The big release at the cinema this week is Prometheus, the somewhat prequel to Alien. Ridley Scott is once again in the director’s chair, having taken a break from the Alien universe since the first movie.
The story is about two scientists who find various historic references to an alien race that was somehow involved in mankind’s development. In all these various historic artifacts is a map to a solar system about two years travel away. Two scientists, with the backing of the Weyland Corporation are sent off with a small crew on a scientific expedition into space to find our creators. After they arrive at the moon that’s shown in the maps, our scientific crew manages to quickly locate a strange building, which obviously need to be explored. There’s a few twists and turns, which I shall leave unmentioned for the sake of not spoiling anything.
I sat at the end of Prometheus, silently watching the credits as they rolled down the screen. The first words out of my mouth?
I find it somewhat fitting that my reaction to the movie cannot even be described in proper English. It’s not to say the movie was terrible, but that rather that it was average at best.
All the characters are “Meh” (sorry Charlize, you did try). Almost all the acting is “Meh”. The story is “Meh?”, particularly if you take a second look at it.
Movie rating: Meh. Definitely disappointed, but it’s not the worst movie I’ve seen recently.
BEWARE: MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW (changed at the request of someone on a mobile phone):
Wow. Ok. So where do I start?
There are some good things about Prometheus.
The first half of the movie, as things are getting set up, is pretty tense and had me hooked. The CG and cinematography is great, but honestly, you wouldn’t expect anything less from Ridley Scott.
I also particularly liked what they did with David, who despite only being a robot, is obviously self aware and has some kind of emotional capacity. As a result of that, he has some kind of motivation, although we’re never sure exactly what. Michael Fassbender, the actor who played him did a damn good job. Charlize Theron also should get a pat on the back, mostly because she didn’t have much to work with but still pulled off a good performance.
Which leads me into the first major problem with the movie overall: characters and motivation. The main characters are well set up, but are either never developed properly or handled badly. Elizabeth, the main character of the movie, seems to have issues of faith. We’re never quite sure about this, although some back story is mentioned about her father, a missionary, who died from ebola or something. She is very attached to the cross, although it may for sentimental reasons, more than faith. Then there’s Meredith Vickers, the heir to the Weyland corporation. She sits somewhere between horny keyboard jockey and king superbitch, but never really ends up going one way or the other. Back to David, who despite being an robot, is obviously self-aware on some kind of level. He is carrying out the Weyland agenda, in addition to his own, and for what purpose we are never quite sure. Is he crazy? Does he hate humanity? Way more time was needed on the script.
Then of course there’s the myriad of characters who serve no purpose other than to just be there (they get screen time, they just don’t do much with it), or to serve as cannon fodder.
Oh and the plot issues! Oh boy, this could keep us busy for a while. Here’s a few that a friend and I picked up:
- Aliens creating maps for humans, but these aren’t maps to their home planet, these are maps to their isolated military research facilities.
- No need to scan the planet from space, we know pretty much where we are going (God doesn’t build in straight lines).
- Science team with advanced mapping equipment has to ask where two missing crew members are, instead of just looking at the giant 3D map they have on their main deck. Not to mention how those two crew members got lost in the first place…
- Why does David infect one of the crew members?
- Why does no one notice after Elizabeth has just performed a self cesarean that she’s covered in blood? Oh, she’s naked, let me cover the poor girl. Also related, she fails to tell anyone that she just gave birth to some kind of alien.
- Why does the Prometheus seem strangely empty? No one ever seems to notice anything happening? They got the Playboy channel or something?
- Something just wiped out a small group of super advanced aliens. Yes, let’s not go back to the ship and get some bloody guns!
- You know that something at the facility killed everyone, yet you try to make friends with something that just came crawling out of some black ooze?
- Also, if they wanted to destroy us, why didn’t they just come with their super advanced ships, or maybe just send someone to finish the job that the original alien weapons research crew started decades ago?
- Seriously, this movie didn’t need a zombie. It feels like they put a zombie in it just so they could have a zombie, and fill a particularly slow part of the movie.
And that’s just off the top of my head…