As I was leaving the Imax after watching a midnight showing of Prometheus last night, there was lively, nay angry chatter from some of the audience members. One chap even exclaimed at the top of his voice that the experience had been worse than Star Wars – The Phantom Menace. I was instantly reminded of two very powerful images. The first was Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons “Worst Alien prequel in the world, evuuuuurrrr!”. The second, rather more apt, was a scene in Aliens when Sigourney Weaver slowly realised she was stood in the middle of a nest of Alien eggs – though in this instance it was me realising that I was surrounded by anorak Aliens fans. For them this prequel had been anticipated more than the Rapture. However it appeared to have gone down like a french kiss at a family reunion! They were not happy.
Which is a shame, cos I really liked the movie. But then I don’t feel precious about the franchise! Seeing it in 3d at the Imax was breathtaking. The shots of space, the great landscapes and the sublime spacecraft were well epic. And in a time when cinema loves fast, handheld edits and wobbly disorientating shots, it was a breath of fresh air to have nice long establishing shots that allowed you not just to feel like your there, but to explore and study what is essentially terrific artwork from the Post Prod team. And unlike other films I’ve seen in 3d, there was no gimmickry about its use.
I know little about Greek mythology or indeed the history of the Alien franchise to get into a debate about whether or not it was a worthy prequel. I’ll leave that to the anoraks. However, it did occur to me during the film that the experience of watching it in Imax and 3d would be hard to pirate! As I type, piracy is highly controversial and it’s claimed to be costing the industry billions. However, what’s not discussed is that many films, especially the hand held fast-edit ones I was mentioning earlier, are better viewed on a small screen. And, thanks to streaming services, viewing films at home is much cheaper than a trip to the cinema (including snacks!) If distributors are too complacent home-streaming will kill off cinemas in the same way VHS did in the 80’s. This was an experience that I could only have had at the cinema (alas, my house is too small for an Imax screen) and was worth the extra expense! With sustained, sensible pricing and more films of this medium, cinema may well rediscover it has something fresh and unique to offer!
I would urge you to catch this at an Imax theatre in 3d! Not for the small screen!