Thursday, 21 June 2012

Prometheus - a little disappointing?

Spoiler alert for those who haven't seen it yet!

Went to see Prometheus yesterday evening and left the cinema feeling more than a little disappointed.

An impressive film, yes, but I found it rather disjointed, with various subplots that seemed to lead nowhere or follow no logical course.  Not what I've come to expect from Ridley Scott.

Special effect were excellent, well acted, good production standards and I liked the ship and vehicles.  These explorers have taken the sensible approach and brought their own transport with them, unlike some we could mention (yes Outcasts, we're looking at you - what sort of colonists fail to bring any sort of mechanised transport or riding beasts with them?).  I'd say that the Old Crow Claymore APC would be a good match for the exploration rover.

It was also good to see some of the ideas that didn't quite make it into original Alien film finally appear; the breast-like alien mound, the hieroglyphics inside the central chamber.

What I didn't get was the crew mix.  As one character pointed out, they've spent trillions of credits getting them there so wouldn't they select a crew who had at least a remote interest in completing the mission?  Some were very keen but others displayed complete disinterest, the entire mission was unfocused and pretty aimless with no real leadership from anyone.  ("Oh, we've found an alien race?  Well, I'll just go back to the ship because I'm a geologist and if it's not a rock then I don't care!")  At least in Alien there was a reason for the disinterest, they were a commercial ship on a different mission, not an exploration vessel like Prometheus whose sole purpose was to investigate the possibility of alien life.

The whole pregnancy thing felt a bit shoehorned in - didn't she recover quickly after being stapled back together!  Why did the rest of the crew seem so unconcerned about her reappearance when she'd just knocked 2 unconscious, broken quarantine and turned up bloodstained and gooey after fighting off a mutant monster foetus?

Why did David infect the scientist if he wasn't going to watch to see how he developed/mutated?  There seemed to be no logic or purpose behind it.  I can accept that in this sort of film people are always going to venture into a dark room on their own or will peer closely at what is clearly a dangerous creature or object with no apparent concern for their safety, but there was too much that didn't make sense.

Why were the engineers/space jockeys so much smaller than the one from the original film?  Why did they leave the clues on Earth leading humans to somewhere that was only a small outpost?  What was with the carbon-dating of the alien corpses - don't you need a knowledge of the carbon cycle on a planet in order to carbon-date an item?  If these aliens came from elsewhere, then it doesn't even make a difference if you know the C14 levels in the atmosphere as they won't have been breathing it most of their lives!  DNA match to humans - what's that all about?  I don't think that they seeded earth and humans leapt fully formed out of the water, they had one of the scientists comment on decades of Darwinism being thrown out of the window but never bothered to address his question!  Suspension of disbelief is one thing but very bad science is quiet different!

In The Thing (John Carpenter version), they tried to do all the ideas they could think of and it worked.  Here they try to use all their ideas and they just don't seem to fit together.  Some scenes seem to have come from a different film.  Perhaps there is a "Director's Cut" waiting to appear with extra scenes that explain some of these things, who knows?

Overall grade for this film: C-  Some good ideas but too incoherent, directionless and inconclusive.

What does everyone else think?  Am I being too harsh or does anyone else think the same?


  1. I think a C- is spot on for this film. I knew going into my expectations were much higher than they should've been, but on the walk out of the theater I was just left with an overall numb sensation and more than a small bit of confusion.

    The magical black goo seemed to do about a dozen different things from creating all life on a planet to impregnating the unimpregnable to turning geologists who look like space mercs into super zombie killers. There was no rhyme or reason to it.

    And what was up with all the alien variants, nary a Geiger-esque recognizable one among the bunch, yet the mosaic in the beehive clearly showed a 'traditional' xenomorph as we've come to know them. Eh, I don't know, overall I was kind of let down.

  2. Bad science done badly. You've found the very first instance of an alien head but rather than try any form of passive observation you run 40 million volts through it for a laugh. You also hire a biologist who has no understanding of a threat posture, cares not about airborne bacteria and has zero common sense. Best of all you have no dedicated medical officer, choosing instead to replace that function with a high priced DIY workstation with crappy memory specs, a complete lack of restraints, manual sedation and a touchy-feely iPad interface which assumes your patients still possess their fingers. Personally I'd rather be operated on now if this is what the future holds...

  3. Not been so disappointed in a film since alien 3. Imagine being selected to go on a mission that takes so long to get there that they have to put you in suspended animation and you don't ask what the mission is before going!

  4. I agree, and what was up with the space zombie, pretty stupid movie, you would think a movie he had waited decades to make would have been pretty spot on.

  5. Not that I am defending it or anything, but wasn't Bowlcut McHorseface some sort of medic? Y'know, before The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo clocked her with a brick that she cunningly disguised as a pillow.

    At least the flick LOOKED nice, it has all sorts of ideas for terrain and stuff, but reading Ridley Scott's comments about the movie are insane. I am both eager and scared to see the commentary/cut on the dvd.

  6. Paul your review pretty much sums up how i felt after seeing Prometheus, you have pointed out most of the issues that concerned me. I left the movie feeling pretty deflated i think it simply did not flow smoothly enough but when it comes out on DVD i think i will wait for the special edition Director's Cut as im sure some extra footage will be added as is the norm with with Ridley Scotts films

  7. If they'd swapped Rapace and Theron I'd have been happier. Did not get on with Noomi at all.