This is going to be an oddly serious one. So, let’s get all my ‘funny’ points out of the way first:
- I love Michael Fassbender and I love his magic space flute
- The inevitable Prometheus sequel should be a buddy comedy starring Shaw and David’s decapitated head. It will be called Prometheus 2: A-Head of the Times
- So many smart scientists, so many stupid decisions made. “I know! Let’s poke the weird alien lifeform, I’m sure nothing bad will happen” etc.
- I wish I had a robot friend whose head I could keep in a bag.
- I really wish there hadn’t been that ‘heroic sacrifice’ scene as a way to kill off three characters who they didn’t know how to end.
- On a related note, Charlize Theron really should have run to the side. “It’s slowly coming this way! Noooo!”
- I never thought I would see a scene where a woman gives herself a robot c-section to get rid of a tentacle space monster. Thanks, Ridley!
- I am upset that our creators are basically Lurch after he’s gone to the gym.
Right, enough of that! Let’s talk serious.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film. Visually, it was stunning. An atmospheric and vibrant, unique world was created and in turn this formed a wonderfully immersive film. The soundtrack was great as well, it suited the film perfectly and bar a couple of cheesy moments it kept to the ‘space epic’ style brilliantly.
Michael Fassbender was wonderful. Somehow the cold android had the most depth and was by far the most interesting character in the film. He also put in the best performance. I still wanted him to succeed with whatever crazy plan he had right up to the end, because he was the only character with a complex personality. Credit also goes to Charlize Theron.
I would say, though, that the rest of the performances weren’t great. I don’t think this was necessarily the fault of the cast per se, but that the script they were given seemed very direct. There wasn’t much room for character development and it seemed to me as if the film was primarily focused on the big picture rather than the little. In my humble opinion the little things like character as intensely important, even in films with such big concepts as this. Just look at, for instance, Sunshine, which created a whole cast of unique characters who you genuinely cared for. I could barely remember what the characters in Prometheus looked like, let alone remember their names or character traits.
I think a lot of this comes from the hybrid nature of the film. Is it a space exploration film? Is it a monster movie? Is it a straight-up action flick? It worked best with the first two parts – the opening scenes and the first hour of runtime was brilliant. The way the tension was built when exploring the derelict space craft was fantastic. The intensity up to the moment when they find the ‘worship room’ (filled with the black vases) was expertly done.
After that point, though, there seemed to be a few annoying clichés that crept in. The two guys who get lost in the craft (I suppose) were obviously going to die from the moment they left the rest of the group. They then proceed to make the horrible decision to not run from the obviously creepy alien goo snake and, surprise surprise, try to touch it. That’s the kind of shit that gets you ganked in the Alien universe and it’s the kind of stupid curiosity you haven’t really seen in this universe up to this point.
From then on, the whole film appears a little rushed. You see the rest of the crew go to find them again, dickhead scientist man start turning into an orc and being set on fire by Charlize Theron (in a moment of rare intelligence for a character in Prometheus), Dr Shaw give herself a c-section to get rid of the tentacle baby from Men In Black, her randomly stumble across Weyland, have the shocking relevation that wrinkly Guy Pearce is Charlize Theron’s father (or is she? More on that later), them all go off into the ship to talk to the last space-albino, angry bearded alien man kill a bunch of mooks, space albino wake up and attack in a grumpy rage, heroic sacrifice of remaining expendable characters, baby tentacle monster all grown up…and breathe. It all felt like too much in too little time. I’m hoping the eventual director’s cut will help solve this problem.
There were a few more problems I had with the film: for one, as an Alien fanboy, I hated the way the Engineers looked and how the excellent ‘space jockey’ look was apparently just a suit. Another was that some of the dialogue was a little on the nose. Noomi Rapace saying to David “you can’t feel. You’re just a robot” felt a little off for instance. But, in spite of all the flaws, I couldn’t help but really like this film. Not a classic, and I won’t love it at much as some of Ridley Scott’s other films, but it felt truly like a part of one of the great film universes – and better yet, built on it in an interesting way.
Up next: an Alien fan’s in-depth look at how Prometheus affects the universe – and a few theories about the film, from characters to themes.