This is a Film with Problems
Starting this review, I feel that I should first address a charge made by defenders of the film at its detractors. This troper does not dislike the film because it is not Alien. This troper was not under any illusions that the film would be precisely the same as a movie made decades earlier with a different premise. The people who seemed to be under that illusion were in fact the people who made Prometheus in the first place. At multiple points it seems that the writers were simply trying to recreate problems and connections between characters from Alien, but they didn't understand why those problems and connections worked in Alien but would make little sense in Prometheus. The characters in the latter do not have any of the background or environment that the characters in the former do, so it is baffling as to why the writers would think that events would be at all the same. Moving on from there we have the glaring issue of common sense. That is to say, the horrible lack of it in Prometheus. One thing that makes Alien (and most stories in general) good was that in general everyone behaved as you would think a reasonable human would, and when they do not there is an understandable reason for it. In this film we have the misfortune to watch supposedly intelligent people behave like idiots because the plot needs them to. Finally the movie has no overarching theme. A theme of relations between parents and children is brought up, but never addressed. The conflict between faith and science is mentioned more than once but nothing comes of it. Indeed, several of the characters vital for these themes are simply killed off as though the writers just wanted to use them to up the body count. At most you could say that events happen and occasionally some message is brought up without any idea what to do with it. Suggesting that these themes might be intended to be explored over several movies is no defense, no movie was ever successfully defended with the words "it works as a part of a trilogy". Either a work stands on its own, or not at all. So ultimately it is just a failed effort to reclaim what was already done by a better work. It could have been a great film of its own, but sadly is just a let down.
A stain upon the Alien franchise.
The Prometheus has to be the dumbest film I have ever seen, or at least the dumbest film that also took itself seriously. Its script is so full of plot holes and general idiocy it's like a chunk of Swiss cheese after a shotgun blast. This is a film so poorly researched the characters claim 3% CO 2 is lethal for humans (instead of 15%), then decide to take their helmets off inside filtered caves without even checking for any microbes. A film where the two leads are surprised to find Engineers dead in the barren region that can't even support vegetation, then proclaim all of them to be dead on the basis of surveying a single cave. A film where nobody, including cynical company representative is at all interested in perfectly working alien tech found in the cave and don't even acknowledge it. Film where you can get pummelled by a 200 km/h duststorm, then emerge with your suit perfectly clean. A film where the first thing they do with Engineer's severed head is attempt to restart its nervous system for no reason, then sample it for DNA after it explodes. Skull and bone measurements, radio-carbon dating, etc.? Not in the Prometheus world. A film where nobody questions completely transparent insubordination of the android: he is able to wander off multiple times and interact with unknown alien technology without asking anyone, yet all are OK with it. He brings the jars with visibly alien fluid onto the ship, and no-one is vaguely interested in them. A film where group's biologist attempts to pet an alien snake after it hissed at him several times. All of this and more occurs within the film's first half, and the second half is even worse, as the belated plot twist appears to further invalidate the whole premise. I'll be brief now: the characters are all two-dimensional, with Noomi Rapace's Shaw feeling like a dumber [[Film/Contact Ellie Arroway]]. The actor playing Holloway is outright terrible: he feels like a Tony Stark-wannabe and rather than a scientist whose years' of work are at stage. The film doesn't answer any big questions: the most profound it gets is when David draws obvious suggestion that creation of humans by Engineers could be no different from humans making androids. Overall,he film's only strong suit is CGI, and once that fades, it's irredemeable.
I loved Prometheus. I went and saw it three times, and went and bought it the day it was on DVD. So you can understand my confusion when I saw the reviews claiming it be average or even terrible. And I think I understand why, the complaints about plot holes especially. Prometheus is about what it is like to find the answer to life, the universe and everything and how disappointing it is. On one hand we have Shaw, who passes her answer on the road, but denies it is her final destination, and marches on. We have Holloway, who is disappointed to the point of depression. We have Fifeild, who is frightened. We have Vickers, who views it as a irrelevant. And most interestingly, we have David, who has had his answer since he was built. The movie carries this theme with it until the end, where it refuses the audiences questions. The "plot holes" are intentional. It puts us through the same experience as the crew (minus the gruesome deaths).As for flaws, it is not by any means a traditional three act movie, and the pacing is erratic. But I find this a low price to pay for such a beautiful film. 5/5
Decent, but the end was disappointing
Prometheus does not live up to the hype. That's not saying much - if it wasn't for the existence of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight movies, I would say it is impossible to live up to the hype surrounding this movie. Setting aside expectations, the film is mostly very solid and enjoyable. Fans of the Alien franchise will appreciate the nods to the original quadrilogy and the explanation for just how the xenomorphs came to be. In addition, Ridley Scott has successfully pulled off a remarkable balancing act by making the film just as enjoyable and entertaining for newcomers. If you haven't seen any of the Alien movies, Prometheus is perfectly accessible and understandable; mostly, fans and newcomers will enjoy and appreciate the movie in different ways, rather than one grououp enjoying it more than the other. Acting is good throughout, and even though half the cast are playing different nationalities, there is never a problem with any of the accents, and Noomi Rapace even manages to pull of a decent Scottish accent; kudos. However, there are also flaws. One gets the impression that religion and what it means to be human were intended to be important themes in the movie; while they do get some attention, they aren't really explored, which left me feeling a bit unsatisfied. Secondly, reason for making the journey to the Engineers' planet is intended to tie into the aforementioned themes; however, it's done in such a way that it makes the reasoning behind the expedition look really weak. Finally, the ending. Without spoiling too much, suffice it to say that we'll have to wait for a sequel if we want any of the questions to be answered. Bottom line, should you see this film? In spite of its flaws, I would recommend it. While it's not the best scifi movie ever, it is still good, and ultimately does more right than it does wrong.
Just watched Prometheus, and I have to say, I was disappointed. It started off strong, but Iím afraid the ending was weak in terms of resolution and, more to the point, ugly, unpleasant, and mean-spirited. I didnít hate it. It wasnít horrible. Even the parts I disliked had amazing visuals. But compared to the first two Alien movies, it was both overwrought and underwhelming. I also didnít care about any of the characters, except for maybe the captain. Elizabeth Shaw is no Ellen Ripley. Speaking of Alien, a lot of scenes from Prometheus felt lifted directly from its predecessor. The amoral robot getting his head ripped off, the ďeggĒ chamber, etc. I imagine it was to create a sense of continuity, but all it did was remind me of a better movie I could have been watching. On the other side of the coin, I was disappointed by some things that were different from Alien. Specifically, the fact that the look and behavior of the ďliving weaponsĒ was very different from the Xenomorph from Alien. Of course, itís plausible that the Engineers / Space Jockeys had more than one variety of living weapons, but from a narrative viewpoint itís just conspicuous and annoying. I was also disappointed to learn that the Space Jockeys arenít actually elephant men, just big, bald, gray humans who wear helmets with trunks. I also hated the ďalien C-sectionĒ scene. The ďmagical pregnancyĒ trope is something I hate whenever it pops up in fiction, and seeing it here was just viscerally disgusting, and not in an entertaining way, but a mean-spirited way. So yeah. Thatís what I thought of Prometheus. I didnít despise it, but Iím glad I didnít pay full price to see it in theaters.
I hate this crew.
I enjoyed Prometheus a whole lot, but only once people started dying. I get that this is supposed to echo the original Nostromo crew. Let's think about this for one second. Can you tell the difference between a hand-picked group of specialists sent out to discover the origin of life, and a freighter full of swarthy miners? This movie can't. Nobody is ever going to remember Meredith Vickers in the hall of Great Cinema Characters in History. These clowns aren't even functional as background flavor like Ripley's original crewmates were. They don't seem interested in the mission, even. Halloway is a token racist, pointlessly referring to David as "boy", and undergoes a redemptive death that is pretty phony. Perhaps the intent was to make David the only sympathetic character by virtue of being the least human? Eh, it's been done better. Anyway, not to harp on about that. I liked the DNA-hopping of the black goo, creating proto facehuggers right and left. I also like the Engineer's armor, which draws on the old H.R. Giger designs. And it's nice to see Shaw, a scientist, seemingly totally unprepared for a life-or-death struggle. She seems real, a nice break from Ellen Ripley.
Great beginning, OK end - everything else is endless march of Idiot Balls. In result it is a pointless waste of time, despite great CGI as expedition to alien world that is less prepared than my bicycle trip is breaking any kind of immersion.
Ultimately, good and bad.
The basics: I didn't watch any of the viral marketing videos or other promotional material before watching the movie, aside from the trailers you see when watching other films. I haven't seen any other movies in the Alien series either. Horror, especially Body Horror, isn't really my thing either. The verdict: Prometheus was both a good and bad film, but I felt that it was worth the money. The pros and cons balanced each other out and made Prometheus So Okay Its Average. It could've been more, could've been more enjoyable, but unfortunately wasn't. The reasoning: The good part is that the CGI and special effects were amazing. And not in a very shallow, "turn off your brain and just stare" way either, but in a way that really sucks you into the story and contributes to the tension and horror. When you weren't being thrown out of the immersion, Prometheus was at its best. Unfortunately, the film does that a lot—break you out of believability. The characters act in either such painfully stereotypical horror movie ways, or in complete indifference. Poor Communication Kills is at its best (or worst?) in this movie. The ending leaves some questions unanswered too—without much hope of a sequel. Spoilers! (aka further reasoning)
- Examples of terrible Idiot Ball moments:
- Fifield and Millburn split up with the others—but don't ask the crew for help in getting out. The rest of the crew on the ship don't even bother trying to give them the storm warning.
- Vickers and Janek leaving the bridge of the Prometheus, although they know they still have two members of the crew stranded in the alien installation. In fact, not having anyone on the bridge to check if they're still alive.
- Holloway seeing that there is possibly a worm in his eye and not telling anyone.
- Shaw not telling anyone that she just birthed a tentacled monstrosity, and left it in Vickers' room.
Prometheus: A disappointment or Just intruiging?
Itís near future of the year 2038, an expedition of a group of scientists led by the archeologist couple Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway (played by Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green respectively) discovered what seemed to be a starmap which could lead them to what could possibly be the actual creators of the human race. The crew consisting of David, the android (played by Michael Fassbender), Meridith Vickers (played by Charlize Theron), Janek (played by Idris Elba), etc. Unfortunately, they entered into a planet which could kill them or give them answers. While some questions are answered but in the process creates more questions. To which that is the biggest problem with the film, it created more questions. And worst of all, it acts like as if it were supposed to know all this. Not to mention, the entire film felt like a setup, evidenced by the fact that the filmmakers want to make sequels. Itís never a good sign when the answers youíre looking for can be found in an interview with one of the writers. Another problem is the characterization. Every stupid moment they think of, they do it. For instance, one guy touched an alien cobra-like creature and surprise, surprise, he dies. Despite not seeing The Cabin in the Woods, wasn't this the sort of thing that film was satirizing in the first place? But depsite how the characters were written, the actors give it all they got to at least put in a decent if not good performance. That and Noomi Rapace is easy on the eyes. And really, Idris Elba is the best actor in the entire film. The production design however is very stellar, really impressive to look. You could that the filmmakers at least put in a major effort into creating various setpieces, creature designs, the inside of the spaceship Prometheus, everything. It really depends if you think itís worth watching or not. On one hand, itís disappointing to know that the entire film was nothing but a setup. On the other hand, the visuals are very interesting to look at and to be fair, itís very intriguing enough for anyone to see how the entire film ends. If youíre still interested, I at least recommend taking a look at it if youíre really curious about it. If youíre worried that itís exactly what it is being a disappointment and all, then by all means, donít see it if itís exactly what youíre expecting.
A Great Beginning
The start of Prometheus is absolutely fantastic, it looks amazing and feels huge. It really captures just the sheer size and majesty of space and it's absolutely beautiful, from the vast mountains of the new world to the strangely dead world they land on. Prometheus manages to capture something of what it would feel like to land on a strange new world that you knew had a civilisation so great and old, that they created us. And it asks these brilliant questions, with fantastically chosen characters. We have an archaeologist with a strangely resilient faith in God, wears a cross, but also believes humanity was seeded by another more powerful race and wants to speak to their makers. When asked if their existence means she should remove that cross from around her neck, she asks who made them? We have an android, who has met his makers and works with them on a daily basis. Why was he created? Because they could. The idea of women creating life every day. The passionate partner who believes that they could be created by another race and puts his hopes in the questions he might get to ask them, but not in an more eternal creator. The dispassionate, believe nothing corporate leader... Everyone has an interesting viewpoint and the questions are huge. And they're explored against this magnificent backdrop but also with the tension as the Alien horror begins to unfold. ...and then it fizzles. It's like they asked all these brilliant questions and then realised they didn't know how to answer them, or even how to begin to explore them and so just stuck in a fight scene instead. The beginning is great but you'll leave feeling a little let down. It's a still frame of narrative. And the Alien parts, whilst good and tense (although, really horrific too) have some problems. We've been here before. It would be nice to see the Weyland Corporation hire people on qualifications other than being grossly incompetent and/or batshit insane. The most level headed person in the entire thing was a psychopath. Clearly the interview process involves putting people alone in a room with a strange unknown liquid, and hiring those who immediately decide to drink it. Also when you step back there are lots of parts and motivations that didn't seem to be explained and it feels like there just might not be sensible reasons.
What can go wrong?
It feels like a lot of flak about this movie comes with the misconceptions people walk in with. And surprisingly enough, that's actually a legitimate theme of the movie - flaws undermining what could have been a miraculous thing. The skinny? A bait and switch from a philosophical movie to a homage movie to Alien. Unfortunately, Ridley Scott slipped by his old sci-fi tricks, such as not understanding modern uses of robots and radio and GPS. But if one let it slide and pretend it's the 1970's again, one can enjoy this. Another thing is the characters are flawed - too flawed. From David, who can do the mental gymnastics to have ideas that have no substance or place, to a respected-but-untrained crew, to even the engineers falling from our Broken Pedestal...the characterization is there, just not explained in detail. One can hope that Ridley Scott slipped by a director's cut. A scientifically acurate film being Wish Fulfillment on our relationship with our precursors? Nope. An enjoyable film, after it's enhanced with trope knowledge? Yes. At least one can enjoy the special effects put into it, and decipher what kind of point Ridley Scott was trying to imply.
Another Pointless Prequel
The best thing in Prometheus appears in the first minute. An enigmatic figure and a wild landscape, in a scene highly reminiscent of something from Frankensteins Monster. With a title like "Prometheus", I was kind of expecting that sort of story. Unfortunately, it goes to another place entirely; one we did not need to see again. Prometheus ends up being two different movies. It wants to be a grand, philosophical sci-fi which dares to confront the big questions about life, but it spends far more of its time paying lip service to its predecessor. Prometheus makes the typical mistake of prequel movies, in that it devotes itself to examining unimportant details from the source material. Most of this movie is just a re-tread of the Alien imagery, with scenes and story panning out in exactly the same way. It quickly stops being its own movie, and those big questions become embellishments to an Alien remake. Even if you just want to see an Alien prequel/remake, you'll probably be frustrated by the way it messes with what was previously established in past movies. Saying that, at least they get some of it right. The classic Giger imagery is excellent, there is plenty of atmosphere, and the body horror is some of the most effective and disgusting I have ever seen in cinema. Unfortunately, with the exception of Fassbender's android, the characters aren't as good. Fassbender does the stilted, conflicted, inhumane robot very well, and in a better movie, he would have served as the protagonist. Alongside him, we get lots of blandish, unmemorable characters who are doomed to make all the stupid horror movie mistakes (despite being genius scientists). Prometheus is a flawed film. It fails because it decided to stick close to the films we've already seen, and refuses to give us anything new. Had it been more willing to take risks, we might have got an interesting sci-fi with more to say than "so this is where the xenomorphs come from", or "here is another Alien film, we're just too ashamed to admit it in the title".