“In space, no one can hear your utter disappointment.”
Me, like many other movie goers, head into the summer with a heart full optimism and excitement. Summer, although it is not typically where movies find Oscar Gold, it’s where movie magic happens. It is when the studios release their money-making machines and watch with anticipation as the box-office numbers come rolling in. It’s the movies that we line up for; we watch the trailers on repeat, waiting for when we can go see them at midnight; we mark our calenders, counting down until we actually go to the movies.
‘Prometheus’, for me, was one of those movies I couldn’t wait for. It was right behind ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ for my most anticipated movies of the summer. It appeared to have everything I love; solid cast, a proven director, and enough Sci-Fi action on an epic scale to make any ‘Firefly’ fan take notice. The night I went to see it, me and my buddy Michael went and grabbed some dinner, and we were pumped. We kept saying, “So excited to see this movie, it’s gonna be great.” Are you getting the picture here? I was hopeful. Excited. Looking forward to a killer experience.
Wow. What a heaping pile of lame-sauce let-down.
The general premise of the movie is this: A crew ventures out into space to search for alien life that some believe will answer questions regarding the origins of mankind. The crew hibernates during travel, and when they arrive to their destination, they enter the atmosphere of the secluded moon to begin their expedition. Almost immediately, without much effort at all, they find the home base of what’s left of an alien race, and what’s left are corpses and seemingly abandoned ruins.
While searching for the answers to what this means for humanity, the crew discovers that they are not alone in the abandoned catacombs, and the entire mission begins to fall apart when crew members begin to, unexpectedly, die horrible deaths. A couple are mauled by these tentacle things that are never explained, another one is infected with some disease that is also never explained, then one of the tentacle-victims comes back briefly reek havoc. Throw in a few lame twists, a couple CGI explosions, a perceived turning point that ends up being totally useless, and there you have it. That’s ‘Prometheus.’
Before I go on to the real reason why ‘Prometheus’ has issues, let me first say what the film does well.
Visually, ‘Prometheus’ stunning. Ridley Scott’s ability to create an other-worldly setting is a gift that he has not lost, taking the audience to a world that is both grandiose and eerie. The look of ‘Prometheus’ is really what initially makes it engrossing; we are placed right in the middle of this amazing spectacle of science fiction magic. Alas, if only the writing was as beautiful as the scenery, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
Again, Michael Fassbender gives a good performance as David, the polite android that ends up having an agenda of his own. The only thing that keeps him from being exceptional is the script, but the guy can’t help that so he still remains on a win streak in my book. Although the film wasn’t great, it was a nice career move to do it. It keeps him relevant and allows him to explore new territory. After all, who would turn down playing the robot in the new Ridley Scott Sci-Fi epic? Look what it did for Daryl Hannah’s career… Yikes.
Now, let the ripping begin.
The most glaring problem with ‘Prometheus’ is the story, which is completing void of life or brilliance. When the movie begins, we are introduced with a handful of questions, and from this point on, it goes nowhere. Sure, a lot of events take place, but the audience is no more fulfilled at the end of the movie than they are at the beginning. This goes against the grain of true story-telling, that the characters go through conflict to arrive at a certain place, goal, or realization at the end. We walk out of the theater still pondering the obvious holes in the plot that were never truly answered, hoping there is something after the credits that could explain what the script had left out. At the end of it all, I felt as lost and abandoned as the crew floating through space. And imagine my surprise when I found out that ‘Prometheus’ was co-written by Damon Lindelof, one of the creators of ‘Lost’. Did this guy get a PhD. in making us feel confused and unsatisfied?
The other point that pushed me away from liking this movie was the manner in which it was trying to entertaining the audience. Instead of striving for authentic thrills and action, the director decided to make the tragic mistake of making the most exciting moments in the film be nothing more than gross-out shots of alien brains, space slugs, and loss of limb. ‘Prometheus’ isn’t trying to entertain it’s audience as much is it is trying to nauseate them, and it made me sick to me stomach in more ways than one. More than anything, I found myself annoyed that the writers reduced themselves to using old horror film gimmicks to garner a response. Specifically, there is a sequence in which our heroine, played by Noomi Rapace, becomes *SPOILER* inpregnated with an alien fetus and must use a surgical machine to pluck it out of her body. I felt like we saw this in ‘Alien’ over 30 years ago. Perhaps the writers forgot, but I know I didn’t.
Noomi Rapace is so flat in this movie, I feel like someone should check for a pulse. So far, I have not been impressed by the Swedish phenom. Granted, I’ve only seen her in this and ‘Sherlock Holmes’, but she was so forgettable in both movies. And to think of the outrage that some had in response to Rooney Mara’s portrayal of Lisbeth Salander (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), that it paled in comparison to Rapace’s rendition. Give me Rooney any day of the week, twice on Sunday, because Noomi is simply a fad that will eventually fade away.
And my final beef with ‘Prometheus’ is this; to begin a film with asking questions about the origins of man, then it ends by saying our creators are nothing but vicious alien giants, is weak. It’s like meeting a girl at the party that doesn’t have anything nice to say about their parents; it just makes you really unattractive.
Okay, now that I got that out of my system, let me take a step back and close with this thought.
Ridley Scott has, yet again, come up short with ‘Prometheus.’ Has anyone looked at this guy’s filmography in the past 10 years? He has really been struggling to make a great movie since ‘Gladiator’ with only a few bright spots here and there. Really, I think I expected too much out of ‘Prometheus,’ and in a way I think we all did.
It was never going to be ‘Alien’ and it was never going to be ‘Blade Runner.’ It tough to strike gold twice in the same place. Three times? It’s nearly impossible.
My Note: So far, Prometheus is the biggest let-down of the year. On the bright side, it’s only June.
My Grade: D