As always, I'll start this under the assumption that everyone reading this has now seen it so there'll probably be some spoilers but it's unlikely I can spoil it any more than the trailer did. The only thing the trailer didn't tell us was that the movie wasn't any good - but I suppose that level of honesty wouldn't be particularly sensible from a marketing perspective so I can understand why it was omitted.
That said, I found it enjoyable enough in the cinema after lowering my expectations appropriately as the early reviews came in and of course, switching my brain off. I wanted to have a good time at the movies and so did my best to enjoy the thing, which I did... but still, you have to be in a really charitable mood to get any entertainment out of watching Prometheus
Okay. Onto the discussion. Civilian's touched on the religious symbolism - the engineer sacrificing himself to create life for instance - as well as the dull premise. And it is dull for exactly the reason he mentioned. It doesn't work as an intriguing "What if..." concept, because we already know it's total rubbish.
And what was with the alien DNA/human DNA 100% identical match, while we're on that subject? Surely, with a 100% identical match, there would be a somewhat stronger likeness between the engineers and the human race, no? After all, the closest thing you can get to separate individuals with 100% identical DNA is identical twins.
Also, before I forget... I know everyone's already said it but Damon Lindelof is a terrible writer. And after seeing this, I'm convinced that Ridley Scott is not a director but just a good cinematographer - because a real director would take more interest in the story. There is no way that an actual director, fully conscious, would allow the multitude of flaws that were in this movie's script to not only slip through initial discussions but to actually let them into the final picture. That is especially true of a picture with the kind of budget this movie had and the expectations that were riding on it. After watching Prometheus
, I further confirmed this by looking at the backlog of Ridley Scott's work on the IMDB and it really is hit-and-miss. The man clearly has no aptitude for nor interest in the story aspect of movie making.
Now, what else can we look at? I suppose we can ignore the premise from here on. I certainly ignored it when I was in the cinema. It was part of the strategy I used so I could enjoy the movie. I even ignored the way Elizabeth Shaw was able to run around after that major operation she performed on her abdomen as well, since I was feeling so generous at the time. I'm no scientist but I think people need intact abdominal muscles to even stand up. However, I let that slide. Incidentally, the transition from the operation scene to the final act is the worst scene transition I've ever seen in a movie. Shaw doesn't react to seeing
the hideous Guy Pierce Monster
Weyland and nobody really reacts to seeing Shaw. I thought it might have been nice if someone had asked her whether she was okay. Oddly enough, the only one who comments on what happened is David, the android - and only later in the movie.
Anyway, what really got me in Prometheus
was the lack of structure and story. There was absolutely nothing driving the narrative - and you need something. A threat for the characters to ward off. A mystery to solve. Something to find. A romantic relationship to build. Anything would do but there needs to be something there. Now, some charitable souls might argue that there was
a threat in Prometheus
but I couldn't see one. The characters could have packed up and left at any moment in the movie. It wasn't as though anyone was trying to stop them. And the one surviving engineer doesn't count as a threat because it was only when the characters woke him up that he became one - and that was very late in the film.
As for the rest of the movie, I can only really describe the middle hour as shenanigans. Prometheus
lands on the planet. The characters (for want of a better word) do some exploring. They touch things they shouldn't touch. They behave recklessly and do silly things and some of them get away with this and some of them don't. The only things holding our interest at this stage are the characters of David and Elizabeth - David because despite the weakness of the movie he's in, he's a compelling character, and Elizabeth because Noomi Rapace does a wonderful job with the limited material she has to work with. Idris Elba is enjoyable too because of the laconic charm he brings to his role, I suppose, but his character is really given nothing to do at all until that implausible ending that comes out of left field - and Meredith Vickers is easy on the eyes because Charlize Theron is playing her. Charlize does a great job with what she's given too but again, what she's given is very little. Still, better than Aeon Flux
. I gave up on that film after five minutes, which might be a record for me. I really wish someone would give that woman a role in a decent movie because she's clearly a capable actress.
Anyway, the rest of it's just a series of random set pieces with little connection between them that do nothing to advance the plot. The two idiots who got lost, for instance. They add nothing to the film by the presence and their grisly ends add nothing either. When one of them comes back to the ship as some kind of zombie thing (never mind how; the movie doesn't) and a whole lot of other characters are killed off, it just trims the extraneous characters so the movie can begin to have something of an ensemble that the audience can possible care about (although by that time, it's over an hour too late for that). They should have just had fewer characters to begin with. Also, I'm sure there was a piece of dialogue missing there: "Idiot One has come back to the ship. All unnamed characters report to the cargo bay!"
On a side-note, the scene with the cobra-like creature was a pretty bad move for another reason. Here, the movie presented us with a stupid scene that had no bearing on the plot. However... that's not the real problem. Prometheus
had plenty of those - Elizabeth's dream for instance. No, the really silly thing about that scene was that it reminded the audience of a much better scene that was pivotal to the plot of a far better movie. Why Ridley Scott and that incompetent screenwriter of his would want to deliberately remind the audience that they could be watching a much better movie instead of Prometheus
is beyond me. The same can be said for the references to Lawrence of Arabia
as well - although admittedly, when those references were made, the film still looked as though it could come together. After all, the montage with David at the beginning was actually nicely done.
"There's nothing in the desert and no man needs nothing."
"Oh, it's just something from a movie I happen to like much more than this one."
As for the scene where Elizabeth performs emergency surgery on herself, I think that is pretty much like the other shenanigans that litter the film, except for the fact that it has a bearing on the film's ending. It shouldn't have any bearing on it but unfortunately, this is the type of film Prometheus
Then, after all the silliness is done, someone decides that steps should be taken to end the movie and the audience is then treated to a rushed finale with little set-up and consequently no real pay-off. When the movie ends, the feeling one gets is that they've seen some pretty landscapes and some nice sets but little else. There isn't a lot of point to the movie. It doesn't answer any questions. Its relationship to Alien
is poorly handled. If you include Prometheus
in the continuity line, then there are now two
wrecked space jockey ships on separate planets
, along with two
warnings about the contents of these ships. Great. I would have been fine if Ridley Scott had made a direct prequel to Alien
. I would have been fine if he made something completely unrelated. But instead, he made blatantly obvious (and cringe-worthy) references to it, while taking neither of these options. And of course, he took the space jockey, talked and talked about how he would explore its origins and then made it really boring. I see no reason, even within the context of the movie's premise that the space jockeys created the human race... no reason
why they couldn't have still retained their alien features. When I saw the engineer suit up at the end so that he resembled the space jockey from Alien
, I wasn't impressed. I just felt disappointed. There is nothing inherently
wrong with the concept that the elephantine features that we believed were part of these aliens' appearances are just features of a helmet that they wear but it's just really uninteresting.
Finally, one cannot help but feel cheated by the obvious sequel set-up. Whether sequels are intended or not, movies should really be made to stand alone on their own two feet as self-contained stories. Also, Ridley Scott has made a rather large fool of himself by prattling on an on about how profoundly clever this movie was going to be. In the end, it was a monster movie and a dumb one at that. If he had simply said that he was going to make a fun science-fiction monster movie for a bit of light summer entertainment, I think that would have been fine. There's nothing wrong with a monster movie. The original Alien
, for instance, was at its heart a monster movie. It had a simple B-Grade premise and out of it came an A-grade film. A monster movie but something that was so much more. Prometheus
wanted to be so much more but was just a monster movie. I remember finding another review somewhere that mentioned this. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought so.
Now, there are a lot of reviews on this movie out there so I don't really need to say a great deal more about it. I read a handful of them just for the fun of it and most of them say more or less the same thing. I did come across a nice quote though, which offers this wonderful tidbit for anyone planning on watching the thing:
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it sucks."
I had to throw that in there. However, as I said, while I didn't mind that it sucked when I saw it at the cinema, I doubt anything good could come out of a repeat viewing aside from a greater appreciation of the numerous problems - a myriad of the things, of which I've only mentioned a handful. Now the movie's not horrendously awful but it's pretty mediocre. Horrendously awful would be like Alien3
, Alien Resurrection
or the Alien vs Predator
movies that deserve half a star at best (and the second Alien vs Predator
deserves none at all). They're unwatchable. Prometheus
isn't unwatchable. As I said, with the right type of mindset, appropriate lowering of expectations and the right environment (the cinema), Prometheus
is enjoyable enough for a mindless summer blockbuster. David was a compelling character. A few other leads did good jobs with their limited material. The storm sequence was a bit of a thrill, if not wholly necessary for the story. Ah... let's see... Iceland looked nice. Prometheus
looked good in flight. That map of the galaxy was pretty. But anyway, here's how I think it ultimately stacked up.
** and a half
I initially gave it *** and a half
but after reflection, I thought that was too generous. At best, it's *** but clearly, it's not in the same league as Alien
One last thing. I worried when I went to see Prometheus
whether it would spoil my enjoyment of Alien
. However, I'm happy to say that after watching Alien
again recently, Prometheus
doesn't affect it in the slightest. In fact, I only remembered Prometheus
briefly while I was watching Alien
and then just shrugged it off. The space jockey was still the space jockey for me. He wasn't a steroid-injected albino in a suit. He was the same mysterious alien creature who had set off that warning that the Nostromo
So was Prometheus
its own entity, a prequel or a cousin-once-removed? It was none of these. It was just a silly 'what if' film that's enjoyable enough for a single viewing and can be discarded afterwards. Prometheus
was a non-event.
If you really want to see a great movie in the Alien
series, watch Alien
This post has been edited by Just your average movie goer: 06 July 2012 - 09:21 PM