Spoiler Free Version:
Ugh. Weren’t we all hoping for an awesome summer-sci-fi-horror-alien movie? Maybe it wouldn’t be as cool as the original Alien movie, but something close, right? What we got was a mess of a movie aimed at 13 year old boys who love 3d movies, while at the same time trying to cater to those deeply immersed in H.P. Lovecraft, Christian theology, and a crazy amount of other documents. The result is a total mess. If you are expecting a good flick (something near 2001: A Space Odyssey), you will be sorely disappointed in Prometheus. But let’s start with the good and work our way down.
1. The opening scene is awesome. It is beautifully shot, fills you with hope, and makes you excited that the movie will explore its meaning further. A lot of attention was paid to making everything pretty and eye catching, and it is definitely an awesome scene.
2. The “David is Being Curious” scene is awesome. This is where we get to see a robot playing and learning, and we understand that he has the ability to grow as a character. A very promising start to the movie. No spoiler here, you knew there was a robot in it.
3. The whole movie is pretty. Everything looks nice, the CG is pretty cool, and all the sets are spot on.
1. The plot makes no sense. I don’t want to spoil it, but if you think about it, nothing makes sense after about 30 minutes in.
2. Why are these people here? Who is in charge? [See spoiler section below for more]
3. The dialogue is incredibly forced. There is a single line that almost every character says, even those who have no reason to say it, and it comes off as, well, amateur. It’s like they’re trying to beat us over the head with a message we got the first time it was uttered. The message is also never followed up on, which makes it even more annoying. This would be so bad if it didn’t have such promise. They should have applied it to the robot.
4. The characters make no sense. You have a bipolar scientist/frat boy who is way too young to be in the position he was in. You have a robot who has no emotions, but [Deleted. Read the spoiled section below for more]. There is a character on board who is basically there to be a bitch, and literally adds nothing to the movie: you’re never sure why she’s even there. She seems in charge, but isn’t really. Seriously, why was she there?
5. Thoughtless moments in filming. At one point a guy is sitting in -12 degrees Celsius in a space suit, wearing a blanket over the spacesuit. A scene before, everyone was walking around just fine, why did the heat kick off so suddenly? Matter of fact, the captain oscillates between wearing a blanket and a t-shirt on the ship. What’s the deal with the heating? You also have things like the [Deleted] in the bitch’s living room only working for [Deleted]. How does that make sense?
6. The characters are all idiots. Now maybe this is because it’s a stressful situation, but seriously, they are all idiots. This is hard to explain without spoiling anything, but a friend told me that he’d rather have the crew of Sunshine than that of Prometheus. If you haven’t seen Sunshine, just know that this is a huge insult. Their idiocy ranges from small things (tripping at inopportune times) to major things (enangering everyone’s lives needlessly).
7. The monsters make no sense. I’m not saying that scary space monsters have to make sense, but you are required to express them in a coherent or consistent way. This movie did neither. By the end of the movie, you have no idea what the monster is capable of, or how it might change in the next moment. Again, this is hard without spoilers. Just know that there is an amazing amount of randomness in the horror.
So there you have it. This movie was disappointing to me partly because I wanted to see something new and awesome, but also because it just wasn’t done right. There were several elements the movie conjured just to drop later that would have gone a long way to make it more watchable, even good. At the same time, there were a lot of elements not spoken about in the movie that completely explain the plot. Why that wasn’t put in the movie, I have no idea. It feels like the script has been floating around Hollywood for a few years, bouncing between producers who all want to add something different, and finally it was made as a sort of collage on non-correlated events and objects. There are at least 4 movies in there that should be separated out.
The movie I wanted to see is the one where humanity goes to the stars looking for its roots. In this movie, humanity brings along an artificial intelligence made in its own image, and this AI is having to deal with the fact that it is not human, though it wants to be. In this movie we follow some 4-5 characters who have different things invested in the mission, but all really want to know the very truth of humanity. When they come close to the answer, they find a more complicated and darker version of truth that breaks them down as individuals and causes them to rethink their very existence. They fight for their lives all the while screaming to the heavens “We have a right to exist! We belong!” And somewhere in there the AI they built reminds them that the fire they were given, the very gift of Prometheus, their alien predecessors, is alive in them and urging them to explore the stars. In this movie, we might even see those alien predecessors send a gentle nod in humanity’s direction.
But that’s not what we got. We got a Michael Bay-styled x’plosuns are supah cool! movie where sex, one-liners, flat characters, and PG censored language prevails. At the same time, it delves into some serious tropes that never really float to the surface. It tried to do too much, and in the end said too little. It stinks, but people will probably go watch in anyway. 5/10.
Let’s get to the nitty gritty. What really made this movie suck? The good points are listed above, so let’s take a closer look at the bad. (Note: I am reviewing this movie as it was presented, not as something that will be explained in the rest of the trilogy. A movie is either well made, or it isn’t, so let’s just go from what they gave us. )
Let’s start with the basic question:
“Is David a secret asshole?” Ha. Here are my issues:
1. The plot makes no sense. Let’s parse this out. Some archaeologists (who are way to young to have made all these discoveries) figure out that a lot of early humans worship large humanoids who apparently came from space. They left some markers that modern-day science found pointed to a particular planet. Good so far. In the end, we find that the aliens created humanity, decided to kill it, then went about doing it in the worst possible way. If they wanted to kill mankind 2000 years ago, there are a lot easier ways than to make an incredibly hazardous bio-weapon that ends up killing their own crew. Oh, and if we share exact DNA with them, why are they so much bigger and weird looking?
That aside, we still have figure out what they’re actually doing on the planet. Are they there to meet the aliens? To study whatever they find in the earth? To bring samples back? What? We don’t really know what they’re trying to do, but we do know that they brought the worst crew to do it. If you really wanted to go meet an alien race, wouldn’t you 1. bring more people, ships, defense and equipment, 2. bring someone skilled in diplomacy, or 3. bring some sort of way to communicate with the rest of earth? And if that’s the case, why bring the archaeologists at all (I don’t buy the believer crap)? David is the only one who can read or interact with the alien technology. You also don’t need Weylands daughter, the engineers, or the geologist. You would probably also put someone in charge of the ship. Sure, Weyland is on board, but he tells everyone else to listen to the two scientists. But they are supposed to listen to the bitch. But there’s also a captain, but I guess all he does is fly… Who is in charge around here?!
Wait, why is Weyland here? Did he travel for 2 years on the off chance that something might have the ability to heal him? If that’s the case, couldn’t he just pull a Walt Disney and stay frozen at home until the cure come to him? Nope, better put on terrible makeup and traverse the universe. So stupid.
The plot get’s even worse when you look at the…
2. Aliens. Seriously, how many different versions of aliens do we need in a single movie? And how many ways of reproducing should they really have? Let’s count all the aliens by their forms:
- The human-like aliens
- Black alien goop
- Alien worm (presumably made from the worms in the soil and the black goop)
- The zombie. Did you forget about him? That was a f****** zombie! Why did they even bring him back? Why was he in the movie at all?
- The disease eating the scientist. It was having a different effect on him than the zombie, and it looks like the worms were either trying to get out or just eat him alive.
- The octopus monster. After the black goop was given to scientist #1, he banged scientist #2 and it got her pregnant instead of just infecting her. For some reason.
- The Alien franchise looking alien. That’s who the crowds came to see.
- The Green sparkly goo. Remember when David checks that stuff out? What was it?
There were eight different types of aliens in this movie. Why? Did you really need that zombie? It stops being scary when the aliens are magical and can turn into anything they want, whenever they want. It’s like they’re that kid who, when playing with friends, says “I have the power to have all the powers! pew pew!” No one likes that kid.
3. The Prometheus Alien disappointment. So we’ve been in this movie for about an hour and a half, and now we finally get to see the alien responsible for making humanity. What does he do? Look at his creations and see a mistake, speak to them with curiosity? Nope. Hulks out and pummels everyone around him like an ape. Really, you couldn’t come up with anything a little better than that? No speech? No curiosity? Nothing? Incredibly disappointing.
4. David. I get the AI thing where he has to follow orders (even if they’re evil), but David is specifically being a dick sometimes. Whenever he’s talking to scientist #2 when she’s pregnant, he is trying to piss her off. He indulges information she didn’t know or need to know simply because he’ll get a rise out of her.
5. The believer crap. Why does everyone on board have to ask scientist #2 about her faith in the same, lame way? We get it, she has to have a moment where her faith overcomes her fear/doubt/pain. We don’t need every character to bludgeon us over the head with this, especially if they would never care. You’re telling me her boyfriend (scientist #1) would just now ask about her faith? And why would David do it at all?
6. Spacejesus. There’s a great rant about the whole Spacejesus thing, and it actually makes the movie make more sense. You kind of wonder why it was kept out of the movie, but then you realize you’re talking about SPACEJESUS.
Basically, the engineers made life on earth and every now and again would send down a human/alien hybrid to teach us about love and peace. The black goo, when used by a good guy (like at the beginning of the movie), makes life- you accept your death to create more life. When it’s used by an asshole (humans apparently) monsters emerge- you don’t accept death to create life, you get a perversion of life. Anyway, so Spacejesus comes down, we kill him, and the engineers don’t appreciate it at all. Since we killed Spacejesus, they decide that we are unworthy of our own existence, and plan on killing us with the black goo. Something goes wrong at this point and they all die. Presumably, humanity’s flaws made it up to the black goo on LV-233 (or Leviticus 22:3), and killed all the aliens. Oh, and there’s a lot of Christian imagery throughout the film attesting to all this: the cross necklace, the fact that it’s Christmas, the Leviticus thing, the belief issue, the themes of self sacrifice, and so on. Ridley, this is a bit nuts.
7. IT WASNT SCARY, like at all. I went to the theater with Jen, who normally squirms and screams at everything. Not a peep this day. When it was suppose to be scary (there’s something down the hall, its dark, the creature is looming…) nothing happens.
In the end, the movie is basically 2 things. First, it is a space fantasy styled horror story with mediocre acting and a messy plot. It’s better than the AVP franchise, but then again those are about as stimulating as bread. Second, it is an incredibly thick and obscure mixture of philosophy and theology that is completely impenetrable by viewers. Too much was said, and in the muddle, nothing came across. We are left to sift through pieces of info from the movie for the plot, but largely follow what Ridley Scott says during interviews. Who the hell would have figured out that the aliens want to kill humanity because humanity killed Spacejesus? Seriously, you would never in a million years get that from the movie.
Well whatever is going on in this movie, it gets a 5/10 rating from us. If you’re more interested in the actual plot, what the hell is going on, why the black goo works differently, etc, I’d take some time to watch this: