This is a movie with many mixed signals, and with a little net research, got mixed reviews, from professional critics to regular movie-goers, and my own reaction is going to be somewhere left of the middle. Stunning graphics, leaden pace, and characters with too many hidden agendas and bad attitudes, plus flat performances. While I am up for the mystery of the origin of human life, and I find anthropology and archaeology fascinating, right from the beginning, this movie created more questions than it answered.
I must give kudos to the production director for choosing Iceland as the location for the shoot, because such an untamed land is a great backdrop for what could be an unknown planet, as well as the origin of our own species. Out of Africa? Not so much by way of this story. So, what brings Ridley Scott back into the Aliens game? A point of reference, and it starts with a huge ghostly pale figure in robes with slick skin, and humanoid in physical stature, but a giant by our view. This giant strips off his robe, and takes a drink of what looks to be a potion of some sort from a small cup, then this being disintegrates slowly before our eyes until we see its base DNA changing in the water. Cut to a period in what could be the near future, to an archeological dig near The Giant’s Causeway, where Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her boyfriend, Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) find a cave painting indicating visitors from space coming to meet with the people of the region. This same theme pops up in other places, like on the History Channel series, Ancient Aliens, but unlike the speculators from that show, the researchers have a place to go, and before we know it, they are funded by an exploratory corporation, Weyland, to find “The Engineers”.
Getting this crew together was really something, because they all have their strengths, but their weaknesses will be their undoing. Our lead, Dr. Shaw, is bound to find out more about the origins of the human race, and is a devout zealot, even if she does let science lead the way. Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), the project coordinator, is an ice princess that holds to the bottom line, and is full of secrets. There is an android, David (Michael Fassbender), that is so loyal to the cause, he won’t let anything stop him from his mission. His mission has nothing to do with what Dr. Shaw is going there for. The biggest secret is that the man who funded this project, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) is still alive, although very old, and is looking for the Engineers to learn their secrets so that be can be immortal. Charlie pretty much clings to Elizabeth, and she is so trouble about her barren state, that she feels that she is being punished somehow.
We’ve got a biologist, Millburn (Rafe Spall), that is more curious than a ferret, and a high-strung geologist, Fifield (Sean Harris) that tends to get easily lost. There are mercs, and pilots, and Weyland’s personal retinue in place to help him get to his prize. The pilots, Janek (Idris Elba), Chance (Emun Elliott), and Ravel (Benedict Wong) are the only guys on this ship with a lick of sense, but it won’t save them from all the deadly things on this planet. From the storms, to the beginnings of what would become the Aliens we love to hate, to the one leftover angry engineer on a murderous rampage, there are just way too many ways can go wrong here, and some actually survive, but it won’t be the ones you like. It looks as though this movie is set up for a sequel, but I don’t think I’ll be waiting around to see it. There are much better things to do.
I give this film a Musing review of