Movie Review: Prometheus

Like most major science fiction releases, Prometheus has stirred up some debate.  The trailers were awe-inspiring, and gave us all hope that Ridley Scott had created some new deep space magic on the big screen.  But reviews started to pour in, many of which pointed to the contrary.  Now that I’ve put my butt in the theater seat and watched the actual film, did I consider it brilliant?  Did I consider it terrible?  Should I have eaten that leftover slice of Giordano’s deep dish before I went into the theater?  Read on to find out!

To start with praise for the film, I thought it was visually PHENOMENAL.  I loved the way that it was shot.  I loved all the art direction and costume design.  I thought the special effects were awesome.  I was really fascinated by all the cool scientific gizmos used in the film.  The floating balls that scanned the structural layout of the temple were particularly cool.

I saw it on IMAX 3D, and it looked fucking great.  And the 3D was actually cool for a change.  So I wouldn’t recommend anything less than IMAX 3D.  And I’m saying that despite the fact that tickets for my girlfriend and I cost $29 for a 2:30 pm showing!

The cast was adequate.  However, several characters were left rather thin.  Especially Charlize Theron’s character.  Without going into spoiler territory, were you affected *at all* by her big reveal?  I sure wasn’t.  It was not only one of the least impactful “twists” I’ve ever seen, but also the way they revealed it was on the level of daytime soap opera dialogue.

IMPORTANT QUESTION (before I forget): Was it just me, or did anyone else think that Weyland (played by Guy Pierce), had *THE WORST* old man aging make-up you’d ever expect to see in a film like this?  It looked awful.  It was distracting.  At some point, when you realize the makeup looks that comically bad, why don’t you just cast an older actor to play the part?  I’ve read that they originally had a scene with young Weyland that got cut from the final film, and that’s why they used Guy Pierce.  But I think this make-up was shitty enough to warrant millions of dollars of re-shoots with an actor who was actually old.  That was a little embarrassing to have such a bad piece of visual technology farting around among the otherwise beautiful elements of the film.

Watching the David promotional material before seeing the film did wonders for characterization before going into it.  I don’t know how that could have fit into the beginning of the film’s pacing, but it did nothing but enrich the David character, which I thought was the most interesting character in the entire film.  And he was played masterfully by The Fassbender.  If you haven’t seen the film yet, or the promotional material, watch this before you go see it:

They could have played that before the film actually starts, as sort of an intro film.  Like during the trailers or something.  That would have been cool…

I don’t really want to turn this into a spoiler review, but my biggest criticisms are impossible to say without ruining plot points for those who haven’t seen it.  As some of the aspects of this film were fairly nonsensical, random, unbelievable, or just kind of dumb.  If you go step by step the reproductive process of how to make the Alien as we all know it, it’s kind of illogically accidental.  And that’s coupled with the fact that they use imagery earlier in the film to indicate that this exact chain of peculiar reproduction has happened before.  I don’t know…  Seems unlikely!  :/

That’s not the only nonsensical aspect I saw, as it’s kind of littered with odd little flaws and behaviors.

The film requires a lot of reading into and interpreting, kind of like Tree of Life, for it be able to an actual coherent work.  Except Tree of Life was boring, and at least this one had spaceships and shit.  If you were to completely ignore all the logic flaws of Prometheus, and simply enjoy it on the surface level of spaceships and alien monsters, I imagine it’s a pretty fun ride.  If you look into all the potential Christian symbolism and read the film in between its loosely interpretive lines, I’m sure it’s god damn brilliant to you.  However, if you do what I did, and enjoyed the film’s many action and suspense sequences while still noting that the science and logic and character behaviors don’t entirely make sense, then it just sort of comes out as “yeah, that was pretty cool, I guess.”

But overall I liked the film.  I just didn’t love it.  I feel like it asks a dozen questions and doesn’t even attempt to answer one of them.  But from a suspense standpoint, I thought many sequences were brilliant.  The surgery scene was incredible.  The events leading up to that scene were kind of lame, but the scene itself was great sci-fi/horror bliss.  On a very raw level, Prometheus is fucking awesome.  Sadly, that’s not the only level I was looking at for this particular film.

In fact, if I think about it without all the hype build into it, Prometheus is pretty good.  With the hype machine billing it as a sci-fi masterpiece… it’s a disappointment.  On a potentially random, but kind of similar comparison level, I liked Danny Boyle’s 2007 “scientific crew on a spaceship” film Sunshine way more than I liked Prometheus.

I just looked at Ridley Scott’s filmography, and I’m realizing that I don’t even like the guy all that much.  I’ve never been a Blade Runner fan (it’s OK, but vastly overrated), so his sci-fi cred isn’t godlike to me.  Alien is a masterpiece, and Gladiator is fun as hell, but I’m noticing that I don’t really care for *most* of Ridley Scott’s career.  So if I look at it that way, Prometheus is actually a bright spot on his resume (for me).  Because I actually liked the engaging excitement of Prometheus, despite it being a little lackluster in the story/logic department.  It has more stimulation than actual substance.

So to answer the questions from the first paragraph:

Brilliant?  No.

Terrible?  No.

Giordano’s?  Gave me slight indigestion.

7.5 out of 10

4 thoughts on “Movie Review: Prometheus

    • scottodactyl says:

      I happened to like its style over substance approach to a degree, kind of like the same way I liked Drive. Only Drive pushed the concept to the perfect degree. And was more entertaining overall.

  1. dinosaurboner says:

    Also when Charlize Theron’s character said the line that was the big “shocker” I almost groaned. The whole time in my head I was just thinking,”please don’t say it, please don’t say it.” BY THAT POINT IN THE MOVIE EVERYONE KNOWS THE SECRET YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO SAY ANYTHING UGGGGGHHH. JUST LET THE DUMMIES FLOUNDER AND ASK THEIR FRIENDS AFTER THE MOVIE FUWK

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