“… like a beautifully polished turd; but unlike most other turds this one is fun to look at.”
As far as I can remember I hadn’t seen Prometheus since it had been in theatres. Surprisingly I remembered quite a bit about the movie, but the thing I remembered most was the feeling of disappointment I had when I left the theatre. After watching Prometheus again last night I definitely understand where that disappointment came from, but I was also able to view the film in a different light. For those who don’t know Prometheus is essentially a prequel to Alien. It’s not a direct prequel, but it takes place before Alien and it goes into the lore surrounding Alien. Prometheus follows a couple of scientist who found evidence of a solar system in many cave paintings from around the world. Taking this as an invitation, they set out with a bunch of other people to this solar system only to find that the people there aren’t so friendly.
This review will be spoiling literally every aspect of Prometheus. If you haven’t yet seen Prometheus, I would recommend you not read any further until you do so. Or do. I’m not in charge of you.
I don’t know where to start when talking about Prometheus. The good, or the bad. I have more to talk about in the “bad” category, but I’ve always heard that you should start with the good news first. Prometheus is a prequel to Alien, and that really shows in the care that went into the technical aspects of the film. Much like with the original film, Prometheus offers beautiful sets, costumes, props, and an atmosphere that really pulls you into the world of the film. The effects in Prometheus were always either amazing, or pretty good; there was nothing below that. There were a good amount of practical effects used in the film, but even when digital effects were used they looked good (for the most part). One thing that really caught my attention in Prometheus was the brilliant score. Now I will admit that the score (which pretty much consisted of two songs) was a little misused at times, but when it was used correctly it was so beautiful. The emotion and sense of wonder that was captured in the music of Prometheus was so amazing, and it set the tone for most scenes masterfully. I will also praise some of the performances in Prometheus, mainly Michael Fassbender as David. Fassbender plays David, an android, so well that it is almost scary. I know that some scenes utilized some special effects to make him seem more robotic, but even forgetting all of that the performance he gave was phenomenal. I also really liked Noomi Rapace’s performance as Elizabeth Shaw, specifically toward the end of the film. The rest of the performances weren’t exactly bad, but they weren’t really good enough to mention either.
There. Now let’s get into the real meat of this review, shall we?
The main problem I have with Prometheus is the fact that, as a movie, it is so far up its own ass it’s not even funny. What do I mean by that exactly? Well Prometheus wants to be taken seriously, but the way it goes about it only hurts its chances. When I think of serious movies one thing that I immediately think about is air-tight writing. I should never have to worry about why a character is doing what they are doing, because that should make sense. Unfortunately with Prometheus, that question comes up more than a couple of times. Now this isn’t bad in itself, I love action movies and more often than not they require you to “turn off your brain” to enjoy them, but the problem is Prometheus is trying so hard to be taken seriously. It presents these situations that look good on paper, but as soon as we see the characters participate in any of them we are left scratching our heads. What kind of issues did Prometheus have? Well, I’m glad you asked. Let’s start with the issues that, in my opinion, are less important to the plot and then work our way up. First of all, What’s up with the size of the Space Jockeys/Engineers? Not only were the Engineers significantly smaller than they were during their first appearance in Alien, but their size within the movie kept changing. I understand that there is nobody on earth who is twelve feet tall, and I appreciate that you went for a practical effect rather than a digital one, but at least try to be consistent. One minute the Engineer is four times the size of a person, then he is only twice the size of a person, then he is only a few feet taller than a person, etc. None of it was consistent, and I couldn’t help but notice it during the movie. Next let’s talk about the fucking weird old man makeup that they had Guy Pearce in the entire time. What the fuck was up with that? I’ve heard this be explained away by people saying that they wanted to do a Prometheus prequel with young Peter Weyland played by normal Guy Pearce, but then why didn’t they just cast a different old guy to play old Peter Weyland? He doesn’t even look like Guy Pearce anymore because you stuck three inches of latex on his face, so what was the fucking point? And it also looks like complete shit. Who the fuck looks that old? You might as well have cast a corpse and ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’d him around the set if that’s the look you were going for. Now let’s shift gears and talk about the problems that directly impacted the movie’s plot. What better place to start than with the fucking two stooges who essentially kick off the horror in Prometheus. Here’s a joke for you, now stop me if you’ve heard this one: two scientists get lost in cave and somehow, despite having a direct feed to a space ship and a digital map on their wrist, get lost. The punchline is me having wasted my time on this fucking movie. So not only do these two fucking idiots get lost, but then they decide to socialize with an alien species that they have never before seen. The stupidity in this part of the movie boggles my mind, and it is a prime example of character doing stupid shit just to advance to plot of this fucking movie. And people wonder why nobody takes Prometheus seriously. Let’s now move on to the fact that Charlie Holloway, one of the two scientist who decided to take the trip to this planet in the first place, immediately turned to drink despite the mission being a success. This guy really needs some help because he got really fucking depressed really fucking quick, and there was absolutely no reason for it. Oh, scratch that, the reason was that David needed to poison him so of course he would need to be an alcoholic to do that. Moving on to the actually punchline of Prometheus: running away from a falling spaceship. Now this has been a meme since Prometheus came out so I’m not going to go too far into it, but come on. Seriously?
The last issue I want to talk about is probably my biggest issue with Prometheus, and that is the black goo. Now Prometheus is a confusing movie to say the least. Hell I just watched it and I would struggle to give you a rundown of the plot. Part of what makes this movie so confusing is the magical black goo that was introduced. Prometheus was supposed to explain where Xenomorphs came from, right? Well, you would think so anyway. What it did instead was introduce the Engineers. This is fine, but the way it introduced the Engineers is what confuses me. The film opens with an Engineer drinking some of this black goo, disintegrating, falling into a waterfall, and then possibly creating life (?). That’s fine. That’s what the black goo is for. Or is it? Because later on we see someone else interact with this same black goo when David poisons Holloway with it. What happens then? Well, two things happen. Holloway gets sick, the ending of which we didn’t get to see because he was burned alive, but he also has sex with Shaw. Now the next day it is revealed that Shaw got pregnant with a weird tentacle monster, that can only be compared to a giant face hugger. This thing grew at an alarming rate, ending up being bigger than a human in less than a day. But there are a few more cases of black goo sickness that we have yet to discuss. Toward the beginning of the film some black goo drips out of the containers that it is being stored in and “infects” some worms that lived in the soil. These worms then turned into the weird snakes that we see later. But these snakes don’t infect humans, but rather kill them by jumping down their throat and living inside of them. But the blood of these snakes is also interesting, because the other scientist gets hit in the face with a nice mist of it. What happens to him? Well he becomes this very strange, contortionist zombie who then attacks the rest of the humans. And to top this all off that tentacle monster that I mentioned before later attaches itself to an Engineer, birthing a fully-grown Xenomorph from its chest. So you see, the problem I have with this black goo is that it is consistently written to do whatever the writers feel like it should do. There is no connection to be made between any of these different effects, despite the Engineer’s DNA being identical to that of a human.
Prometheus, despite all of these apparent flaws that I’ve just outlined, demands to be taken seriously, and that is where my problem with the film lies. To say Prometheus has a lot of issue would be understating it to an almost criminal degree, but you can tell that at least some care went into the technical aspects of the film. Prometheus is like a beautifully polished turd; but unlike most other turds this one is fun to look at. Prometheus, despite all of the flaws that I’ve mentioned, manages to never be boring; and that’s worth a hell of a lot in my book.
I give Prometheus a B