Review: “Prometheus”

In space, no one can hear you scream (at numerous plot holes).

One of my most anticipated films for this summer was “Prometheus,” director Ridley Scott’s quasi-prequel to his 1979 film “Alien.”

It’s fair to say that my expectations were a little higher than where they should’ve been. I mean, the same guy found a way to make “Robin Hood” lackluster.

The film is about the exploratory vessel, Prometheus, and its crew of biologists, geologists and androids. Drs. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green, who attended my alma mater in Knoxville, TN) lead an expedition to the unknown reaches of space in order to discover the origin of life on earth. They believe that a race of “engineers” traveled across the galaxy to bring life, only to be remembered through cave paintings found in ancient civilizations long ago.

Also on board are Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), Janek (Idris Elba), a robot named David (Michael Fassbender) and a handful of Redshirts (expendable characters, for those of you unfamiliar with sci-fi).

Upon arriving at their destination, the crew discovers they would have been much better off just letting the mystery of our origins go.

Most people who have a problem with this film are upset for two reasons: First, they wanted the history of the Space Jockey kept as a secret. I can identify with this. I hated when Rob Zombie decided to give a sympathetic childhood to Michael Myers. Secondly, there are many instances where Damon Lindelof’s script creates plot holes or similarly annoying problems. One of these has to do with a character having abdominal surgery and then engaging in strenuous physical activities roughly an hour later.

While the first problem only exists in the minds of a few die-hard fanboys, the second is a real distraction for the film. Characters make all kinds of outrageous judgment calls that make little sense throughout the movie. MINOR SPOILERS: The guy who makes the map of the ruins for the team is literally the only person who gets lost in the film. Really? How does everyone else move around so easily? And don’t get me started on Vickers’ trouble with moving horizontally. END OF SPOILERS

Many of the characters in the film don’t get the layer of depth I would like, there are a couple of strong characters in the film. Rapace and Elba both do well with their parts, although I wish there was a little more story for Elba. The strongest performance comes from the amazing Michael Fassbender. His portrayal of the robot David is downright chilling. When I went to see the film a second time (after going back to watch the “Alien” films), I found myself loving the character and the actor’s performance.

The film is also very strong in the visuals department. The special effects may be from a different aproach than “Alien,” but between the creatures and the foreign world’s landscape, it is very well-crafted.

Did “Prometheus” live up to my high expectations? Not really. I loved certain things about the movie, but some of the writing problems are just too much to overlook. In the end, Ridley Scott settles on making a good movie instead of what could have been a modern classic.

Grade: B-

Happy viewing.

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4 thoughts on “Review: “Prometheus”

  1. Nice review. I had very similar thoughts. It was entertaining and had great acting and visuals, but the script was oftentimes too convoluted and vague. At the same time, when Lindelof and Spaihts were able to stay on the right side of the fine line that separates thought-provoking ambiguity and lackluster explanations, the film was more effective. I gave it 3/4.

    • Thanks. I just watched an interview with Lindelof where he said the original script (before his input) had chestbusters and xenomorphs all over the place. It kinda sounded like Alien: Resurrection. While that wouldn’t be horrible, I’m glad that this film tries to be a little slower and deeper rather than some kind of action-fest.

  2. When I click the ‘Like” button, it is in reference to your fair review (you are more generous than I), it is not in reference to my opinion of the movie. Do they have an ‘Dislike’ button for that? 🙂

    • Gotcha. Glad you enjoyed it. I totally understand why some people didn’t like the movie, but for some reason it was still a pretty good experience for me.

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