I haven’t seen Prometheus yet. I actually plan to, which is rare for me. I don’t think I’ve seen a new release film in the theater for over two years. I have a hype allergy–if someone is excited about a film, in such a way that it might convince me to see it, it actually kills the experience, because I’m afraid that the film won’t live up to the hype, and therefore my low expectations become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This odd cultural auto-immune disorder notwithstanding, this is the Alien saga, and so I know I’m going to see it one way or another, so I might as well go eat some overpriced popcorn while I do it.
However, until I can overcome my self-preserving inertia, I am fascinated by the Twitter conversations about it.
This is the way I normally judge whether or not I want to see a film. Rather than read reviews written by people with movie tastes based on who-knows-what, I listen to my Twitter feed. My Twitter feed is already filled with an amalgam of folks who I think have interesting opinions, but whom I don’t necessarily agree with perfectly. I set my feed up as a spectrum, shining out into the world of subjectivity with a wide frequency of light, and looking for what is reflected back. Of course, I don’t want everything reflected back, as the sea of popular opinion is a vacuous wasteland, absorbing light, rather than twinkling it back to me. But I get a good image to guide me, fine-tuned over the years.
Except, that with Prometheus, I am getting a glitched out radar image that doesn’t make any sense. Naturally, my Twitter feed never agrees on anything. There is the range of spectrum that responds well to comicbook-oriented films, there is the spectrum set that reflects on art films. There is the SF spectrum, with all its various hues. And there is the “dark art” set, that shines with a UV intensity against anything cryptic or alien. In this case, everything was coming back awry. No particular color of light was resolving into a clear image.
This is not a bad thing, it’s just weird. I have no idea what to think of this film, because I’m getting glitchy results that don’t match how the correlated data I’ve analyzed in the past.
I have a theory as to why, but not having seen the film yet, it’s just a theory. Think of people you may have met who really like Harry Potter, or Twilight, or Lord of the Rings, or something like that. When the film comes out, they most likely love it, because it is the film of the thing they love. It’s like planting a sunflower, and then, what do you know, a sunflower blooms! Everything is awesome.
Alien, in many ways, is the “film of the thing they love” for me and many other people. However, there was no book that is simply adapted into a film. It is adapting something more bizarre, more diverse and cultural diffuse, and attempting to make a film of it. Blade Runner is also a film of it. William Gibson sometimes writes books of it. There are dozens and dozens of blogs and Tumblrs about it. I follow many Twitter accounts that tweet about it. But what it is, is the hard part to explain. Again, depending on the light with which you are trying to view it, it will look differently. And yet, Alien was most definitely a film of it. We know that. That’s why for many people, it’s a classic film.
As to whether Prometheus is a film of it, that remains to be seen. What is confusing right now is that some people think that it is, some people think that it isn’t. Additionally, we are trying to resolve those feelings with the idea that it most certainly is a film related to Alien, which was part of it, and yet the prequel might not be part of it, or at least we are definitely not sure.
I wish there was a way to quantify this subjective dissonance, because I would love to compare it to the Twitter Vision glitching that happens when/if a Blade Runner sequel comes out. Perhaps there will be more consternation–or maybe, if Blade Runner is much more foundational than even Alien, perhaps there will simply be more univocal dislike.