I was one of the many media minds that filled the Auckland premiere of Prometheus. I was also being a braggy douche about it (my ego needed the fuel), telling all my mates how I get to see it before them. They now value me in the same way the internet values “First!” comments (i.e. they don’t value me at all).
But the only reason I was being a foghorn about it was due to my relentless excitement about finally being able to experience Prometheus, and god-damn it, I needed to express myself!
Now that I have seen it, I humbly put my douchiness aside in order to relay my impressions on the film (if you haven’t checked out Dom’s excellent review yet, do it). However, instead of going into plot details or any spoilerific aspects, I figured it’d be more interesting to explore my top five facial reactions to the film as I was watching it.
Let’s start with…
The Epileptic 3D Overdose Face
I’m a reserved believer in the effectiveness of 3D. I also believe that most studios bullshit their 3D conversions in a simple cash-grab effort (or worse). However, Ridley Scott must have traded notes with his buddy Jim Cameron, for Prometheus 3D is not a shitting bull’s effort.
It’s a damn impressive use of the extra dimension, but there’s one moment near the beginning that contorted my occipital lobe.
Here’s the best way to describe it: you know those bed of pins you’d often see displayed in the toys section of K-mart? You could place your hand on one end of the bed and the pins would create an imprint of it on the other side. There’s an entire flashback sequence that looked like the actors had been pressed against those bed of pins while the sun exploded in the background, shooting rays of light through the crevasses as they pulsated back and forth. It’s as psychedelic as it sounds.
It put me in a trippy vegetative state, one that had me involuntarily drooling like a brain-dead bloodhound. It was good of my tongue to dangle out of my mouth like it did, for I was in risk of swallowing it in a seizure-like fit of ecstasy.
It was perhaps effective to a fault, for it distracted me from the actual slice of back-story being told.
The OCD Face
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’re probably aware of my obsessive-compulsive tendencies. If you sneeze into your hand, I’m not going to shake it. If you sneeze freely into the air, our personal space has just increased by three metres. That’s my nature; that’s how I was built.
Needless to say, I get a little agitated when characters enter a foreign atmosphere filled with unknown bacteria. My head tends to yell the following:
“Don’t take that off!”
“Stop touching that stuff!”
“Where the hell’s the Dettol!?”
In some ways, I admire those who naively defy germaphobic tendencies in order to breathe in that contaminated sense of freedom. However, natural selection has no sympathy for them, and neither do I.
I still shudder at the possible consequences of their actions, though. Prometheus triggered that fear within me, causing my mind to shoot out the following mental statements:
“Don’t take your helmet off!”
“Stop touching that gooey stuff!”
“Where the hell’s the space Dettol!?”
It’s a testament to Ridley Scott’s masterful ability to create a unique universe (a dirty, smelly, grimy, germ-infested universe), one that he effortlessly places the viewer amongst.
The Jaded Movie-Lover’s ‘Predictable’ Face
If you’ve seen enough movies in your life (and by ‘enough’ I mean ‘too many’), you can sometimes pick out particular story arcs long before they ever happen. Foreshadowed elements become highlighted under the reluctantly trained eye, hinting at the probable fate of certain characters.
It can be a curse for your typical cinema geek, one that has been bestowed upon me.
Nevertheless, I can’t help but exercise this snobbishness. When I see some obvious plot turn, I tend to drop my arms to the side, frowning as if trying to push out last night’s chicken vindaloo.
I got this impression a few times in Prometheus. It often follows the same beats as Alien, but awkwardly so, as if it were trying to remind the audience that the two are related.
It also doesn’t do anything with its side characters, so if you reckon someone’s going to die horribly, chances are you’ll be right.
The Spaz Face
There’s a brilliant scene in Prometheus that’s going to have people talking for quite some time. That’s all I’ll say about it.
I will say this though: it got me. I can watch horrifically gory violence while eating a bowl of spaghetti bolognese. It takes a rare film to shock me nowadays, but Prometheus managed to shove a lightning bolt up my desensitized ass with this one scene.
I was squirming around my seat, as if I were trying to transform into a human car. My face glowed red, embarrassed at the thought that everyone at the cinema just witnessed my spastic/creepy orgasm face.
Luckily, everyone was none-the-wiser, too distracted by the horror in front of them to notice the horror in seat 17, row H.
The Blank Face
This was my commonly expressed expression during the entire film: total blank face. This null look isn’t exclusive to just one set emotion; it conveys numerous ones.
Firstly, I can get distracted by my own three-second thoughts (see ‘The OCD Face’). These are the stupidest, most irrelevant thoughts that require no facial muscles to process, typically including:
“I wonder what android food tastes like…”
“The girl next to me better not drink my frozen coke.”
“Who would win in a space fight between the Prometheus and the Serenity?”
The second, more important reason for my facial blankness has to do with boredom. There were one or two moments where the pacing dipped for me. It doesn’t damper the film significantly, but I definitely found it a little off-putting when there are moments that seemed to pick up too much speed.
I don’t have an exciting bored face. I think this derives from worrying inability to yawn. Whatever the reason, I blanked out a couple of times, both in face and in mind.
The last main reason for this non-expression is disappointment. I never like to show when I’m disappointed in something or someone, so I revert back to blank face, as if it’s going to mitigate the problem.
I won’t lie; a number of things in Prometheus disappointed me. Some parts I felt could have used greater exposition (ditching the answers for future installments to pick up). Other parts seemed unnecessary (i.e. the final scene).
They set up a large amount of pins, but make a conscious decision to knock only a few of them down. What they have left is a 7-10 split which, if the inevitable follow-up manages to get the spare, will elevate the films to a realm of greatness in my eyes. Failing this, Prmoetheus will merely be in the realm of “yeah, that was pretty good”.
This is what my blank face usually conveys.
As a side note, if you’re ever caught in a face-to-face conversation with me where I suddenly revert to blankness, don’t assume that I’m disappointed by you or that the discussion bores me. I’m probably just thinking whether vegetarians give their animals meat-based pet food.