"But you don't understand. You don't know. This place isn't what we thought it was. They aren't what we thought they were. I was wrong. We were so wrong."    - Dr. Shaw

release year: 2012
genre: sci-fi
viewing setting: home Bluray 6/15/16 and 2/16/14 and 10/9/12 and theater 6/8/12 at 12:01 am for the first showing

synopsis: In this pseudo-prequel to Alien, a small group of people ventures into deep space, following clues that may lead to the origin of the human race.

impressions from opening night viewing: It takes a lot to get me in a theater for a midnight movie on opening day, but in this case I had 2+ weeks of trips and it was either now or never, and I wanted to have seen this before I started hearing and reading about it. It was a worthwhile two hours that really got me thinking. As other reviewers have already stated, this succeeds more as a stand-alone science fiction film than as a prequel to Alien. I say this because, while the two are clearly connected, the connections aren't as firm as some people might want them to be (or as I expected.) I'd have a tough time discussing this without spoilers, which is why I've made another page with discussion of some of the plot elements and events. If you don't want to read any spoilers (and I suggest that you don't) just know this: the movie does reveal a (fictional) origin of our species, and it's pretty grim. The special effects and space stuff were top-notch, there were little things that I didn't really think about until later, and this might need a second viewing while it's still on my mind.

something this movie has that no other movie has: A lady using a computerized surgery machine to remove an alien fetus from her own stomach. Note here that the alien fetus does not go quietly.

acting: Noomi Rapace is the main protagonist, a scientist with a strong religious streak, who wants to believe in a higher power but is forced to consider all the options. Michael Fassbender is a smug, sometimes creepy android with a hidden agenda (and another even more hidden agenda, actually) and a tendency to wander around operating alien control mechanisms. Idris Elba is the working-class captain of the ship, who tends to ask the simple questions in a complicated situation. Charlize Theron is a rigid executive-type with her own hidden agenda. Logan Marshall-Green is the "let's run in there without thinking so we can discover the cool secrets" scientist, and the love interest of the main female character. Guy Pearce, with heavy makeup, plays the aged billionaire CEO who sponsored the expedition and (surprise) has his own hidden agenda.

final word: Good science fiction, worth seeing, but may not be the perfect Alien-filled Alien prequel that many people want.

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