Prometheus: Review

This film has been hyped up a lot with a lot of viral campaigns and promotions to get everyone excited about its release. When you do something like that, the film has to be fantastic to make the promotional efforts worthwhile. If a film is hyped too much, it makes your expectations very high and if the film doesn’t deliver, you get disappointed. The film has so far divided opinion- some people think it is amazing and absolutely incredible and others thought it was an over-hyped waste of time. I would say I am in the middle of this. I liked it and I enjoyed it but it is very flawed which made me disappointed. It didn’t live up to my expectations, I was hoping for much more and it wasn’t as fantastic as the hype made it out to be. And believe me when I say that I really wanted to it to be awesome.

The film follows the voyage to a distant moon in a ship called Prometheus. Scientists Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) and Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) had found ancient cave drawings from completely different civilisations around the world which all had the same star map. This lead them to believe that the drawings signalled where our makers, “engineers”, came from so they decide to check it out with funding from Weyland Corporation (lead by Guy Pearce). The mission is run by Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and the captain is Janek (Idris Elba). Michael Fassbender completes the main cast as humanoid David.

The crew arrive at their destination two years later near an alien temple. While down there, they find a deceased alien body with a severed head. They find urn-shaped pods sat on the floor near a statue of a human head, suggesting the Engineers do have a link with Earth. The pods start oozing black liquid but the crew have to leave as a storm is incoming. Shaw bags the dismembered head and David secretly bags one of the pods. Back on the ship, Shaw discovers the DNA of the Engineer is human. David decides to test what the black liquid does by deliberately infecting Holloway, who inadvertently infects Shaw through having sex.

Obviously, this is where shit goes down. Shaw discovers that she is pregnant, the crew start getting popped off by some worm-like creature or other infected crew members. I won’t spoil it all for you but you can safely predict what the ending will be like.

The trailer made it out to be a horror, much like Alien, but there only a few horror moments in it. What is surprising it that the creatures do not go around hunting the remaining crew. It is refreshing that most of the deaths come in other ways. The film is actually more talky and philosophical than I imagined so hard-core horror fans will be disappointed. It questions our origins and the existence of God and David keeps asking Shaw is she still believes in God now she has evidence that we were made by ancient aliens. David has his own problems with God because he knows he was created differently to humans and he resents this fact.

The film is prequel of-sorts to the Alien franchise. It takes place in the same realm as those movies but there is a different objective behind the mission and you don’t discover those particular Aliens. Director Ridley Scott had me under the impression that it had nothing to do with Alien at all, yet the final scene will leave you thinking that it it a prequel to Alien, just not an obvious one.

There are moments of genius such as a scene when Shaw performs as Cesarean on herself (that will stick with you!)but there are also scenes which we have definitely seen before. For example, the first death by black-liquid-creature is similar to other sci-fi horrors although the creature is different. Also, when others get infected you have the standard debate of “let them live/no, we have to kill them”, so there are few real original moments purely because there are so many parallels between Alien and Prometheus.

I thought the casting was great. Noomi Rapace was a very good choice for lead character and her English accent wasn’t bad. It is surprising to see Logan Marshall-Green in a blockbuster because the last time I saw him, he was playing Trey in TV show, “The O.C”, but his casting definitely worked. Michael Fassbender stood out to me the most because he wasn’t playing a human. The way he held himself, walked and spoke was incredible and you definitely bought the idea that he a robot. The interesting thing about David is that you assume he is a nice guy, because he was programmed to be like that, and because he can’t feel emotions, but he turns out to be quite devious and resentful. You realise that he gets angry when people refer to him as a robot because he wants to be like them. I think his characterisation was very well-written.

On the other hand, I thought the other characters weren’t developed very well at all. Shaw’s relationship with her father, and then with God, were mentioned as an attempt at a back story but it didn’t bother me because it wasn’t fleshed out enough. We knew nothing about the other crew members really which meant you didn’t particularly care for them when they died. I thought the most pointless character was Weyland himself, played by Guy Pearce, who comes along on the journey because he hopes that the Engineers can save him from dying. I have no idea why they bothered to cast Pearce and then turn him into an old man- why not just hire an old man?! Unnecessary casting.

The main problem with the film is the plot. They are many holes in it and it leaves you with a lot of questions at the end. Perhaps that was the writers intention, given that it was co-written by Lost’s Damon Lindelof. I know it plays with the BIG ideas- what can be bigger than our existence?!- but it doesn’t really answer anything. Why did the Engineers come to Earth and create humanity? Why did they create the black liquid when it eventually ended up killing them? Why did they use that moon when they had Earth? And why did the living Engineer at end want to kill the humans? The film makes the assumption that life started on this moon before humans were created on Earth- but who created the Engineers? I don’t see how the evidence of life on this moon indicates that they were our inventors. It just seems too contrived.

Besides poor plot, scripting and characterisation, I did still enjoy it. The special effects and set designs were amazing too. It wasn’t the sci-fi horror I was expecting which leaves me feel both relieved and disappointed. I would have liked a bit more gore and less philosophy but the action is enough to keep people entertained. It is a good movie but do not believe the hype and expect to leave the cinema scratching your head wondering what the heck it was all about. It is enjoyable but not quite the Ridley Scott sci-fi masterpiece that was expected.

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  1. […] have already seen this movie and you can read my full review here. It is enjoyable but certainly not as amazing as I had hoped or expected. Great cast and effects […]

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