Now, this will probably have some spoilers in. So, I suggest you click the little red “X” in the corner if you don’t want to read. I won’t be offended.
I couldn’t sum up how I feel about this film in a Facebook status. Torn. Disappointed. Confused. Annoyed. All of the above.
I love Alien, I love Aliens – the other two films in the series are terrible – but you know, I’m an Alien franchise fan. I know Ridley Scott is stressing that Prometheus isn’t a prequel and that it’s just coincidence it’s set in the same universe, but I think we all know it is a prequel.
Before I get on to the meat of the review; I need to rant. CGI is ruining movies. I saw Prom (as I’ll refer to it as) in 2D and yes, the special effects are amazing; the set is crisp and clear and the ‘technology’ in the story is smart and sleek. However the aliens/creatures seemed a little … rubbish. In Alien (and Aliens) I was genuinely scared seeing them for the first time. The oozing drool, glistening skin, acid blood: all of it terrified me.
Prom was missing the excitement and fear that the viewer felt in the original movies.
Anyway, back to the review.
I’ll talk about the actors/actresses next.
Let’s start with the positives.
Michael Fassbender: Hollywood sweetheart and generally all around great actor. He carried this movie from the start to the end. His character ‘David’ was an android and allegedly devoid of emotion. I don’t know how he did it, but MF made me feel for the character. At the start I had nothing but sympathy for David. Then I thought ‘what a bastard’ and then, yet again, I felt for him when he’s washing his ‘father’s’ feet. I thought about David on the drive home. I don’t think it was the script (which was so/so) that made this character the most interesting. It’s definitely MF’s acting. Superb.
Charlize Theron: Gorgeous. End of. Her character ‘Miss Vickers’ was the commander of the mission. Like MF, CT raised the bar with her performance. Miss Vickers was portrayed as cold and uncaring, but again, this chips away and I saw a certain vulnerability to her that appeals.
Noomi Rapace: You know, the actress from the original The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. No, not the Daniel Craig one, the other one. She played ‘Dr Elizabeth Shaw’ who was, I guess, the main character. I’m not overly impressed with her acting abilities if I’m honest. I think I’ll have to watch her in a few more movies before I make up my mind. I think she’s “hot” at the moment in Hollywood – and it may be a case of Emperor’s New Clothes with her. That’s just my opinion.
Guy Pearce: This pains me, it really, really does. I adore GP. I love him on the screen, but this time I just saw an amalgamation of all his “baddie” characters merged into one. He bored me a little. Oh – and his make-up was shit. He was meant to be Miss Vickers father … and yet, I would have thought he was actually her grandfather.
So, now I’ll move onto the story.
First off, in Alien there was an abstract threat to Earth; but the story focussed on the immediate and very real threat to the crew. In Prometheus the threat was purely abstract. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the characters (exc David and Miss Vickers) were so one-dimensional and unsympathetic that … well, I just didn’t care for them.
There are usual clichés. The ‘cool black guy’, then there was the ‘comedic biologist’ and the ‘stoned cyberpunk’ (complete with shitty tattoos) and then the uptight corporate type.
My major problem was the fact that the scientists didn’t act like scientists. The biologist didn’t seem to give a toss about anything; and actually walked away from an alien corpse because he agreed with the cyberpunk geologist that it “wasn’t his field of research” – bear in mind that these guys had never seen an alien before! Dr Shaw suddenly turned from archaeologist to medical expert and; the biggest face palm moment came when these supposedly highly intelligent people had no regard for contamination, viruses, environment, ecosystem or a hundred other reasons and removed their helmets!
There can only be one explanation. The characters behave this way to set up the scenes later in the movie. Alien (and Aliens) worked because the characters were believable; and they were trapped in a horrible situation causing us to feel for them. The characters in Prometheus just aren’t believable and thus, the question of their survival just doesn’t matter.
There were no kick-ass female protagonists in this story. Dr Shaw is NO Ellen Ripley. David was the only saving grace; and even his motives are unknown.
The major flaw was the lack of story. There was no structure, and it seemed to skip from scene to scene too smoothly. The sense of gradual progress, or trial or pain was missing and there was no suspense! In fact – the best scene of all involved Dr Shaw having an ‘alien’ cut out her stomach by a robotic surgery pod.
Characters died and I really didn’t care.
I realise this sounds slating; but I truly expected more. This is RIDLEY SCOTT for crying out loud. Gladiator, Alien, BLADE RUNNER … masterpieces. Prometheus? … No.
Shit. Now I’ve wiki’d and seen that James Cameron helped out.
If the movie had been directed by anyone else; I would have rated it higher. But Scott has the talent, he knows what the viewer likes, what the viewer wants, and he simply failed to deliver.
I rate this 6.5/10.
To put in context … I vote:
I have to add – I’m completely ignoring tearing the premise of the story apart. That “engineers” (giant humanoid looking aliens that we’re supposed to be genetically identical to) created mankind. Everyone knows I love sci-fi, and I can forgive a lot in the name of “art” and “story” – so, I’ll forgive and say nothing.
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Oh – and because I suddenly feel really bad – I’m going to add what I thought was good.
The design and feel of the ship.
The technology and outfits.
The CGI (even though I grumble. It’s still beautiful).
The pace – the film is 2 hours long, but didn’t feel it.
Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron.