Archives For Prometheus

The modern movie age has become a cycle of hype more than an appreciation for film itself. I chalk it up to the mainstreaming of the nerd class and the ubiquity of the Internet. Film culture online is rarely about the films themselves, but the industry and hype surrounding them. I fall prey to it, as well. It disturbs me, though. For about half the year, all anybody cares about is how the films of the Summer will stack up. Once that’s over it’s just a big race to see which films get the most acclaim and awards. If any of these two seasons is better, it’s the awards one, mostly because the good films tend to stick around in the consciousness more, giving them more time to find an audience. The Summer season is altogether a different story. Almost the opposite, really. Months—sometimes years—of hype lead up to one short weekend, the discussion explodes for roughly a week, petering off through the next week, and nearly disappearing after that.

Take a look at this summer, for example, which arguably began early in the Spring with the release of The Hunger Games. In fact, we can start even earlier, with John Carter. Pretty much since that film’s release, the two or three-week cycle has played out like clockwork. It’s partly a sign of a year with many big releases, but it’s also an illustration of how Internet culture works. There are several stages, but essentially they come down to: The Hype, The Pre-Release Buzz, Release, Taking Sides. Click to read more.

Ever since there have been movies there have been multiple cuts of movies. Silent films like Greed were chopped up and screened in various version, in many cases leaving many scenes lost to history. In some cases, films had roadshow edits that were trimmed for the regular theatrical release, as was the case with It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Sometimes studios would go in and meddle with the cut approved by a director. In many recent cases a director will agree to a studio-advised cut, only to put out a “director’s cut” later on. Sometimes the studio will want a new way to market a film and create a new “extended edition” or “unrated version” or even get a director to create a “director’s cut” that isn’t even the director’s preferred version (as is the case with Alien).

The prevalence of multiple cuts has increased drastically since the advent of DVD. It seems like every other movie released on DVD or Blu-ray is labeled “Unrated” or “Director’s Cut”. It’s hard to know whether this is a good thing, especially when directors are already talking up extended versions for Blu-ray when the movie was only just released theatrically. Why even pay to see the movie theatrically if the definitive version is being held for home video? This is the dilemma created when Ridley Scott says that a version of Prometheus 20 minutes longer is coming to Blu-ray. But is that the definitive version? What constitutes a definitive version of a film to begin with? Click to read more.

Hollywood has become obsessed with the franchise. Sure, there were always sequels, and there have been plenty of series that went on for way more movies than anyone ever wanted, but lately it’s become a way of doing business. It’s impossible to get money for a big-budget spectacle unless the plan is to kickstart a potential series of money-making sequels. I’m tired of it. Sequels can be good, but this idea that every movie is nothing more than a product meant to set up the next movie that’s nothing more than a product to set up the next movie, etc, is extremely frustrating.

As evidenced by the ending of Prometheus—which I will not spoil except to say it purposely leaves things in such a way as to tie in with the Alien series and set up a sequel—all this process does is hamper the movie at hand. Prometheus has plenty of problems outside of the ending—the characters aren’t perfectly drawn, the dialogue is sometimes too oblique, the plot often moves purely for the sake of moving—but no problem is more frustrating than the final ten minutes in which the film is more focused on dealing out the cards for a sequel than creating a truly satisfying conclusion. That it happens at the very end of the movie leaves an unfortunate taste in my mouth, which does a disservice to all the things I enjoyed about the movie before its ending. The movie isn’t ruined by the ending, but it’s certainly brought down a peg or two. Sadly, this is the case with many films these days. Click to read more.