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June 6th, 2012

Alien vs. The Simpsons (quite spoilerific)

I had a sudden urge to go the cinema on Saturday afternoon; well, actually what I had was a sudden urge to sit on a comfy seat in the dark and be entertained whilst having a valid excuse for ignoring my phone. Anyway, I went to see Prometheus.

It was very pretty to look at, but deviates hugely from canon. For a start, Mr Burns is nowhere near as evil as he is in The Simpsons and Smithers appears to be be bisexual, not gay, and is very, very sexy and an android. He's a lot like the Rutger Hauer character in Blader Runner with better hair and worse lines. Part of the reason he looks so sexy is that his character models himself on Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia. This is a very smart move on the part of the director, as left-leaning American viewers will think: Ooh, look he wants to be the one on the side of the Arabs - he must be pretty cool and right-on, and right-leaning ones will think: Ooh, look he wants to be the one on the side of the Arabs - he must be the Bad Guy. These positions are both tenable as he is the only remotely complex, interesting or sympathetic character.

Lisa Simpson is Dr West, an archeologist with a penchant for God-bothering who has read too much Eric von Daniken. Bart is her cute, plucky but tactless boyfriend. Dr West is no Ripley, but in a regal handwave in the direction of feminism, the boyfriend - who is so insentisitive he forgets her eggs have dried up - dies handsomely, and she sails off into the sunset with the android, whose batteries, it seems, will never run out. Despite being barren, she has a DIY abortion which further distances her from the aliens, who are very, very pro-life indeed.

Willy the Janitor is transmuted into a foul-mouthed, unfriendly Scottish geologist, and given some of Sideshow Bob's hair. Ned Flanders is tries to be his friend, but they and all the other supporting characters are so uninteresting I can't remember what happens to them, other than that they all die in the end. Charlize Theron is a cross between The Wicked Witch of The West, Margaret Thatcher and Luke Skywalker but this is nowhere near as interesting as it sounds, and the best bit is when the chimney lands on her.

It does all look gorgeous, though, especially the humanoid aliens, who look they were designed by someone who studied Praxiteles and William Blake. The script, alas, sounds like it was written by someone who studied Star Trek and Dr Seuss and failed to inject the campery of the former or the warmth of the latter. The opening scene, which is unexplained, is brilliant, with one of the super-foxy aliens stripping down to his DNA and chucking himself inot some sort of bleak glacial cauldron. This is presumably how life on Earth started, with time making the dodgy reptilian DNA into lizards, bugs and slugs and terrorists, and the handsome chappy DNA leaidng to monkeys and bambis and Americans. The credits roll to the haunting sound of Darwin spinning in his grave.

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