October 12th -- Prometheus
While at my inlaws' last weekend, I had occasion to continue my Halloween viewing, albeit in a more restrained atmosphere. What's a horror fan to do when it's family viewing time? When they suggested "Prometheus," I was a bit surprised but it actually makes pretty good sense: my father-in-law is a big sci-fi guy and "Prometheus" does carry some pretty impressive sci-fi credentials.
I've already seen and reviewed "Prometheus" for a past blog, so I won't really rehash old territory here. In a nutshell, the film is a precursor to Ridley Scott's classic "Alien," although calling it a prequel is a bit of a stretch. I really enjoyed the film, maybe more than anything in the series since the original movie. I felt that it possessed the epic scope and vision that the original film merely hinted at. The addition of outdoor scenes gave an even grander scope to the proceedings and the temple was simply badass. Many viewers complained about the film's open-end but, in reality, it's the first of a trilogy: too much resolution in the first act would render the other two moot.
More than anything, I debated including "Prometheus" on my list because I wondered about its place in the horror genre. It's undoubtedly a sci-fi film and a mighty grand one, at that. The original "Alien was definitely a horror film, a haunted movie crossed with a monster movie. "Prometheus," ultimately, is less of a horror film than "Alien" but more of a horror film than "Aliens." How? Simple: pace.
Both "Alien" and "Prometheus" are slow-paced crawls, more concerned with setting up atmosphere and place than going for full-bore thrills. They each have their big action set-pieces, of course, but the focus is on generating tension and dread. "Aliens," on the other hand, is much more of an action film, substituting the masses of Xenomorphs for the faceless armies in any war or siege film. I've never classified "Aliens" as a horror film but I always consider "Alien" to be one.
Utimately, my original recommendation stands: if you're a fan of the series or of quality sci-fi, in general, you owe it to yourself to see this film. If you're merely a fan of the surface elements of the series, however (namely the iconic Xenmorphs), then you might not enjoy "Prometheus" as much as others. This probably won't become a part of my traditional Halloween viewing but it will definitely make its way into my permanent collection.