Ha ha!

You just never know what he'll review next!

Saturday 30 June 2012

Burl reviews Terror in the Swamp! (1984)

Ha ha, Burl here! It’s been a while since I reviewed a swamp-monster picture (remember Bog? Creature From Black Lake?), but here we go with another one, an old classic (ha ha!), the poster for which I had hanging in my room when I was but a teenager! Yes, that’s right, we’re talking about Terror in the Swamp!
This picture was originally called Nutriaman: The Copasaw Creature, but New World Video rightly thought they should probably translate that into English for general North American release! It takes place in the deep, deep, deep south somewhere – it’s a magnificently regional picture, ha ha – in some swamplands where the people who don’t make a living from moonshinin’ do it by trapping fur-bearing rodents called nutrias!
The local game warden is played by a mustachioed individual named Billy Holliday, who bears no evident relationship to the blues singer! He discovers a man whose face has been covered in tomato paste by some creature or another, and almost right away the coroners and police realize they’re dealing with a monster nutria! In the meantime, two behemoth swamp brothers and their unpleasant swamp pappy find that nutria or nutrias unknown have been messin’ with their trapline! They recruit a buddy to help track the black beast to its lair, but don’t get much further than downing a few jugs of shine before tragedy strikes!
The giant nutria has also been scaring old ladies and pulling other hapless parties into the swamp! But when I really knew this movie was the real deal was when the two citified science-fellers responsible for the beast showed up! Ha ha, one is even more citified than the other! They’d been trying to breed giant nutrias for fur companies, so it would take only one of them to make an entire coat, but of course the experiment has gone awry! Ha ha, always awry!
Well, there’s plenty of excitement with the game warden, the police, the scientists, the overall-clad brothers, a general mob of swampbillies and a four-eyed, ratty-faced ex-Green Beret correctly dubbed by Joe at Bleeding Skull as “John Ramboo” all after the poor nutriaman! Of course dynamite comes into play, and several lives are lost in the fray! But all is rendered safe again in the swamp – or is it?
Ha ha, this is a picture I can really get behind! It’s poorly made for the most part, but has a few nice shots of the swamp and of the creatures who dwell within it! Of the two brothers, Jesse and T-Bob, T-Bob is both the fatter and the better actor! (Though it was Jesse who ended up in Fandango!) His performance is actually quite good! You can’t say that about too many of the other thespians, but they try gamely, and in the case of Billy Holliday, game wardenly! There could be a bit more of the red stuff for my taste – a few heads coming off and that sort of thing – and it’s not very scary, but overall the movie has a swampy, regional flavour that can hardly be beat! I give Terror in the Swamp two and a half burbling nutrias! 

Monday 25 June 2012

Burl reviews Down Among the Z Men! (1952)

Stumbling over a divan, calling out through my thick beard and goggle glasses – it’s Burl! Ha ha, hi there friends! Yes, it’s me with a new review for you! It’s an old British comedy picture called Down Among the Z Men, and apparently it’s the only feature-length movie ever made by the legendary Goons!
Some of you may not know of the Goons, but it was Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan and (at first) Michael Bentine, and they all had a radio show that they did on the BBC in the 1950s! But early in the radio show’s popular run they made this picture, which I guess wasn’t a barn-burner at the box office since there weren’t any more movies afterwards! Maybe they said all they wanted to say on the silver screen with this one effort, ha ha!
For all you American readers, by the way, it’s Down Among the ZED Men, not Zee Men, so when you’re saying the title in your head, remember to pronounce it correctly! The story takes place in a small British town with an army base on it! A citizen of the town, Harry, is a draper’s assistant with dreams of becoming a big-time Scotland Yard detective! He styles himself “Bats of the Yard” and is soon in contact with some criminals who want to steal a secret laughing/tear gas formula from a nutty professor!
Somehow Bats ends up in dutch with his boss and the police, and to get away from them he joins the army, where he’s Down Among the Z Men I suppose (though I never did figure out what that meant), and this gives the movie a chance to bring in such beloved stereotypes as the blustery Sergeant major, the dimwitted Major (played by Sellers!) and the incompetent Private who talks like a limey Mr. Ed! There’s also a squad of pre*ty ladies who I guess were a dance troupe in real life, because they certainly had the moves! The nutty professor is on the base and soon the criminals are too, and the whole slapstick affair comes to a frantic climax during the big variety show!
Ha ha, I’ve long been a lover of fine British comedy, but despite the talent involved, I’ve never been a big fan of the Goons! I haven’t experienced them much, it’s true, but I will say that this motion picture iteration of their routines did not bring m into the fold! It’s got some moments, that’s for sure, but ultimately it’s like a slightly wittier and more intelligent version of a Poverty Row comedy programmer! And when I say slightly, by garr that’s just what I mean! There’s a lot of funny voices, absurd costumes (on the professor, mainly) and falling over ottomen and daybeds! And it’s all pretty low-rent!
Ha ha, I guess as a trip down memory lane for those who were fans of the radio programme, this would do the trick! For Sellers or Milligan completists, it’s a must of course! But for all the rest of us, I give it one and a half Bats of the Yard!

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Burl reviews Phantasm II! (1988)

Hello BO-O-O-O-OYYYYY! Ha ha, no, don’t worry, that wasn’t the famed Tall Man, it was just me, Burl! Yes, I’m here to review one of the Phantasm pictures for you, and it’s the one I’ve always secretly loved the best – ha ha, sorry A. Michael Baldwin and everybody! – Phantasm II!
Now don’t get me wrong, I think the first Phantasm movie is a tremendous low-budget horror movie, brimming over with imagination and clever craft! It doesn’t make much sense, but that’s okay – it’s probably one of the most genuinely dreamlike movies ever made precisely for that reason! Like a dream I can never keep the details of that picture straight in my mind, and the same goes for the third and fourth movies in the series!
The second one is probably the most straightforward of them all, no doubt because it was a major studio presentation, and those Universal Tower suits aren’t known for their hearty embrace of surrealistic ambiguity! But I saw the movie at a formative age and in a formative way – I was too young by law to see it, but successfully snuck in to a screening and had a great time!
For those of you who don’t know, the basic conflict in these movies is between a good-guy group made up of a youth named Mike, his older brother Jody and their friend, a bald, pony-tailed ice cream man named Reggie, and an imposing other-dimensional bad guy named the Tall Man! The Tall Man hangs out in earthly mortuaries and first midgetizes then enslaves the dead, occasionally creating some extra dead by use of his flying silver sphere weapons! The zombie midget slaves are outfitted with cloaks that make them look just like Jawas, ha ha!
Reggie, who is played by a guy named Reggie, has always had a “friend of the director” sort of amateur ambiance about him, but that’s part of his charm, which is considerable! After the destruction of Reg’s entire family by fireballs – the movie opens with not one but two massive house explosions, ha ha – he and Mike take to the road in their boss hemi ‘Cuda and pick up the trail of the Tall Man, who has been leaving towns throughout the American Northwest dried up husks of the bustling hamlets they once were! Mike, played in this installment only by James LeGros, well known from Fatal Beauty, and the James Franco of his day, has a psychic connection with a blonde girl who is also being menaced by the Tall Man! Ha ha, his black wizardry is also causing terrible troubles for the girl’s poor granny, who undergoes probably the most torment any granny has ever endured in a movie! That part makes me kind of sad, because except for that awful Gramma in the Stephen King story, grannies ought to be venerated if you ask ol’ Burl!
I think I liked Phantasm II so much back when I first saw it because it was filled with so much cool stuff! The great car, the road trip aspect, the homemade weapons and the filmmaking style itself all seemed really fantastic to me at the time! It’s all paled a little bit in the intervening years, except for the car (and yes, I do want to weep when it meets its untimely end), but the strange attachment I have for the picture remains! And all the stuff that’s great about the Phantasm series in general is in there; and it does manage to retain the dreamlike nonsensicality of the other pictures even though actual dream sequences were apparently ruled out by the studio suits! (I actually think that might be for the best, because it forced the director, Don Coscarelli, to inject that chimerical imagination into the whole picture instead of just dream sequences!)
I watched my old VHS tape of Phantasm II – which I paid entirely too much for since it wasn’t on DVD at that time – again the other day, and I have to say I enjoyed it! I give the movie three double double-barreled shotguns!

Monday 18 June 2012

Burl reviews ¡Three Amigos! (1986)

¡Hola, it’s Burl, here with another film review for you, my good good friends! This picture is in the subgenre of the comedy Western, and before you can say “Ha ha, Burl, why are you reviewing Rustler’s Rhapsody?” I’d like to assure you that I’m not! Nor am I having a go at Cat Ballou or Support Your Local Sheriff! No, this is a movie directly from the mid-80s, and it was made by none other than John Landis!
Ha ha, it’s safe to say I like me a John Landis picture, even some of the stinkier ones! ¡Three Amigos! is probably one of those, I’m sorry to report; but it still has its passle of small pleasures! It seems to me that I used to think much more highly of this movie, but now when I watch it, as I did the other day, all I can see is its unrealized potential! Well, that and the funny bits I’ve already alluded to! The singing bush is of course one of these, but more on him later!
The story is a pretty solid one: in the early days of Hollywood, three movie caballeros get tossed out on their ke*sters by studio boss Joe Mantegna! They get an invitation from some besieged villagers, who believe them to be true heroes, to come and rid their lands of the dreaded El Guapo; the Amigos, of course, think they’re just going to put on a show! Misunderstanding piles upon misunderstanding, and the Amigos prove themselves pusillanimous hangdogs once they find out it’s for real! But ultimately, of course, there is redemption, though not found in a hail of hot lead as in The Wild Bunch!
With Steve Martin (from All Of Me) as Lucky Day, Chevy Chase (from Fletch) as Dusty Bottoms and Martin Short (from Innerspace) as Ned Nederlander, you’d think this would all be comedy gold dust, but you can feel the dust blowing away in the wind just like at the end of Treasure of the Sierra Madre! And not even Walter Huston would laugh and dance a hornpipe at most of the goings-on here! Everyone concerned with the picture, with the exceptions of Randy Newman, who wrote the songs, and John "An American Werewolf in London" Landis’s wife Deborah Nadoolman, who designed the costumes, was kind of operating on autopilot when they made this one!
Complexity seems a strange thing to ask for in a mid-80s comedy, I realize, but I was just wishing there was a little more to this thing: more nuance to the inter-Amigo relationships, more olde-tyme Hollywood stuff (though what’s there is pretty good), more mystical stuff like the singing bush! (I was a bit puzzled as to why mystical directions were required to find a perfectly corporeal location, ha ha!) And what’s the story with those Germans?
It’s sad to say, but if you ever wanted a master class in wasting talented comedy actors, this movie would do the trick! There’s a breathtaking scene early in the proceedings which manages to criminally underuse both Jon Lovitz and Phil Hartman! And Chevy Chase, despite being first billed in the credits, is mysteriously ignored! Martin and Short (ha ha!) get by, barely, but really it’s the Mexican actors who get the most care lavished upon them! Landis is on the record as saying he was much more interested in the banditos than the Amigos, so I guess that follows!

But we still get some good stuff sprinkled throughout – ha ha, dig the astonishing animation of the singing horses! – along with the general sense that Landis understands and cares about the genre he’s spoofing, and that’s worth a lot! I’m going to ignore many of the negative things I’ve said in this review and give ¡Three Amigos! two singing horses!

Sunday 17 June 2012

Burl reviews The Avengers! (2012)

Hi, Burl here to review another summer blockbuster type of picture, the second one after Prometheus! This one is about super heroes, and that of course is a very popular genre just now! It has been for years – remember how popular Superman and Batman were in their respective days? – but over the last decade or so it seems that every second big-budget movie has someone in a cape or tights, sometimes both!
You get capes and tights in this picture, along with a computerized tin-can costume and the magically expanding purple shorts! Yes, this is a multiple-hero picture, and to someone who doesn’t know comics at all, it might seem like a completely random assortment of capéd wondermen, ha ha! Well I used to read comics when I was a youth, and the group still seems completely random to me! I guess there’s a reason for these particular heroes to be banded together, and not just because they all work for Marvel!
Anyway, this movie is a sort of climax to the rash of hero pictures of the last couple of years! The only ones of those I’ve seen are the two Iron Man movies and that one Hulk picture that was, bafflingly, made by Ang Lee! I remember kind of liking that one! But I’ve not seen Thor or Captain America or whatever movie Scarlett Johansson’s character was in, and I don’t even remember them making a Green Arrow picture! It’s funny, the Green Arrow is in this movie, shooting his never-ending supply of arrows, but they never call him the Green Arrow, he doesn’t sport a blonde van dyke, and he doesn’t wear a stitch of green! I’ve heard of superhero revisionism, but this is ridiculous!
So without all this background I was a little lost from time to time! I think seeing Thor might clear up a few things for me at least, given that Loki, the bad guy in The Avengers – whose methods are anything but low-key, ha ha – was imported directly from that particular Kenneth Branagh joint! “I am burdened with glorious purpose,” he tells cyclopean Director Nick Fury, but, though evil, he’s considerate enough not to share the specifics of that burden with us! I figured out that he wanted to conquer and rule Earth, but why? All he can talk about is how puny and insignificant it is! Ha ha, surely there’s a better, more challenging and rewarding planet out there to conquer!
And to effect his conquering, he hires an army of space orcs from some guy with a black cape and a meatloaf face! How powerful are these interstellar warriors? Local Earthlings, even those without apparent superpowers, are able to best them in combat, so it would seem Loki got a bad deal, or maybe went bargain-hunting when he shouldn’t have! Surely there are better, more competent armies available out there in the boundless universe!
When I wasn’t puzzling over all this, I was wondering about the heroes themselves! I guess at some point, maybe in the 70s, the comics industry decided they had to just keep raising the stakes – batarangs and wrist radios and punch-ups with Nazis weren’t doing it anymore, and so both the heroes and the villains had to get more and more powerful until they were more or less gods! (Maybe that actually started with Wonder Woman, now that I think about it – she was some kind of goddess, right?) And when you’ve got gods joining the battle, what dramatic toehold can a mere mortal get? Not much! The action scenes just seem sort of weightless, far removed from any human experience!
Then you have The Hulk, who used to be just a big strong green angry guy, but now seems absolutely invulnerable and unlimited in his strength! What suspense is there in watching him? None, because it always ends the same way! And in one action scene he’s just a complete rage monster from the id, and in another, when he needs to be, he’s rational and purpose-driven, even taking basic orders from others on his team!
I won’t go on about it, because poking logical holes in a movie like this is a fool’s errand, and quite pointless! But still, having gone in completely willing to get caught up in the action-drama, these bafflements were uppermost in my mind through most of the picture! Oh well! There are still some good gags – the punchline of the Galaga joke was my favourite moment in the picture – and some appealing performances, mostly by the Hulk in his human form! There's also a great cameo appearance from Harry Dean "Repo Man" Stanton! That any of the movie makes sense at all is some sort of accomplishment I suppose, so I’m going to go ahead and give The Avengers two blood-soaked trading cards!

Monday 11 June 2012

Burl reviews Funeral Home! (1980)

Buh-buh-buh-buh-BOO, it’s Burl! Ha ha, scary, eh? Yes, it’s me, Burl, here to review a movie about a super-strength granny and an eerie guest house! It’s called Funeral Home, though it’s also known as Cries in the Night – its original title, actually – and it’s another one of those motion pictures that exert a strange hex over ol’ Burl despite not objectively being very good!
Ha ha, I’ll try to explain! Like Meatballs, this is one of my Early Summer Classics, movies which I watch all of, or, more usually, a small part of each June as a way to celebrate the coming of my favourite time of the year! That doesn’t mean it’s a particularly excellent movie, though in this case it qualifies as not too bad!
I guess it’s technically a slasher movie, or at least it sort of fits into that category! It’s a Mystery Slasher, meaning it’s one of the many acorns which have rolled from the mighty oak that is Psycho! In this case, story-wise at least, the acorn did not roll too far, and in fact seems to have tried its best to crawl right back up the tree again!
Young Heather has arrived in a small Southern Ontario town to help her granny transform the funeral home once operated by granny’s now-disappeared husband into a tourist home! Ha ha, the mechanics of the transformation are not spelled out, but the home brings in guests right away! There’s a friendly old duck who loves night fishing called Mr. Davis, played by Barry Morse from Bells, and also a middle-aged couple out for a dirty weekend! Can you believe it, the fellow in this illicit couple is played by none other than Morty from Meatballs! Anyway, pretty soon these guests start disappearing in mysterious ways! Morty and his ladyfriend get pushed into a quarry while sitting in their car at Make-Out Point! Mr. Davis, who had his own secret agenda, comes to realize just how dangerous night fishing can be! And what’s young Billy Hibbs doing during all of this? Ha ha, this slow-witted handyman is as pure as skim milk, and comes to a sticky conclusion at the business end of a trocar, just as we see occur in the movie Mortuary, if you remember that one! (And also like Mortuary it has a misleading poster that makes it look like a zombie movie! Ha ha!)
Well, Heather turns all Nancy Drew and after much creeping around the hallways and basement of the funeral home, helps to solve the mystery! Howard the jokester from My Bloody Valentine is in the picture too, playing a young cop, and he also is present for the rather underwhelming climax of the picture! But an overwhelming climax would be wrong somehow for a movie like this, so the one we get was probably the right way to go!
Because you see this is a slow-paced, uneventful and frankly rather dull movie! And still I must admit to liking it, to getting a sort of warm and comfy, delightfully summery feeling from it! There are some movies which seem able to make an art out of shots of waving, sun-dappled grasses, and this is one of them! There are movies which neglect to use whippoorwill calls on the soundtrack and those which take care to do so at every opportunity, and Funeral Home is decidedly in the latter category!
I also like Lesleh Donaldson in her role as Heather, the rather naïve heroine! She’s a little dim and has a terrible fear of cats, but she’s the perfect character to carry a movie like this! I give Funeral Home two bearded sheriffs!

Burl reviews Meatballs! (1979)

Ha ha, are you ready for the summer? Are you ready for the good times? Are you ready for the fireflies, the old two-ply and a whole lot of foolin’ around? Well then I guess you’re ready for Meatballs!

Boy, I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this one, because oh Killarney was it ever on TV a lot when I was growing up! And in the last couple of years it’s become a sort of early-summer ritual movie for me, and I try to watch it sometime in June if I can! I managed it again this year, so I thought I’d give you a little review of this summer camp classic!

Yes, summer camp movies are another favourite microgenre of mine! Sometimes there’s a killer involved, of course, and sometimes there isn’t, but they’re all remarkably similar to one another either way! Meatballs, for example, feels like it could turn into The Burning or Madman or Friday the 13th part 2 at any moment; and other summer camp pictures, like Party Camp or Indian Summer or Chuck Vincent’s Summer Camp, feel like they should! Ha ha, a maniac would do those characters some good just where they need it the most! On the other hand, the summer camp slasher films usually have a half-hour stretch or so in which they might as well be summer camp comedies – someone should cut together the non-horror parts of all these movies and you might get a pretty good camp comedy-romance anthology picture out of it!

Anyway, Meatballs! Yes, it was Bill Murray’s first major motion picture appearance, and yes he’s manic and unkempt and sometimes funny in his role as the Head Activities Director of Camp North Star, Tripper Harrison! He’s also strangely aggressive (that’s 70s and 80s comedy for you!) and has an oddly close relationship, scored to sap-dripping strings, with a waifish young camper played by Chris Makepeace! In the meantime he’s hot on the trail of an alternately huffy and bemused lesbian councilor, and spends a lot of time making announcements on his P.A. system like it was M*A*S*H or something!

We get a series of other small stories too, like the tender relationship between the tubby trencherman Fink and his best pal Spaz, as well as the kidnapping-based relationship between Crockett and Candace! And of course there are the travails of Morty, the head of the camp – ha ha, he’s played by none other than Harvey Atkin from Funeral Home! – and the brutal rivalry between slobby Camp North Star and snobby Camp Mohawk across the lake! We get a good sense of that early in the picture when some Mohawk ruffians dump Spaz’s K-Mart milkshake all over his head! There are other subplots too, but sadly we never get any closure on the story involving the little boy and his pet frog, Harry the Jumper! And by the way, why the heck is it called Meatballs, anyway?

It’s a completely plotless movie, rarely funny and veering awkwardly between PG-rated shenanigans involving bikini girls or hot dogs and the hard-sell sap of the Makepeace plot! Neither is particularly convincing, but it’s all delivered in such a good-natured and guileless way that, do you know what, It Just Doesn’t Matter! It Just Doesn’t Matter! It Just Doesn’t Matter!

Because in the end it’s just a summer camp picture, and I like those! I never went to summer camp myself so maybe that’s why! There always seems to be such a strange camaraderie between the campers who returned year after year and eventually became councilors-in-training and ultimately councilors themselves! That appeals to me for some reason! And this movie also contains some great advice on folding shirts, which I still use to this day and will pass on to my own son!

Ha ha, for its sweet campedness and summery Southern Ontario atmosphere, I give Meatballs two and a half fold sleevies! And I leave you with this bit of doggerel, apparently composed by the actor who played Crockett!

We are the C.I.T.s, so pity us!
The kids are brats, the food is hideous!
We like to smoke and drink and fool around
We are the North Star C.I.T.s!

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Burl reviews The Nest! (1987)

Bug-bug-bug! It’s Burl! Yes, it’s me, Burl, here to review a movie that may well move you to embrace the human and put the insect aside! It’s called The Nest, and it’s all about what Washington, Barbarino, Horshack, Epstein and the gang used to call “cock-a-roaches!”
It takes place on an island that’s also a town, just like Jaws! The mayor wears a lot of cable-knit sweaters (and has a cable-knit brow) and has surreptitiously sold off half the island to some sort of experimental laboratory company! We only ever see one scientist though, and she’s in the Barbara Steele mould from Piranha, so that’s okay! Ha ha, it’s amazing this picture isn’t about some sort of killer fish though, because it really follows that template!
Well, in the meanwhile the sheriff is involved in a love triangle because his old ladyfriend, the proto-Polley Lisa Langlois, well known from John Huston’s Phobia and of course the rat picture Deadly Eyes, has returned to town! And in the meanwhile of all this, killer cucarachas have begun putting a biting on food, books, animals and folks clear across this benighted islet!
Homer the Pest Control Man gets involved, and eventually, after a scary encounter with giant disembodied testes, it is discovered that supposed victims of the roach horde have in fact become fused with it, becoming sort of bug zombies that transform further into insectomorphs as they roll awkwardly forward on their casters! Finally we meet the Queen, and find out exactly how the effects in John Carpenter’s The Thing would have looked if they’d only had a few bucks to put them together and Rob Bottin was busy that day!
Ha ha, Roger Corman must have surely had It Conquered the World flashbacks when he was introduced to this monster! Also good is the moment when they mayor’s cable-knit sweater bursts open to reveal his new Blattarian nature! And there’s a few moments of fake-looking but tasty gore too, like the head that gets chomped in two! Ha ha!
It’s not a good film, but it has a lot to admire! The acting is generally pretty good, with Robert Lansing a standout as the Mayor! It’s actually not a role completely without nuance, and Lansing pulls it off very well! Homer the Pest Control Man (the secret hero of the piece according to the director) is played by an actor who seems like a hormonally-created hybrid of Daniel Stern and Dennis Franz! If that’s your cup of tea, this may be the only serving of it available!
And I liked how much effort they put into the thing, with all those terrible special effects! Even terrible special effects are hard to make, and I’m sure there was no money and no time and very little staff available to do it! But they tried! It has a lighthouse like The Monster of Piedras Blancas, and there’s a tiny bit of small-town island atmosphere!
I’m an animal lover, so I can’t say I liked the scenes where first a dog and later a cat (and still later a cat zombie right out of Re-Animator) become roach food! And I’m never wild about seeing lots of bugs squished and killed in movies, even cock-a-roaches! Well, I’m a softie! Nevertheless, I’ll give The Nest two giant swinging ballsacks!

Friday 1 June 2012

Burl reviews Prometheus! (2012)

Hi, Burl here with a review of a brand-new movie! It’s a prequel to Alien, which is a movie ol’ Burl is pretty fond of, and it addresses what to me was always one of the central questions of the original film: just who was that big guy in the chair, and what was his story? Ha ha! He was known as the Space Jockey, and it was always assumed that he and his race were just another bunch of hapless arrivistes on that desolate planet where the green eggs roamed! But there’s more to his story, or so Mister Ridley Scott would have us believe!
It seems that a couple of scientists have discovered some cave-painting indications that we ought to go to a certain planet and check it out! They happen to land exactly where the action is on this planet – don’t ask me how – and the next thing you know they’re checking out some caves as though they were characters in an early-80s Alien rip-off, like Horror Planet or Galaxy of Terror or something of that nature! Boy, they sure do spend a lot of time in those caves!
All of this takes place in a world that’s just as grey and bottle-green as you might imagine, so drained of colour that even the Rubik’s Cubes are monochromatic! The scientists and spaceship crew are not very interesting people on the whole, with none of the “we’re just doing a job” resignation seen in the Alien or even Aliens crew members - even though several times in Prometheus the characters explicitly talk about how they're just on the ship doing a job for the paycheque! What they need is Harry Dean Stanton and Yaphet Kotto on board, grousing to beat the band!

I couldn’t even figure out if the people of this future time (the year 2093, that is) had ever yet met aliens, or if their encounters with them in this movie represented a big first! Remember in Aliens when Hudson asks “Ha ha, is this just another bug hunt?” Right there in one line you knew that they were already familiar with aliens, but that humans were just a bunch of imperialistic jerks who would sooner fire their plasma rifles at an E.T. than get to know it!
But here we haven’t really got a clue how incredible this is all supposed to be! It's treated as pretty routine for the most part! There’s an old man along for the ride, or maybe a young man with putty all over his face, it was hard to tell; but he at least seemed pretty impressed with the alien contact! And there are a few different aliens who show up, some humanoid and others more tentacle-based! I won’t give too much away, but we do indeed see some thrashing tentacles in this picture! Ha ha, a part I didn’t quite understand was why the one fellow became a psycho zombie! That just happened so there could be an extra action scene I think, and also so we could get rid of some of these characters whose names we never even heard! In Aliens, even Wierzbowski was named for us before his untimely demise!
I will say this: I liked the robot in Prometheus! The robot was a good actor, and his love of Lawrence of Arabia was a nice touch! The captain was a pretty good guy too! Ha ha, I would have done just like him and straight up asked that Charlize Theron if she was a robot too or what! I won’t give away the answer here though, ha ha!
The movie reminded me of Forbidden World in many ways if you want the truth, and you can take that however you like! But I will say that, in spite of the unbelievably sketchy characterizations, no matter that the thing falls apart logically at the slightest rational thought (the Space Jockey doesn’t even end up in the spot where he’s later found by the Alien crew, ha ha!), and forget about the fact that the musical score keeps threatening to become the Star Trek fanfare, this picture has some really enjoyable aspects!
It looks great, it sounds great and it has a gloomy atmosphere I thought was nicely antithetical to blockbuster summer success! I like that it tries to philosophize a bit, even if nonsensically! It’s a thinking man’s movie as made by morons, but at least it tries to be something other than An Efficient Thrill Machine! It’s a funny movie: the more I think about it, the more I liked it! It’s no Alien, but it doesn’t embarrass its host either, and when it comes bursting out from the 1979 picture’s gut this summer, everyone involved can stand tall and proud! I give Prometheus two and a half alien bongos!