Prometheus (6/10/12) &(10/26/12)

Movie One Hundred Forty Two and Two Hundred and Forty One

Thinking they have found a link to the creation of mankind, a team led by two scientists goes off in search of life in Prometheus.

*I will try to be spoiler free but be warned*

When a team of scientists, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Dr. Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover a series of orbs in the same pattern across thousands of years and several continents. Thinking this is not a coincidence, they set out to the star system that matches the glyphs on a trip to meet our Engineers funded by Weyland Corporation (Weyland played by Guy Pearce). Aboard the ship, dubbed Prometheus, we meet the crew including android David (Michael Fassbender). The team investigates a set of ruins and comes face to face with the remains of the Engineers and discover life.

By now, everyone who has seen Prometheus is firmly entrenched in their opinion of the film, whether they loved it or were disappointed. After coming out of the theater on opening weekend I was unsure how I felt about Prometheus. There were parts I loved, there were parts I thought were a bit silly, but one thing was certain: I had a million questions. Perhaps that is the film’s biggest flaw, one that can be attributed to writer Damon Lindelof. While I certainly didn’t expect answers to the creation of man, I did expect *something*.

I think perhaps some of the disappointment was because Prometheus is a precursor to the Alien series and people wanted that origin story. What we got ended up being the precursor to life as we know it so I think it makes sense for a film not to give us all the answers we seek and I can appreciate that it would create more questions for us in the process. Having said that, I do hope Prometheus is its own series of films because otherwise it will have left me entirely unfulfilled. Regardless of funky plotlines, the special effects are simply amazing. The world created here is much different than Alien but it feels familiar enough.

If I had to criticize Prometheus for just one thing it would be the characters. While the actors themselves are all splendid, especially Rapace, the supporting cast is stereotypical or just barely there. I never got a chance to care for any of them (except Shaw) almost to the point of frustration that the film tries to make us care. Perhaps Lindelof needs the runway of a TV series to really take flight and get his ideas across?

As a standalone film, Prometheus struggles to be a classic. It has moments of awesomeness and it also has sci-fi pitfalls and mediocrity. When viewed along the lines as an Alien prequel, it struggles as well but for different reasons. This is not a film like Alien, it is much different. I struggled coming up with a rating for Prometheus because the more I thought about it, and I thought about it a LOT, the more I waffled on it. At times I would give it a 3/5 and other times, even hours later, I would say it’s a 5/5 movie.

In the end, I give it 4 crying Davids out of 5.

[Update]

I watched Prometheus again on blu-ray and was blown away by the presentation. As far as blu-rays go, it’s one of the nicest ones ever produced from what I’ve seen. I have yet to go through all the special features, but the few I watched were very eye-opening so I look forward to seeing what else is in store. After a second viewing, I am less inclined to believe that Prometheus has any glaring plot holes; yes, there are parts with all too convenient writing, and other parts are quite nebulous but that is fiction, people.

Prometheus should not be a movie that explains everything, especially when the point is the creation of life itself. Too much explanation would make for a fumbling movie and Prometheus deftly skirts these issues at times and if it seems like it is tackling something head-on, it drops off just short of giving everything away.Obviously many folks saw this as poor writing and I can certainly see how it’s frustrating to expect answers and not get them. I see it as a puzzle and the movie lays out most of the edge pieces for us but leaves many pieces with the face side down for us to flip over ourselves, or at least theorize what piece goes where.

I appreciated Prometheus much more after a second viewing and I urge the people that doubted it to view it again. The 3D blu-ray package is worth buying for the special features alone, even if you don’t own a 3D player/TV because there is a full disc in this version not found on the regular blu-ray set. Will the special features answer everything? Not likely – but as I said, they shouldn’t answer everything.

Links:

Rotten Tomatoes

IMDB

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59 responses to “Prometheus (6/10/12) &(10/26/12)

    • Haha, thanks!
      I think this movie, more than anything else, is a victim of the complete bombardment of advertising before the film hit. Not only did it push people’s expectations too high but it created a world (no pun intended) that the film just didn’t satisfy.

  1. I’m with you, Andy, this is a tough one to take a firm stance on.

    It has a LOT going for it, most notably its incredible production values and visual effects. And at times the story is really really ambitious, and that should be appluaded.

    But youre right to point out that all the questions it raises arent necessarily good ones, and there’s also character issues, as you also note.

    I think a 4/5 sounds about right to me. 😀

    Nice review, I concur!

    • Thank you, good sir!
      Honestly, I have been dreading writing this one since I saw it 2 weeks ago. It’s the main reason I’m so far behind in my writing. Now that it’s done I’m just relieved!

  2. 4 is too high. I gave it 3 in my review. This was supposed to be an Alien prequel, but it appears they went too far back. It just didn’t tie in the way it should have.

    Great review and I’m glad to see someone else struggling with it as well.

    • After seeing it I think part of the reason the marketing totally backed off the Alien thing was because the film doesn’t really provide concrete info for Alien even if it was meant to. That’s one of the reasons I really think there will be a Prometheus trilogy that hopefully connects the dots in a more meaningful way.

      • There’s a longer version supposed to come out when it hits DVD. I hope that clears up some of the confusion. I know big chunks were cut out in spots.

        • Yeah, I’m not sure an extra ~30 minutes will change too much but I’m hopeful it will at least flesh out the characters a bit more. I’m probably going to buy the Blu-Ray regardless, though.

          • Pure rental for me. I wanted to own this one until I saw it. I think one more viewing is all I need.

    • Prometheus was not supposed to be an Alien prequel, as Ridley Scott stated long before its release. He was originally working on an Alien prequel, but made Prometheus instead.

      • I have heard both sides of the “is it or isn’t it a prequel” debate. Scott could have not wanted to spill the beans that he was looking at a sequel, he may not have wanted to get hopes up about tying both films wholly together…I don’t know. Scott may have also seen Prometheus as a perfect tie-in to what he had planned for the Alien prequel, we’ll really never know (unless he talks about this point on the Blu-Ray).

  3. I’d give it 5/5. Loved it, as you know. Like you, I had to take time with my review so that I didn’t give away spoilers. This is my #1 of 2012, but that’s without having seen some of the most acclaimed films: Coriolanus, Haywire, Moonrise Kingdom — I’ll try to see all of those at some point. Hopefully this summer for Haywire and within the next few months for Moonrise Kingdom. Not sure about Coriolanus. ANYWAYY…great review.

      • True! I have to rewatch Batman Begins and The Dark Knight to get ready for that one. Also can’t forget The Amazing Spider-Man or Les Misérables! (And The Great Gatsby, but I don’t have high expectations for that one any longer, due to its weird trailer…)

  4. My opinion is similar to yours. I really can’t come up with a solid rating for it. I liked Scott’s direction and Michael Fassbender’s character, but felt Rapace’s character was too two dimensional. I liked many parts of it, but disliked others. Good review.

  5. i forgot to mention the awful make-up job on the old guy. c’mon, hollywood. don’t you have any elderly actors you could have wheeled out? gary marshall’s looking pretty old, isn’t he? they could have saved a lot of money on all that silly putty that was plastered all over that guy’s face. and his physical movements were not at all convincing. you could see he was an average guy trying to move as if he were old.

    • Yeah, I laughed out loud when he came on screen. I read somewhere that Guy Pearce was used because they wanted to have some scene(s) with Weyland as a younger man and by the time those scenes got axed, Pearce was already cast. Still seems incredibly silly to me.

  6. I’m still completely obsessed with this film…several weeks after seeing it. I can see why some people wouldn’t like it though.

  7. Great review. In the end, its a film that looks great, but is filled with plot holes. I would have loved for the film to tell more of Dave’s story – Fassbender is great – I still can’t work out why he did what he did when his mission was something completely different. (trying to avoid spoilers!)

    • David’s entire character confuses me, but in a good way. His childlike wonder upon entering the structure makes me wonder if he ended up acting on his own rather than by his instructions. He seems like he is curious about things and is simply testing what will happen. I can’t be sure, though.

  8. Good review Andy. I thought that this film looked beautiful and had some real moments of tension and suspense, but they were very far from each other and the story just never fully lifted off for me. Also, the characters weren’t people that I could really care about either, with the exception of David who seemed like a character that was going to do something extraordinary in the end, but instead, ehhh…I won’t say.

    • I loved David but his intentions are still almost totally unclear to me. At first I assumed he was acting on some sort of direct orders from Weyland but then it seems like he was acting like a curious child.

      Upon a rewatch I will be following his character very closely to see if I can understand more.

      I totally agree about the other characters, though.

  9. I was really quite harsh with my review and, to be honest, it probably wasn’t as bad as i made out. I just felt Scott couldn’t decide whether to make it an Alien prequel or not and shoehorned some of the stuff in there to get people to watch it. I’m hoping any subsequent films flesh out the ideas introduced in this one, which will hopefully allow people to look upon it a little more favourably. Nice review!

    • Thanks! I didn’t find your review to be overly harsh but I think that history will either be much kinder to this film or it will be shunned. There seems to be a very polarizing take on the whole thing. Of course, this also hinges on the possibility of more films in the series that may or may not connect the dots to the Alien series in less flimsy ways…

    • I like finding posters that aren’t the same posters you see everywhere. I would agree that it’s the smartest blockbuster but given the films I’ve seen for the summer so far, it’s not much of a bragging point.

  10. I am sticking to my guns and saying this movie has almost nothing to do with being an Alien prequel and is everything to do with advancing the, oh, I wouldn’t want to use the big “C” word, but let’s just say “alternate” theory that humans are descended from alien experiments, as described best in the Area 51 series of books, as described in my review of this movie. Anyone who somehow got the misleading idea this was an Alien prequel would rightly be disappointed, but it’s so much more, and so much better for it, I feel.

    • Interesting point. I have not read those books but I was reading that post on your blog so I’m curious about them. If there are more movies in this Prometheus series, it will be interesting to see if they try to push more info “Alien prequel” territory or continue to skirt it.

      • That will be interesting to follow indeed. It wouldn’t be impossible to do both, tying in the Alien story as a subplot/tangent to the larger picture. In fact, that wouldn’t surprise me at all, but whether or not we’ll ever see these films or just continue to dream of them remains to be seen!

        • I sincerely hope we aren’t just dreaming here and everyone involved sees the benefit (is it too hyperbolic to say “need”?) for a Prometheus trilogy. I still find myself thinking about the happenings in Prometheus so I can genuinely say I’m looking forward to the Blu-Ray release.

  11. Great review. I agree: there were things to love, things to hate, the characters
    were underdeveloped while the actors who portrayed them were stellar. It’s a beautiful film, though (visually, I mean).

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  13. These days I see very few films in the theater, but this was one I made it a point to catch, and although I liked it more wholeheartedly than you did, I agree that it had too many characters and, perhaps, too many unanswered questions. The former problem just demonstrates how good the original ALIEN is, with a crew about half the size that you got to know about twice as well. But I’ve always prized the fact that the films in the ALIEN series (and I’m speaking of the actual tetralogy–don’t know if “quadrilogy” is really a word–without the AVP knockoffs) are so different from one another, and while this film’s ALIEN patrimony is debatable, they succeeded in that respect here as well, even with the original director. My understanding is that they wanted to hedge their bets on calling it an ALIEN prequel so that they could, in effect, have their cake and eat it too by making sequels to PROMETHEUS while not being bound (ha ha) to the original mythology. Given the points of comparison, it seems ludicrous NOT to think of PROMETHEUS as at least some kind of prequel, but if they’re hoping to launch a new series as well, I’ve begun referring to this film as a “preboot.” In the final analysis, I think it’s a mistake to get too bogged down in “is it or isn’t it?” semantics and remind ourselves, as I constantly did while I was watching the film, of all the ways in which it could have gone wrong but didn’t. And my tolerance for those unanswered questions is higher if they may be explored in one or more sequels. Didn’t know about the longer version coming on DVD.

    • When I went into the theater I had the open view to NOT view Prometheus as an Alien prequel but I kept my eyes open for ties to that series. My tolerance for ambiguity and unanswered questions is also higher with the hope there are sequels. I also really like the term “preboot”.

      • Thanks! I came up with “preboot” myself, although I dare say others might have done the same; haven’t seen it used elsewhere yet. The precedent that immediately springs to mind is the recent STAR TREK movie. Since it shows the younger days of Kirk et al., it’s a kinda-sorta prequel, yet they stipulated it was non-canonical with the original series, so that they didn’t have to adhere to its mythology, which makes it a kinda-sorta reboot, too, hence “preboot.”

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  16. That’s a very good review, Andy, because it properly mirrors your uncertainty about ‘Prometheus’ in the same way I’m seeing from a lot of other folk who’ve watched it, myself included. At the moment I’m sticking to 3.5 out of 5, at least until I’ve seen the blu-ray. The worrying thing is, I went back to see it a second time and I didn’t get anything more from the experience – I absorbed the visuals a bit better, that’s all.

    Like you, I also went in fully conditioned to seeing a new Sci-Fi film from Scott, not necessarily an ‘Alien’ prequel. I think that helped. The lightly sketched characters didn’t bother me too much (‘Alien’ did the same thing) but yeh, I think a couple of them could’ve done with a little more back story. On the whole, it’s not a problem. As you say, ‘Prometheus’ suffered from the expectation more than anything. I hope the story branches out & gets further away from ‘Alien’, not closer. They can tie it into ‘Alien’ at the end but I think ‘Prometheus’ can go its own way till then.

    That poster is top; it’s got something of ‘Metropolis’ about it…

    • Thanks much, glad you agree! It is a bit troubling about not getting more out of it a second time through, though. I’m hoping the Blu-Ray expands on enough of it to flesh some things out but I don’t necessarily think it will make a hugely better experience.
      I’d be fine with Prometheus becoming its own series that just happens to be in the same world as Alien with cursory events. The more they try to connect the two, the more it will likely stir the preconceptions of fans.

      I searched long and hard for a quality poster and I’m so glad I came across that one. I wasn’t thinking Metropolis beforehand but now that you mention it…

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  22. Reblogged this on HORROR BOOM and commented:
    I love Andy’s reviews, and Netflix is finally coughing up Prometheus to me tomorrow. Of the reviews I’ve read, I noticed the one (and many times the single) criticism of the film is the character’s frustrating decision-making. Several friends of mine agree that it improves on repeated viewings. For me, that’s a big positive. Enjoy these two thoughtful looks at Prometheus from Andy!

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