In the month or so since it has been released, Ridley’s Scott’s pseudo Alien prequel Prometheus has been discussed to death. Whether it is because they felt the movie did not live up to their expectations from Ridley Scott or whether they found the film genuinely thought provoking, it has been far from difficult to find opinions about Prometheus. As late as I’m getting to this, I’m not sure I have much to add to the discussion. For once, just about everybody is right. Prometheus is a thought provoking film. It is also a complete mess. For me, the good outweighed the bad, but I can understand someone feeling the opposite.
The bad in this movie is pretty bad. Characters do dumb things just to help move the plot along, plotlines appear and disappear seemingly at random, and sometimes Looney Tunes-esque slapstick ruins supposedly dramatic moments. The whole set up is a take on those idiotic ancient aliens “theories.” A lot of this stuff is hard to swallow. The script could have used either one more or one less pass, depending on where these problems came from. Most of the problems stem, though, from the wholly forgivable crime of trying to do too much. I’d rather a movie fail with ambition than succeed without it.
There are several great performances in Prometheus. Noomi Rapace is terrific as the main character, competent and quick thinking. And Fassbender does a great job as the secretive, and secretly more human than he lets on David. Nearly everyone does a great job with the material they are given. And while Prometheus doesn’t do so great a job with its science, it does raise some interesting question about the relationships between parents and their offspring.
Where Prometheus truly shines is in its visuals. It is the most visually stunning film I’ve seen in some time. Often big special effects budgets are spent with the effect of only making the movie look like everything else, or making sickening action scenes. Prometheus is clear and wonderful. The world they are on truly looks like an alien planet. When other parts of the film falter, it never, ever stops looking good.
I guess this turned into a pretty wishy-washy review. Possibly this is because one of the big draws for this movie, its connections to the Alien franchise, mean almost nothing to me. I didn’t like Alien, mostly just because it is a horror movie and I do not like horror movies. I was also not a big fan of Aliens. I didn’t see it until 2005 or so, and it never left much of an impression on me. I’ve never seen any of the other Alien movies. I had no expectations. I do like many Ridley Scott films, though I have a big hole in that I’ve never seen Blade Runner, he is what got me to the cinema. What I saw was the Robin Hood to Alien’s Gladiator. Not strictly a bad movie, but not an especially great one.