Monday, June 11, 2012

Prometheus Review

We Have Found God. Turns Out He’s a 10 Foot Tall Steroid Addicted
Fester Addams.

I know I am not the only one on the internet who hates prequels.  In concept, a prequel is about as pointless as it gets.  The common prequel starts off with an established piece of backstory from whatever it is prequeling, and then proceeds to take the viewer right up to the earliest events of the original story.  So it’s basically telling a story that we already know with an ending we’ve already seen.  What a waste of time.  When I heard that Prometheus was a prequel to the prolific Alien franchise, I was disheartened.  However, if you hate prequels like me, put your fears to rest. Prometheus is not a prequel to Alien.  Prometheus is in fact its own story.
Prometheus is about the search for the origin of human kind.  All across the world, ancient civilizations mapped out the existence of a distant planet.  This planet may be the home of an alien race that created human kind.  Our old friends, the Weyalnd-Yutani Corp, decide to lead an expedition of scientists, botanists, biologists, geologists and all other kind of ists to make contact with these ancient aliens we call “the Engineers”, and perhaps discover the answer to the most puzzling question of all time; “Why?”

To be quite honest, the story to Prometheus is a mess.  It’s a hot mess of ideas thrown together, cobbled up in a big dripping ball, and then lunged into the air, breaking off into sludgy disgusting pieces as it cascades to the ground.  Not that I can blame studio executives for getting excited upon reading the outline because the story foundation of Prometheus is solid.  What it lacks is logic, believability and characters that aren’t all too dumb to live.  

Every character is supposedly an expert in their field, so how the hell do these “experts” end up doing exactly the opposite of what any real expert in their field would do?!  Here’s a hypothetical example.  Imagine a fireman trying to put out a fire with whiskey.  That’s pretty much the way these “experts” think.  There is no way in hell any of these people are experts.  They are too stupid.  Not to mention the main character Dr. Elizabeth Shaw.  For someone who claims to believe in God she sure does everything she can to prove he doesn’t exist.  Shaw is religious only because the script says so.  How can I believe in characters like this?  It’s sad that the most realistic character in the movie is an artificial person. 

 Beyond the horrible characters, Prometheus also just spits in the face of logic at every turn.  “Hey guys, we may be on an alien world but the air is 100% breathable according to our sensors.  If it’s all the same to you guys, I’m going to ignore the fact that we are on an alien world and take off my helmet and breathe in potential contaminants, bacteria, and contagions that may not be able to be detected by our Earth technology.”   Yeah, these smart dudes take off their helmets just because it’s fun, and then they are actually allowed back in their ship, ignoring the fact that these people may be contaminated.  Then the best part happens: everyone is shocked that people start getting sick.  Idiots.  It’s hard to feel bad for characters that bring every bad thing on themselves by making stupid decisions.

Prometheus is not all bad though.  It is masterfully filmed, featuring some excellent cinematography, brilliant effects and an undeniably stirring ambience.  The movie is perfectly paced and is extremely tense.  Prometheus may have a bad script, but that does not prevent it from delivering on its chills and scares.  It really is a beautiful movie.  That and the acting is terrific.  I give special props to Michael Fassbender, who plays the android David, serving as a care taker of sorts for the crew.  
Prometheus suffers from a weak story that was clearly under thought, or simply underdeveloped.  The characters are too stupid to inspire even a single semblance of pity, leaving Prometheus to be a hollow and emotionless experience.  The story also asks way too many questions while offering absolutely zero answers, once again leaving the audience unsatisfied.  However, it is successful in its thrills, chills, creeps, and scares.  Prometheus also features one of the most intensely visceral scenes produced in modern cinema.  A scene that is brutally memorable, perhaps even iconic, and certainly worthy of being placed right next to the original Alien’s first chest bursting scene.  Prometheus will be long remembered for this sequence alone.

Overall, Prometheus is a fun and thrilling adventure.  Though it wants to be more, it ultimately amounts to a mindless yet entertaining sci-fi thriller.  It’s not nearly as good as Alien or Aliens, but it is miles beyond Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection.   It has a lot of great ideas, but the execution leaves them dangling around like flies stuck in a spider’s web.  It’s not cohesive, but it is a fair effort.  Perhaps Scott’s eyes were just a tad too big for his stomach on this one.  Either way, his filmmaking ability is still in top shape.  The narrative… well… that’s another story…  I give Prometheus a 7.5 out 10.  It’s disappointing, but not terrible.               

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