Posted on 9/02/12 09:00 PM
This movie raised a serious question in my mind after I saw it, though not the one the filmmakers sought to plant there. Instead it caused me to contemplate how serious the crime of not answering a question you as filmmakers put forth in your movie, is it enough to simply throw big ideas out there and maybe slightly toy with them or should we expect any idea a movie presumes to explore be explored to the fullest? I definitely think if things stand basically as they did at the beginning of a work of fiction and nothing really changed or been resolved than the writers have wasted our fucking time but though this movie certainly leaves a lot open ended and not in an interpretative way but more in the way of omission but at the same time we get a vague idea of who our alien creators are in this fictional world and the characters that survive the onslaught of this little action bruiser have certainly learned something and grown significantly from the story's beginning. Or have they? I suppose rather than continually posing questions and potential scenarios I should seek to answer them lest I leave you feeling bitter and disappointed so let's take a laser self c section look.
Prometheus follows the story of a space team on a mission from the Weyland Corporation in 2089, who are being sent on an exploration mission to a distant moon based on the theories of archaeologists couple Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), who believe various strange cave paintings around the world all feature large god like figures pointing to its position in the sky so potentially there lies humanities creators. The ship is being maintained during their hyper sleep and the mission eventually overseen by newly developed android David (Michael Fassbender) who is eerily Human and may have ulterior motives. Upon touchdown they discover a cave system with an artificial atmosphere and what appears to be several urns full of mysterious black goo that were created by enormous humanoid alien life forms who have since either been killed or abandoned the place. From there the mission becomes a waking nightmare as they discover the aliens were their creators and the black substance was made to destroy them, and the manipulative behavior of David and Corporate overseer Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) ultimately make a bad situation even worse.
First of all this movie was co-written by Lost Creator Damon Lindelof which may explain the intriguing set up and ideas that lead to such an unimpressive conclusion, and second of all it doesn't feel at all like an Alien movie. It uses a lot of the imagery of the urns and the space jockey from the beginning of Alien where they find the face hugger and there's plenty of imagery and a few scenes reminiscent of the first film (a big part of that probably being that Ridley Scott is directing it) but the movie probably could have functioned as well and more fluidly without the Alien stuff. Hell, without the Ancient Astronauts stuff this movie could have been a fun little horror/thriller movie if a little too derivative of the first Alien but sadly it opts to be both and therefore can't really succeed at either. Not to mention the fact I think it does matter that the movie doesn't answer its questions or follow through on the big ideas it sets itself up with. I love the idea of finding our makers on a different planet only to find out they wanted to destroy us but I was left feeling strangely hollow when the movie never answered WHY the Aliens wanted to destroy us. It also has some cheesy faith and religion stuff in there which annoyed me given that in the movie they find their makers and they're aliens not deities so its a little mixed in the message there. Yet I didn't hate Prometheus and it has SO much going for it I feel compelled to even like despite its numerous problems. The acting ranges from serviceable to a lot of fun especially Fassbender who's just a master at his craft and Idris Elba as the ship's cavalier captain, and the directing is fucking beautiful appropriately bleak and grounded without falling into an ugly or depressing look. I don't believe Scott's done a science fiction film since Blade Runner and he returns to glorious form with a technically proficient movie that even briefly touches on his favorite sci-fi question, at what point do androids cease being our machine slaves and become human or perhaps even something better?
So yeah this movie had some problems, I understand there was a deleted scene with a young Peter Weyland but if it didn't happen why is Weyland an over 90 something year old man played by Guy Pearce in make up and not just an old man? And there are a few minor twists the movie feels very proud of that are almost embarrassingly obvious but Prometheus is a really fun movie if you let it be, a visceral experience that ranges from terrifying to jumping up and down exhilarating (there's really only two scenes that do that but they remind you of the strength of character development and the actors playing them). A lot of people have unfairly I think ripped Prometheus apart even comparing it to The Phantom Menace but I really liked it, worth a rental if nothing else.