Prometheus Made in: USA Language: English Director: Ridley Scott Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Logan Marshall-Green, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce Year: 2012
Synopsis: In the late 21st Century, some time before the events of the first Alien movie, scientists led by Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Halloway (Logan Marshall-Green) make an extraordinary discovery on Earth. In ancient cave drawings, they see references to visitors from space. Somehow, they figure out what planet these visitors might have come from, and decide to visit them.
The alien planet is about a gazillion miles away, so Shaw and Halloway make the journey via the spaceship Prometheus. The ship carries a motley crew of other folks, and is commissioned by a company called the Weyland Corporation. The company's aging founder, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) believes that these alien beings somehow hold the secret to the origins of life on Earth, or some BS like that.
Representing the corporation on the mission is the icy Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), who hates everyone on board and believes the whole mission is a waste of time.
While the crew makes the journey, which lasts a few years, they are put into cryogenic sleep. Minding the vessel is David (Michael Fassbender), an ultra-realistic, ultra-creepy android.
When they arrive at the planet, the crew finds several large structures that must have been built by some other form of higher intelligence. Shaw and Halloway decide to investigate, convinced that whatever's down there must have the answer to all their existential questions.
What they discover instead is a series of bloody misadventures filled with slimy substances and needlessly disgusting creatures.
The Good: Gorgeous cinematography, excellent production design, and very convincing special effects. The trailer is really good, too.
The Bad: Prometheus opens with a relatively intriguing atmosphere, but it all goes downhill very quickly. Here are my main gripes:
1. A rushed storyline: Despite being a little more than two hours long, things in this movie just happen too quickly. Major plot points and revelations aren't built up (nor explained) very well, which kills any sense of intrigue.
2. Weak characters: Neither Elizabeth Shaw nor Charlie Halloway are all that likeable. Shaw displays a baffling naïveté for a scientist, and Halloway constantly displays an annoying cockiness. Charlize Theron's character is meant to be yet another two dimensional "evil corporate villain" constructed by Hollywood, but she doesn't take the story anywhere.
Worse still, she has nothing on the innocuous-looking Paul Reiser, whose character in James Cameron's Aliens did a far superior job fitting into the plot. In Prometheus, none of the characters are developed, therefore there's absolutely no one to identify with or care about.
3. Too many what the f*ck moments: Nearly all plot turns are driven by the incomprehensible stupidity of the characters. Shaw and Halloway rush into a dark, mysterious cavern without taking any precautions or weapons. They take off their helmets because the air is breathable, but don't take into account the possibility of harmful microbes or bacteria that might be in the air (despite that fact that, you know, they're on an alien planet and all).
Then there's a biologist who comes across a gross-looking alien creature shaped like a purple penis, and instead of staying a respectable distance away, he decides it's a good idea to taunt it by calling it names while putting his face right up to it.
The android played by Michael Fassbender is supposed to have some sort of ulterior motive, like the one played by Ian Holm in the original Alien. But in Prometheus, the android does things that are arguably sinister but pointless with respect to the whole story, which brings me to...
4. The story itself: Annoying details and lack of logic aside, the biggest fault of Prometheus, in my opinion, is that it's a plot being pulled in two vastly different directions. On the one hand, Ridley Scott is trying to tell a more cerebral, philosophical sci-fi story about the search for humanity's origins.
And on the other, Scott has to fit all of that into the Alien universe and tie together the mysterious elements we saw in his 1979 classic...without the help of Sigourney Weaver. As a result, no satisfying answers are reached and the much-anticipated (and iconic) alien creature itself seems more like an afterthought than a vital element.
This is the face I made while searching for any shred of logic in this movie...
Who would like this film: Prometheus was meant for fans of the Alien franchise, and fans of Ridley Scott. Although the production values are amazing, the end result is a film that makes Alien 3 and AVP look competent by comparison.
Whereas the violence in the first Alien film was graphic but effective (and sporadic), Prometheus is a little too over-indulgent. A little bit of slime to make the audience cringe is okay, but buckets of it aren't necessary.
To sum up, this is a disappointing mess full of mind-numbingly stupid characters and nonsensical situations...like a really bloody episode of The Three Stooges, only in outer space.