Among sci-fi fans and film buffs, Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’ prequel ‘Prometheus’ (and don’t believe any of Scott’s misdirection that the movie’s not really an ‘Alien’ prequel – it so is) has been one of the most eagerly anticipated movies of the year. Now that it’s finally opened, it has also turned out to be one of the most divisive films of the year among both critics and audiences. Even here, Luke raved about the movie in his review last week. I had a different reaction, to put it mildly. If you’ve seen it, what did you think of ‘Prometheus’? Vote in our poll. (Warning: This post will contain spoilers. And profanity.)
As some of you may have seen me post in the comments to Luke’s review after I saw the movie on Friday, I hated hated hated fucking HATED ‘Prometheus’. I think it’s the worst movie I’ve seen in years. It ruins the original ‘Alien’ the way that ‘The Phantom Menace’ ruins ‘Star Wars’. Just as I can no longer watch ‘Star Wars’ without seeing bratty Anakin behind Darth Vader’s mask, I will no longer be able to watch ‘Alien’ without thinking of the idiotic chain of events that supposedly led into its opening. The movie may be prettier to look at, but it’s even dumber than ‘Alien vs. Predator‘, and that’s quite an achievement.
I know that Luke and Aaron are planning to write up a Critical Mass debate about the film. I don’t want to take anything away from them, but I need to dash off some of my own thoughts about the movie while they’re still fresh in my mind.
First, there are some good things in the movie. The production design is amazing, and the photography is quite beautiful. It’s a visually striking film. (I was less impressed with the 3D, however. After a strong start, the movie more or less stops being 3D in the second half.) It also has a good cast, especially Michael Fassbender, who’s terrific as the android David. I loved all of the early scenes where David finds ways to fill his time on the empty ship as the crew sleeps. There are stretches of the movie where I felt that it was very well directed, and one of the better things that Ridley Scott has made in the last couple decades.
That’s about it. That’s the extent of my being nice to ‘Prometheus’. What didn’t I like about it? Hoo-boy, where to start? Here are just a few of my complaints:
I knew that I was in trouble with the opening scene, when the goofy-looking alien (that we’ll later learn was one of the so-called “Space Jockeys”) drinks a potion and sacrifices himself in order to spread his DNA onto the planet (which was presumably Earth, but may not be). Why did he sacrifice himself? That’s up for debate, and I suppose you can explain it away as some sort of ritual, but it seems like an awfully inefficient method for a scientist of some sort to start this chain reaction. This “Chariot of the Gods” theory that mankind was created by ancient aliens is pretty idiotic on its face, but I was still willing to set that aside and go with the movie at this point. (A following scene where one of the supporting characters asks “You’re just going to throw out 300 years of Darwinism?” is pretty hilarious, because that’s exactly what the movie does for this cockamamie bullshit.)
Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her boyfriend Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) are just about the worst scientists ever. This is evident even in their introductory scene, where Shaw finds the 35,000-year-old cave painting, and blithely knocks down a wall and invites everyone else to come trampling in. There’s no scientific method to anything they do. This happens again after they travel halfway across the universe to a planet (or moon) and discover the first signs of alien intelligence. They rush right into the structure, making a huge mess of things, and barely stop to so much as look at anything (much less document and preserve it) as they run around searching for aliens.
I also love the way that Shaw sees a drawing of a tall guy pointing at stars and immediately pieces together that this is an “invitation” for us to go there. The invitation aspect of the plot makes no sense at all. If the Space Jockeys created us as an experiment, why would they invite us to visit a moon where they’ve established (as Captain Janek somehow intuitively figures out later) a military installation for the construction of biological weapons?
Oh, and the humans arrive on this moon and find one empty building, so Shaw instantly concludes that the entire species is dead. Really? How about you maybe look around a little more, you dumbass?
All of the character motivations are illogical at best, when they even bother to have consistent motivations. Why did David infect Holloway? How did he know what would happen, and why did he want that to happen? How did David and Weyland seem to know exactly what they’d find and what would happen when they got to the moon? (And why the hell is Guy Pearce in terrible old-age makeup in this movie if we’re never going to see a young version of his character? Why didn’t Ridley Scott just cast an older actor? You’d think that a 75-year-old director might understand that older actors need work too.)
Vickers (Charlize Theron) talks about having a secret agenda, but she never really seems to have any agenda, beyond being a bitch. She brings her daddy to the moon to get better, but she doesn’t even like her daddy and actually wants him to die. She tells the scientists not to touch anything or make contact, so what was the point of going there at all? Why not stay on Earth and rig the mission to fail so that her daddy will die and she’ll take over the company? (Everyone else except David already thinks that he’s dead anyway. What would she have to lose?)
All of the supporting characters are idiots, especially the two morons who get trapped in the cave. Hey, bozos, here’s a tip: If you’re afraid of getting killed, maybe you shouldn’t try to pet the penis-looking alien monster thing that just popped out of the goo and hissed at you. Just a suggestion.
Captain Janek (Idris Elba) has no concern at all for the welfare of his crew. Even though his equipment is constantly monitoring his men’s progress and has warned him that there’s other life in the cave near them, he decides to ignore them entirely so that he can go get laid. Is this a ‘Friday the 13th’ sequel all of a sudden?
Everything single thing that happens in the movie after the Space Jockey wakes up is unbelievably, howlingly awful. The movie drops any pretense of having ideas at that point, much less answering any of the questions it tried to raise earlier. The plot makes no sense, and it’s stupid and cheesy as hell. The attempts to hammer home connections to the first ‘Alien’ movie are painfully forced. And the bit where the Space Jockey and the giant Facehugger wrestle… Oh my fucking god, this movie is terrible!! Ugh. It makes me sick.
You know what this movie really is? Do you remember Brian De Palma’s lame ‘Mission to Mars’? ‘Prometheus’ is an even crappier remake of ‘Mission to Mars’ built on the cosmetic features of the ‘Alien’ franchise. I can hardly imagine it being a worse piece of shit than it is. I wish I’d never seen it. In fact, I wish that I could build a time machine just so that I could go back in time and prevent Ridley Scott from making it.
Shame on Ridley Scott for directing this turkey. Shame on Damon Lindelof for writing it. Shame on all of the studio executives who saw a rough cut and didn’t immediately scuttle the entire project.
But maybe that’s just me. What are your thoughts on ‘Prometheus’?