Huh, it’s strange to be writing about something fairly new for a change. I’ve been so terribly bogged down with my dissertation and other stuff for the past academic year, that my blog contributions suffered. Well, died down actually. But here we go with Prometheus! I guess it goes without saying at this point, I’d assume, that there will be spoilers so heed the warning.
I’m not a massive science-fiction buff, as in I don’t actively follow and watch everything sci-fi though I do tend to look into the most interesting ones and classics of course. And at the very beginning I’m going to open a metaphorical can of worms by saying, that against all odds, I quite enjoyed this movie. I can already hear the torches lighting up and people screaming “heretic, burn the heretic!”, but I’d advise you to have a nice big cup of sit-and-quiet-the-fuck-down, before you actually read this review and what I have to say.
First off, I don’t like horror movies in general (Why do I find myself saying “I don’t really like this and that” quite often, even though I think I’m open-minded…), though I like classics like The Shining, which I think is my favourite horror movie. So just by saying that, I predispose my utter lack of expertise on the topic. Regardless of which, I know enough of said genre and seen enough of them that I’m aware horror movies, arguably, wouldn’t exist as a genre without stupid characters. So the less said of the inherent stupidity of the characters in this movie, the better. I do not take enjoyment of beating a dead, burned and face-hugged horse. That died of dissing logic. The only refreshing exception to this rule, albeit only occasionally, is Michael Fassbender as the obligatory android of Alien movies (There is even an alphabetical order to them – Ash, Bishop, Call, David). David’s character is so flabbergastingly volatile that it would seem to be an impossible task to portray him, which Fassbender pulls off exceptionally well. He is actually the only character you should, and probably will, care for in the movie, nevermind how inconsistent his motives are. Fassbender is simply captivating in his performance as the humanely inhuman, child-likely innocent and arrogant self-aware manufactured lifeform; it is no wonder Fassbender’s star is shining ever more brightly as of late. And he is charming in real life as well, I can tell you.
Now then, I already covered stupid characters, what next? Oh, right. The plot is quite inconsistent with some of the issues it raises itself, and there are some continuity problems with the original Alien, which is probably the main reason for the wrath of the hardcore fans. But to be fair, it has been 33 years since the original movie, can you seriously expect Ridley Scott and the pens behind the script, Jon Spaiths and Damon Lindelof of Lost-fame (Mhe, I had to chuckle at that, honestly), the two of whom were approximately knee-height back when the movie first came out, to be able to nail down all the details just right? I mean, it’s not like human kind will run out of sensibility if fan boys did use some of it every now-and-then, is it? Just watch the damn thing and judge it on its own merits. On which it faulters a bit as well, unfortunately. But still, point made!
What really made Prometheus a good film for me was two things, technology and the ideas behind it. First off, the technology: the film looks bloody amazing! Scott, renowned for his affection towards technology, has fully embraced the 3D technology we have now. He’s gone so bananas for the tech that he even said he will never shoot another movie non-3D anymore. Now THAT is dedication. Though I’d like to digress, that Scott is already 74 years old, so it’s not like he’s going to make a whole bunch of movies anyway, am I right? Regardless, the film has been shot very well, the frames look amazing and when there needs to be suspense, Prometheus delivers. This movie is at its best viewed from the big screen, it will not be as impressive on a TV, which is unfortunate.
The other thing that sold the movie for me is the ideology and mythology behind the movie. Despite Prometheus carries the inheritance of the Alien movies (let’s just pretend AvP never happened, shall we?), it nevertheless predates chronologically the quadrilogy by a few centuries at least. It is interesting to go back in time, figuratively, and see just how exactly the Alien, or Xenomorph as it is affectionately named, came to be. It was obvious from day one, no matter how hard Scott tried denying it, that Prometheus is in essence an Alien prequel. Yes, we know it does not directly precede the events of the first movie, but it is set in the same universe, and it depicts the birth of the proto-Alien “Deacon” as Ridley likes to call it, so forget about the two centuries in-between, it is the evolutionary forefather of the Alien, thus making it an Alien prequel.
Also, as a spiritual (not the same as religious, you nitwit) individual, I was fascinated by the way the movie approaches the questions most people ponder at some point or the other in their lives: “Why are we here,” “How did we get here,” or “who made us to be the way we are, or was it just coinsidence”. The engineers are semi-original creatures and handled pretty well in the movie, though in typical Lindelof-fashion all the questions, except for “who made us”, elude the viewer through the whole movie, setting the cornerstone for the inevitable sequel. I guess I’ll just have to scrape up enough money to make it to the cinema in a few years, now that I already have tickets for The Dark Knight Rises as well…
All in all, Prometheus is a shallower-than-meets-the-eye sci-fi which will surely provoke discussion between viewers and self-reflection all the same, at least I’d hope. A technically superb movie with less of the subject matter than one would want.