Let’s get one thing straight; Prometheus is a fucking cool looking ship.
As is the film. I had intended on making some comparisons between Prometheus and Alien but it’s pointless because Prometheus really isn’t an Alien film. It’s not even a prequel. Saying more than that would ruin it for those yet to see it.
Prometheus. Is. Not. An. Alien. Film.
No really. Even though the commercials have been cut to seem that way and had the Alien soundtrack laid over them. The result is something really disappointing. Not because it’s a bad film but because I felt mislead and was waiting for all hell to break lose and it never really did.
Don’t get me wrong, the film for the first two-thirds has great pace. As the world was explored we learn more about the characters. Their flaws and their motives. There’s a little revelation in there concerning Charlize (Yummy) Theron’s character that when you scratch beneath the surface is really quite messed up. Also I’m not spoiling anything when I say David, the robot, is a wanker. Unfortunately it loses its way and it feels like either they changed writers or they realised that they were running out of time and had to cram everything into the last 40-50 minutes. I can see a super mega special edition directors cut out that’s a solid three, to three and a half, hours long that stretches it all out. Although the last 20 second is toss. I mean really toss. As in should be cut from the film set on fire, the ash fed to a dog, the dog killed, thrown in to a swamp, the swamp tarmacked over and a multi-storey car park built over it. And then the car park bombed from space.
Prometheus is about where we fit in the universe. It tackles the question of where we came from and what is God. It’s a movie of exploration gone awry. The premise is that a series of ancient ruins separated by time and geography all show the same commonalities in their paintings/carvings etc. and some plucky scientists conclude that it’s a map to the cradle of life. I’ve concluded that the writers were so dazzled by all the beautiful people walking about that they failed to notice the pretty fucking huge hole in that plot considering everything goes extremely tits up.
That said, it’s a beautiful film in every way. The sets are incredible, the world is fantastically realised and special effects are stunning but in wonderfully understated ways at time. It doesn’t scream look at me, it gets your attention because it deserves it. Because Ridley Scott is an artist. Not in the same way that Justine Bieber claims he’s an artist but he’s an honest to God artist. Every set was constructed rather than actors standing in a green room. It makes the film feel real. The ‘Engineers’ ship felt as tangible as the living room I’m currently sat in. Which is awesome and more than a few directors could benefit from taking a leaf out of his book. It just adds to the sense of scale, drama and inevitable peril.
As I say, Prometheus isn’t an Alien prequel. It’s been billed as such but it just isn’t. It’s back story. It’s a side bar. It’s a prequel to the prequel that they’re inevitably going to make now as Prometheus introduces a whole new story around the Engineers (Space Jockeys) and a fleet of craft scattered across our part of space.
It’s just such a shame the film loses its way towards the end as nothing is explained, the climax is predictable (and shown on all the trailers) and nothing really feels resolved. What critters are in the film aren’t explained and at times feel shoe horned in so it would be a scary film rather than a road trip in space.
It feels too much like the start of a franchise rather than a complete film which made me feel a bit cheated. And seeing as I was already feeling mislead I feel like the proverbial easy lay after a glass of Zinfandel and a bag of peanuts. It’s ever so slightly like Ridley Scott had the vague idea and turned it over to the writers without having the foggiest idea of how it would end or, really, what the point of the film was.
That’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable. It was still a great to watch with some truly impressive scenes and superb acting across the board. With the exception of the chunky part-time sales assistant from Shaun of the Dead. He couldn’t decide what his accent was and at times just outright forgot to affect it. Although the characters making up the exploration team are woefully underused and the same effect could have been achieved with half that number as Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender get so much screen time. And it probably would have made for a far more atmospheric film.
Prometheus is a good watch. It does grip you and there’s still plenty of unpleasant deaths and the odd bit of blood splashing about to keep the die hards happy. But for God sake don’t got to see it thinking you’ll be watching an Alien prequel, it isn’t. It just has the vaguest link to it. Which isn’t bad, but it isn’t necessarily good either.