Jun 11 2012
2.5 out of 5 stars
“What if you got to meet your gods, and didn’t like their answers to your questions?”
That’s a central quandary of Prometheus, and one that I can twist into my own thoughts about the movie itself.
“What if a god of sci-fi returned to the genre, and you didn’t like his movie?”
It’s a question that pains me to have to pose, but truly, Prometheus is far from the science fiction masterpiece that Ridley Scott’s Alien was. It’s visually gorgeous, but plagued with issues ranging from casting to script to a plot with too many loose ends and canonical sins to count.
Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) believe themselves to have made the discovery of a lifetime in 2089. They’ve connected a series of ancient artwork from Sumerian to Egyptian that points to a celestial visit from a very specific part of the galaxy.
Glad to see Serenity is still getting work.
Fortunately, NASA apparently makes great strides in the next eighty years, and a ship, Prometheus is commissioned by ancient trillionaire Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce in 200 year-old man make-up) to journey to the possibly life-sustaining moon in the far-away solar system.
The ship is captained by Janek (Idris Elba), managed by Weyland surrogate Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and maintained by the android David (Michael Fassbender) who busies himself watching films from the 1960s while the rest of the crew lingers in hyper sleep.
What they find on the habitable moon cannot be discussed in depth without giving too much away, but suffice to say the “engineers” as they call them, purported to have hand-crafted the human race, had some secrets that are better left undisturbed.
The trailer is downright spine-tingling, but unfortunately that same feeling doesn’t translate into the film itself. While Alien was claustrophobic and terrifying, and Scott’s Blade Runner poetic and philosophical, Prometheus is none of the above. It’s almost too much of a blockbuster, extremely loud and flashy at times, but sadly, often a bit dumber and goofier than a film of this pedigree should be. It’s a frustrating collection of halfway decent pieces, but assembled in all the wrong order with a few that simply don’t fit at all.
Charlize Theron for Samus Aran.
Rapace and Marshall-Green seem immediately out of place as the two leads. They’re far outshined dramatically by Theron and Fassbender, but the script is doing them no favors either. A main issue that keeps cropping up is that people are constantly doing things and reacting in ways that don’t make a lick of sense. For example, Marshall-Green’s Charlie has just discovered the very first existence of alien life when he arrives at the moon and sees man-made structures. Rather than acknowledging the exceptional discovery for more than a few seconds, he gets drunk because the aliens are dead and can’t talk to him. Really?
There are just so many moments of bad scripting with Fassbender’s David switching between evil and good for no reason, or Charlize Theron’s Vickers being revealed as a superfluous character, and the treasured auto-surgery pod in her private quarters only works on males for story convenience. It’s matched by some pretty terrible sci-fi which includes the crew taking off their helmets as soon as they discover air with no worries about pathogens, and everyone touching everything at all times no matter how slimy, sticky or laced with fangs it is. Character motivations make little sense, and the plot creates more confounding questions than it answers by the end, and having a sequel on deck is no excuse.
The film doesn’t work from a canon perspective all that well either. Without saying too much about the monsters that are encountered, they’re such a wide spectrum of terrors that the threat becomes muddled and confusing. It’s never clear what the properties are of what’s being fought, and the film jumps across violent variants so quickly that more than one enemy type is never seen more than once.
Prometheus presents grand questions and ends with almost no answers. It’s kind of sad when Alien vs. Predator actually had a better explanation for the events of the first film than we see here. A few plot points could be forgiven if the film was balance by a solid script and great performances, but there’s nary a memorable scene to be found, and Fassbender’s David ends up being the only character with any sort of depth at all. The robot, mind you.
David would have actually made a better lead.
It’s not terrible, but it’s definitely not worth a thirty year wait either. It’s just the latest in Ridley Scott’s decade-long parade of lackluster films, movies that could have been great, but are just missing that intangible factor to propel them to true classic status like his past work. Prometheus burns up in the atmosphere, and it’s nothing a promised sequel will be able to make amends for.
2.5 out of 5 stars
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