Despite the mixed reviews - and some were pretty scathing - I had high expectations for this film. Why not? The man who brought us "Alien”, “Blade Runner" and "Thelma and Louise", must have produced something worthwhile on returning to alien country.
I had my doubts during the opening shots - over mountains, forests, and waterfalls - homing in on this humanoid that drinks what looks like tacky Marmite and crumbles before our eyes, his DNA washed into the sea. The falling apart bit was quite good, but it smacked of some deep meaning; and block busters and deep meanings don't sit well together - just recall Avatar.
Ancient cave drawings of men worshipping visitors from the stars - all indicating one planetary system out there! And so off into deepest, deep space in a ship that had been retro fitted with Lego bricks and Meccano cast offs our assorted cast amble. Certainly not “Boldly going..”
I won't go into detail and spoil the plot - there wasn't one. The film was an amalgam – that's the arty word – it was a mess. You had bits of the “Fifth Element” – mystical bit; bits from Avatar – sweeping 3D shots, lots of decent photography, “Predator” and weirdest of all echoes of Jurassic Park – weird, mad trillionaire businessman.
Even the self referencing was rather naff. The Michael Fassbender character – an android – loses his head. I swear it was at the same angle on the floor as the severed android heads in “Alien” and “Aliens”.
Where “Alien” and “Aliens” were claustrophobic in the extreme, this took place in huge echoing chambers. Whereas the crew's spaceship in "Alien" was a believable mass of metal and steam this was like the Starship Enterprise without the humour.
The film had no idea what it was meant to be about. It comes to a pretty pass when the director has to have a downed alien vessel – at least half a mile in diameter - cart wheeling across the landscape with two survivors trying to get out of the way. One the “good girl” the other “pretty, but expendable" and in any case the daughter of the crazed trillionaire. And, of course, the baddy gets crushed – with close-up of anguished look on face as a zillion tons of metal roll over her. How predictable!
Worst of all, you couldn’t engage with any of the characters. In “Alien” and “Aliens” I felt sorry for most of the crew and was cheering Ripley on as she confronted the motherfucking bitch of a monster. Here, nothing. So they got blasted, mashed, and crushed – so what!
In short the film reminded me of Microsoft’s attempts to catch up with Apple and failing miserably.