Sunday, July 01, 2012


Finally after weeks and weeks I got a chance to go and see the not-Prequel prequel to the Alien series directed by Sir Ridley Scott. My buddy Cody saw it opening weekend and has been dying a little every week that went by that I hadn't seen it because he was deeply frustrated by it. Having seen it myself I would have to concur. Let's just get started cause this is going to take some time.

Prometheus is the story of a group of scientists sent on a deep space expedition to discover the origins of mankind that were depicted on cave walls in Scotland thousands of years previously. The year is 2089 and archeologists, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her husband Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) make the discovery of a lifetime as they make preparations to travel to the planet where the first humanoids decided to concoct us out of the goo. The married couple is joined by a crew on the spaceship Prometheus. The Captain is a good ole' boy, Janek (Idris Elba). The cold hearted Corporate shill, Vickers (Charlize Theron), a bunch of geologists and biologists and a couple of soldiers and the most important character in the story, the android David (Michael Fassbender).

So that's basically the premise and the characters go through a series of trials to see the plot through, the only problem through all the breathtaking scenery and fantastic acting is at times a nonsensical script with bits of brilliance as well as mind numbingly dumb decisions by so-called scientists. The first hour is pretty great mostly cause it's all Fassbender and you get a sense about David and what makes him tick. He definitely has an agenda throughout the film but it's not always clear exactly whose agenda he is following. David wakes the crew from the cryo-sleep and the ship eventually lands on the strange planet. With the help of the scientists they locate the origin of the pictures on the cave walls. The married couple are so excited they don't take the Captain's advice about waiting till morning to explore they want to get the fuck out there to see where we all came from. For scientists they are not very cautious, which is in my mind, problem number 1. Anyway, they get to the room that looks pretty similar to the room in Alien where all the horrid nightmares of Aliens popping out of your body come true. Everything, understandably, is dead and Charlie and Lizzie are sad. Apparently Charlie wanted to have a chat with his creators and now that they are all dead he decides to drown his sorrow with the bottle. What kind of intelligent scientist is this guy? Once they are inside the structure on the planet he does a little scan and it tells him that the air is breathable, so he just takes his helmet off despite the objections from pretty much everybody. This guy really likes to take a lot of unnecessary risk. So his wife takes some samples and discovers that the creatures are DNA matches for humans and he doesn't seem to give a shit he's still disappointed that they are all dead. Again, what kind of scientist is this guy? I wanted to like this guy I really did but he did so many illogical things for a scientist that he ended up just pissing me off half the time. His motivations for pretty much everything he does are all over the place which unfortunately have to hit back at the writer of this thing and I'm squarely putting it on writer Damon Lindelof's shoulders.

Lizzie is just as bad at times and I also thought of all of the actors that were miscast it was Noomi Rapace, I'm not sure what Hollywood likes about her so much but so far I haven't been that impressed. She was annoying in Sherlock Holmes 2 and she's annoying in this one. I'll admit I have never seen her Girl with a Dragon Tattoo series, maybe she's better in films overseas but she just seems so out of place here especially when she's in scenes with Fassbender, he just runs circles around her. She isn't the only one however who tend to do annoying things either to serve the plot or for no particular reason at all. There are two scientists in particular who initially seem to be the most with it intelligence-wise when the team reaches the before mentioned nightmare room. Everyone else thinks it's a cool place to hang out but these guys are rightfully creeped out by it and when the suggestion comes up to leave and head back to the ship they are the first to say, good god yes! Anyway so for some inexplicable reason everyone else makes it back to the ship and these guys are wandering around in these vast tunnels and they are now stranded there until morning. By the way one of these guys is a geologist and when they first got there was tasked with mapping the damn caves in the first place. How the hell did he get so lost? They decide to go back to the room that creeped them out initially and not only hang out there but camp out for the night. So now the Biologist who seems skeptical of everything starts treating any life form they come upon as a cute little puppy that is until it does something horrifying like try to worm it's way into his suit. It's characterization like this that is maddening because it doesn't seem to serve any damn purpose except to say holy shit here is where some bad stuff is going down but please don't pay attention to the writer behind the curtain.
These kinds of character flaws are peppered throughout the film and the further down the rabbit hole we go the worse these flaws seem to get. Which brings me to the founder of the expedition the mysterious and very old Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) who sort of shows up near the end, and like his companions, makes some very odd decisions. One point I wanted to speak about why was Guy Pearce chosen for this role? I mean they went through all of this trouble to make him old and then nothing really seems to come of it. We don't ever see young Guy Pearce in the movie so I don't quite understand why they couldn't have just gotten an actually old actor like James Cromwell or somebody. He's a great actor who is old and could play this role ably. Anyway it was weird and what he does in the movie is weird but I won't give that away.
So in conclusion, was this a total shitshow? The answer is no but it wasn't very good either. I truly wanted to love this movie and was denied at every turn. I think it's even worse when you realize how good it could and should have been. They answer all of these questions you had from Alien and it gets into the origin of the Aliens and the space jockey but by the time they tell it I'm too pissed off at the direction this thing went to really care about these revelations. The direction from Ridley Scott was fantastic as was the the acting. In the end it all comes back to the script and those characters and they just didn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense. Other than David the only other character I really enjoyed was Janek and they gave him almost nothing to do in the movie. If it were someone other then Elba he would have disappeared in the film as another expendable stock character. I also wanted to like Charlize's character but it took too long for her to come around and frankly she has one of the worst, um, end scenes of any character in recent memory. Just terrible. So I recommend you see the movie because there is so much to talk about, the only thing is there isn't that much positive stuff to talk about. It brings up some fanciful ideas and constructs but in the end renders it all pointless and that is almost unforgivable. I had heard that they wanted to turn these into a series of movies and I would have to say, I'm not sure if that's such a good idea. Give Damon Lindelof an editor and don't let him out of the room until he can construct characters in a believable way not just to serve the plot. There are good ideas here honestly they just get muddled and lost in a script that felt rushed and incomplete. Maybe this new series of Alien stories can be salvaged, I want to believe it can but Prometheus is kind of a bad start.
Grade: 2 and half Buckets

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