Hey, remember when I wrote that one movie review for SMELLS LIKE SCREEN SPIRIT forever and a day ago? Yeah…I didn’t think so. Well, I started another review for PROMETHEUS the other week but never got around to finishing it for the website. Which turned out to be OK since Linc, Jessica, and Dirk all ended up writing one for SLSS. Well, I finally did finish my rambling thoughts and decided to post them here just for grins.
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green and Charlize Theron
**Links may contain spoilers**
My first thought on watching the trailer for Prometheus was, “I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this movie before…a few times.”
That thought didn’t turn out to be entirely true but there were some very familiar themes running through Ridley Scott‘s latest foray back to the Alien universe. I don’t believe bringing up Alien while discussing Prometheus is any sort of spoiler since the “Space Jockey” (now known to be an “Engineer”) is clearly shown in the trailer and Scott, Spaihts, and Lindelof have all said this movie is indeed a prequel (of sorts).
As with most stories, I guess the best place to start is at the beginning; and the beginning of Prometheus is quite beautiful. In the first half of the film, Scott’s direction seems most comfortable taking a page (or three) from Kubrick’s 2001 or even Peter Hyams 2010. Gone is the gritty magic that made Alien such a blue collar, claustrophobic, sci-fi nightmare. This film opens with sweeping shots of an unspoiled world filled with blue skies, majestic mountains, awe inspiring waterfalls, and a marbled skinned humanoid gazing at up at giant spacecraft. It appears that these extraterrestrials have left behind one of their own to kick start the Cambrian explosion right here on planet Earth with its very familiar looking double-stranded molecules of nucleic acids.
Jump to 2089 with the Chariot Of The Gods? inspired discoveries of archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway and we’re on quest to track down these Erich von Däniken-type ancient astronauts to demand some damn answers from our creators.
Rocketing off into space to stand shoulder to shoulder with the gods ain’t cheap and doesn’t come easy, so Shaw and Holloway receive funding, supplies, a ship, and a crew from Weyland Industries.
The Prometheus is a state of the art craft filled with clean, new technology and one synthetic named David. David 8 is designed to be the “perfect Corporation man”, much like his future counterparts Ash (120-A/2) and Bishop (341-B), except that he’s been programmed to have emotions…just like people. ..And just like people, these emotions can sometimes lead one down some dangerous paths.
And I think that’s quite enough in the way of plot for y’all….the less you know, the more enjoyable (and confusing) Prometheus will be.
If you’ve already seen the film (or read any one of the 100s of reviews out there) I don’t really have to go on about how great Fassbender is…but I will say his character was the most interesting and David 8 is the true star of Prometheus.
Scott tried to recapture the group dynamic we all loved in Alien (and even Aliens) with his ragtag team of explorers, scientists, “sailors”, and hired-hands, but something just wasn’t clicking this go round. The problem seems to lie solely in the hands of the writers and not with the cast…I believe they did the best they could with their underwritten (and/or possibly rewritten) characters.
The second half of the film is a mish-mash of unfinished ideas, half baked homages to Alien, and a few desperate stabs at turning what is supposed to be an “thinking persons” sci-fi picture into a Summer blockbuster. Prometheus ended up feeling like the pilot episode to a new mega budget, science fiction series in the same brilliantly frustrating vein as LOST.
Which isn’t a bad thing if you’re willing to invest months (or even years) of your life exploring the mythology of Scott’s Alien universe. But that wasn’t for me…I wasn’t prepared, or really willing, to go down that road with Prometheus and its inevitable sequels, novels, comic books and whatever else Scott, Spaihts, and Lindelof have up their sleeves.…I just wanted a 2 hour, stand-alone space movie by that director that gave me 2 of my favorite science fiction movies of all time.
Now that I think about it, what I really wanted was my cake and to eat it too. I was excited that Scott was making another sci-fi movie but I didn’t want it it be like Alien…then I was pissed that Prometheus wasn’t enough like Alien. And the parts that were like Alien I found disappointing and unsatisfying…if not straight up bullshit (I’m looking at you, last 5 minutes).
Thankfully, the special effects are great and the images on the screen are a wonder to watch…and it goes without saying that the Giger inspired sets are just as creepy (and vaginal) as they were in the 1970s.
Will Prometheus go down in cinematic history as another Scott classic? It’s better than any of the other films he’s made in the past decade in my opinion. Only time will tell I guess…but I’m sure it will be remembered as one of the best looking Scott movies he ever did make….even if it was a little too bright and clean for my tastes. Now let’s hope that untitled Blade Runner project he’s working on doesn’t suck.
All film images came from HERE.