I know what I’m supposed to say.
But I just can’t do it.
I did not like Prometheus.
Admittedly I did not believe director Ridley Scott’s admission that this movie was not an Alien prequel. I popped on my 3D glasses over my normal everyday eye-wear (god I hate 3D) with the idea that I was seeing Alien revisited by the master himself. Epic fail does not begin to describe my feelings as the credits rolled. But then I realized there were a lot of “me” problems in that equation. Once I set aside my overzealous pre-concieved notions and thought long and hard about the film as a standalone feature, I realized something. The movie was beautiful. The concept was amazing. The actors were incredible. The script absolutely sucked.
As a note here, it is my understanding that Jon Spaihts wrote a script meant to be a prequel to Alien. Scott had Damon Lindelof come onboard to rework the script to its final state as more of an exploration into the creation of man. Lindelof, of Lost fame, may have destroyed an amazing script. We’ll never know. Unfortunately for Prometheus and all the good it did have, story is the most important aspect of any film. Without it, you literally just have moving pictures.
The movie starts slow. And not slow like an Alfred Hitchcock film where you’re engaged, but slow like checking your pulse every five minutes to ensure you’re not dead from boredom. I thoroughly enjoyed an early homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey as we follow David, the resident android, (played to perfection by Michael Fassbender) through his daily routine while the human crew travels in stasis. This had more to do with Scott’s beautiful shot composition than any real story development. It’s quite obvious Scott has not lost his touch.
After both interesting and mundane character development for David, we finally meet the whole crew as they reach their destination. The scene is very reminiscent of the same scenario in Aliens, unfortunately it fails to convey the most important thing that Aliens did right, character development. Only Idris Elba’s Janek stands out as cigar smoking, Christmas-carol singing, tree decorating captain of the Prometheus. Beyond that, I couldn’t care less about anyone else, including our determined scientists, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green). This is not to say the acting was poor, in fact I really enjoyed seeing Rapace reinvigorate Scott’s strong female lead. It’s just that we as an audience barely learn to care about most of the characters, so many of their fates are meaningless.
Finally, after a lot of blah, blah, blah, boring, boring boring, we get some action. An exploratory team leaves the ship and enters a structure that looks incredibly out of place in the alien landscape. The team finds there is unexplained atmosphere and stumbles upon the Engineers, specifically one who was decapitated by a security door. Behind the security door, we discover a large room of menacing canisters and the now famous human head statue that was so prevalent in the trailers. We have also learned along the way that David can utilize the Engineer’s technology as he plays through a series of holographic footage of the humanoid figures running from something or someone. Artifacts are removed for study, some known, others with more nefarious plans.
Honestly from this point forward the film becomes incredibly intriguing, yet maddeningly lacks answers. Also the cheese factor increases, namely with some of the most obvious “twists” that could ever be plotted. I’m choosing not to reveal anymore of the film for fear of ruining an incredibly unique experience. I clearly did not enjoy the movie, but here’s the awful truth, I cannot stop thinking about it. Much as I was with the Star Wars prequels, I am intrigued at the concept of a master filmmaker revisiting a property that was created over 30 years ago. Plus, I deduced major story themes that carry throughout the Alien franchise, which in the end satisfied my annoying need to connect the two worlds. I stick to my guns that this is not a good film, failed miserably by a horrible script, but in my mind the goal of any film is to leave the audience thinking about it long after the credits role. To that end I have to say it was an incredible success.
So I still can’t say what I know I’m supposed to say. Prometheus is not a good movie. In the end, I can only hope. And that hope is that Damon Lindelof remains as far away from Ridley Scott’s next project, the Blade Runner sequel/prequel, as possible. I give Prometheus 2.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls.