversation, it is up for debate and Ridley Scott’s films are open to interpretation). At this point Prometheus 2 is in the works so in a couple of years my ideas may be thrown out the window, and I’m fine with that. I’m going to break this into two parts, basically how I look at Prometheus, and how I choose to look at the Alien franchise. Before I get into those discussions I’m going to give you quick look at how I look at films at this point in my life. I was born in 1980, I feel like I was born at just the right time. Everything awesome from my parents youth was on constant syndication on the 7 channels (sometimes 8 depending on the weather) that we enjoyed on our very small television. I was lucky enough to watch the Star Wars trilogy and many other classics thanks to our RCA Videodisc player, after that we got our first VCR. I grew up watching amazing films that were made true masters of the craft, the films I grew up watching were not targeted towards my age, they were what they were. Films back then didn’t over explain everything. So many great films from my youth can be revisited at this age and teach new lessons that my young mind couldn’t grasp. Evertyhing from my youth was just magic to me. Then everything changed when the Star Wars prequels came out. They used bullshit science to explain The Force, the trilogy was ruined, everything started to suck. (There are exceptions, but that’s about when the magic died for me) Modern films to me for the most part, lack excitement, humour, and emotion. The worst part about modern films is the fact they explain way too much. This is my overall feeling, some stuff surprises me, a lot disappoint me, but I’m getting older and what I think is cool differs from what younger audiences enjoy. Onto Prometheus….

         The hype for this film banked a lot on our nostalgia for Alien. The trailer, if you remember was beat by beat the Alien trailer. I was excited to go see this because Alien is one of my favorite films ever, its one of a very short list of films that I consider perfect. When I heard that it was a prequel I was crushed, I kept thinking “please don’t ruin Alien, leave it the hell alone”. Then I heard it wasn’t a prequel for Alien at all. I was stumped because the marketing was big bald headed statues and pics of the Space Jockey. Is this or isn’t this a prequel? I figured screw it, I’ll find out when I go see it.

Me and Mary went to see this opening weekend with open minds. We both left the theater agreeing that it was not what we were expecting and we predicted that most people will hate it. One of the things that really excited me about Prometheus was it seemed to take its cue from Chariots of the Gods. I was always into ancient astronauts, UFO’s, aliens, philosophies on life and religion. It had little throw backs to Alien but over all it was really an ancient astronaut film that answered questions with questions. It was as close a prequel to Alien as the ancient Mayans and Egyptians are to the modern world. I loved that people were still people, the characters did stupid things, human things. Unlike most new films they didn’t make all the right choices. The questions that were answered are just segway into more questions, nothing is laid out in a straight line, the life cycles for the black liquid is not predictable. They went on a search for God and found nothing but more questions. We build synthetic humans, Engineers built us, who built them? I love that you get the feeling that these Gods or Engineers most likely consider us a virus like the Xenomorph from Alien. The film has multi levels to it, and if you can separate it completely from the Alien films you will most likely enjoy it. I think the details of the lived in worlds and overall vibe along with the visuals make Ridley Scotts SciFi films stand out. I recommend watching Chariots of the Gods and then checking out Prometheus, might put you in the right frame of mind. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, its not heavy handed, just put it on and let the film speak for itself. I could go on forever about Alien, Blade Runner and Prometheus, this little essay is not going to do it justice.

         This is an overview of how I look at the Alien films. Alien as a stand alone film is perfect, just perfect. The artists involved on this film put together a living work of art that just blows me away everytime I watch it. Its one of the few films that excites and scares me every time because I’m sucked in and seeing something new every time I watch it. Ridley’s films are so detailed that you can watch it for the first time over and over. So Alien alone is a perfect film. Then came Aliens, another very fun film that you can watch stand alone or you can watch Alien and then Aliens. Then came Alien 3, works the same way as before, each can stand alone just fine or you put together they make an amazing trilogy. That’s basically my take on Alien, Aliens, and Alien 3. Everything after those films is something completely different, an add on, a spin off, whatever. I love the DarkHorse comics that continued the Aliens franchise. Those comics are really just fun after thoughts, Alien Resurrection is like a live action DarkHorse comic. Alien Resurrection is a fun film, but I put that in its own category. DarkHorse gave us another fun series of comics exploring the world of Predator, then Alien vs Preditor. In Predator 2 we got a glimpse of the Alien skull, are they connected? No, just a cool after thought…..oh wait, now we have the Alien vs Predator films. Again they can be fun, but I don’t consider them part of the Alien films or the Predator films. All of these things can be connected, but I like splitting them up so I can enjoy each of them. Basically if you lined them up on a shelf it would be Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 (fun alone or as a trilogy) Alien Ressurection, Predator, Predator 2, Predators (fun alone or as a trilogy), AVP 1&2, and Prometheus would just be at the end because really its not a part of all these films. Prometheus is a distant cousin of Alien. I also think of Alien, Blade Runner and Prometheus as a Scott’s Replicant trilogy.

         In closing I do love Prometheus, it kills some of my friends when I say that. Oh yeah, Prometheus takes place on Christmas and ends on New Year, so it’s a Christmas movie.

 - John Tatarelli Jr.
Art Of John Tatarelli Jr.

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