Posts tagged ‘Alien’

June 9, 2012

Prometheus (2012 – Cinema)

“A king has his reign, and then he dies. It’s inevitable”

I’ve tried my hardest to avoid learning anything about ‘Prometheus’ despite counting down the minutes ’til the release date and so entered the cinema with a refreshing air of mystery still before me. The film arose when Director Ridley Scott realised that there were actually two HR Giger designed alien species in Scott’s own 1979 Sci-Fi Horror classic ‘Alien’. Of course the so-called ‘Xenomorph’ has been explored in six sequel movies and countless novels and comic books. But the ‘Space-Jockey’ being (As it is known) has rarely been touched upon with the exception of one comic I remember reading a long time ago. So ‘Prometheus’ is a true prequel to ‘Alien’ but it takes the interesting decision of having a team of scientists exploring the story of this ancient and mysterious space-faring race rather than the acid-blooded creatures we all know and love.

‘Prometheus’s scariest moments explore the same disturbing sexual and scientific horrors as ‘Alien’. Indeed, the scene involving a bloody robot operation had me almost looking away but of course I couldn’t, as Ridley Scott had me transfixed like watching a disgusting Cronenberg-ian car crash.  The cast are good but they pale next to the masterful performance by Michael Fassbinder as the android David.  His every movement, facial tick and gesture seems like a creepy malevolent showroom dummy yet he also imbues David with a placid childlike nature that makes him a beautifully sympathetic character.  Those waiting to see Scott craft another gorgeous Sci-Fi visual world will not be disappointed and for the watchful there are plenty of little design nods to Ridley’s earlier film. ‘Prometheus’ raises far more questions about human existence and the world of ‘Alien’ than it ever answers so now I’m eagerly awaiting the promised sequel

May 27, 2012

Outland (1981 – DVD)

“If you’re looking for sterling character you’re in the wrong place”

A week ahead of the exciting release of Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’ prequel ‘Prometheus’ I cast around for a similar slice of sci-fi to slake my impatient thirst.  I found the perfect film in Peter Hyams’ ‘Outland’ which was greenlit and released in the wake of ‘Alien’ (To which it owes a stylistic debt), it was also filmed in the UK, it also featured a chilly score by Jerry Goldsmith, it also was about a crew of space miners, it also had a novelisation by Alan Dean Foster and it was also produced by The Ladd Company… who would next be involved with Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’.  All those things combined with the whole gothic horror feel of the movie leaves you with the fun idea that it could easily exist in the same imagined universe as ‘Alien’.

Sean Connery plays a newly appointed Marshal in a corrupt mining town on the moon of Io.  Something is causing the miners to commit suicide but finding out who knows about it and how high up the corruption goes could cost him everything.  The tone lurches from melancholia to violent action with superb performances from all.  The compositing effects show their age a little but nothing too distracting.  I had fun spotting the familiar faces from 1980s/1990s UK sitcoms and dramas although it does feature a strong performance from American Clarke Peters (Lester Freamon from The Wire).  I felt that the admittedly action packed climax was a slight let down to the creeping tension that had built up during the rest of the movie but ‘Outland’ is still a fine piece of 80s Sci-Fi.