movie review: prometheus [spoilery]

I really wanted to like Prometheus but I couldn’t. Not immensely. Of the movies I’ve seen in 2012 I liked it better than John Carter (of Mars) (which I had low expectations for), but less than everything else. I rewatched Total Recall a while back, which while not being a masterpiece by any means, it had a better sense of itself and more mind-bendy SFishness than Prometheus (and much worse acting).

The good bits:

Michael Fassbender as David the android was pretty excellent. He was well done as the translator and childish person who was just trying to do right by his creator. The scene in the billiards room where he makes the final decision to infect Holloway or whatever the guy scientist’s name was is chilling.

Idris Elba as Captain Yannick was so good. He had one exposition scene which seemed weird and unprovoked but otherwise, he was badass and charming and yeah. I need to see that show he starred in because he’s pretty excellent.

The rest of the bits:

You know how in Alien, nobody is an idiot? Everyone is just doing their jobs as well as they can. The only stupid moment in Alien is when Ash breaks quarantine and lets the facehugger onto Nostromo, but it’s because he’s working on a different set of orders from everyone else.

In Prometheus this trillion-dollar team of super scientists is a pile of morons. They poke creatures and destroy stuff and breathe the atmosphere without compunction. First thing we do, let’s jolt this head with electricity and trick it into thinking it’s alive! They behave in nothing like a reasonable fashion for a scientific possibly first contact team (apart from Captain Yannick, and even he takes the ship on a suicide mission). “This is a scientific mission. We won’t need weapons.” Having a character lampshading the stupidity of their choices doesn’t make it any better.

The iconic image of the big ring thing rolling from the trailer? Huge fucking spoiler. The only thing the trailer didn’t have was the explosion that caused it rolling. Knowing that the big ring thing lands on the ground drained all the tension from the Engineer alien’s plan to go to Earth with its biological weapons of mass destruction.

It would have made more sense to get an actually old person to play Weyland instead of Guy Pierce in eighty tonnes of makeup. Just saying.

While the pregnancy angle was interesting, why the fuck would the medical doodad in Vickers’ lifeboat be configured to Male Only (so Shaw couldn’t tell it do do a caesarean section – and definitely not an abortion)?

There were so many crew on the ship who were there just to be killed in the rampages near the end. One of the things that made Aliens work is the slow build where you felt for everyone who was about to die. There were all these people I hadn’t seen before getting tossed about by the alien infected form of the geologist, and it all felt hollow.

Verdict:
Bah. I really wanted this to be good. I was hoping it would be more like a big-budget, more actiony Moon, but it was way more like Predators or Alien Resurrection – not the worst movies ever made, but nothing I’m going to remember fondly (outside of a couple of bits). The Avengers is still in theatres; go see that instead. It doesn’t try to answer any big questions about the meaning of humanity but it’s way more fun and the only people doing terribly stupid things are bureaucrats trying to nuke New York.

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8 thoughts on “movie review: prometheus [spoilery]

  1. I’ve seen a couple of reviews that really liked Prometheus (like this one http://intosurvival.blogspot.ca/2012/06/quick-non-spoilery-review-of-prometheus.html ) and I’m wondering if I played into the expectation game too much. I wanted it to be big and awesome and thoughtful. The questions it was getting at were interesting, I guess, but I think they’ve been done better elsewhere (like John Scalzi’s The God Engines which I’ll review soon). I didn’t hate it; I was disappointed it’s not something I’ll see multiple times and put on my best movies ever list.

  2. *many spoilers*
    I had high expectations and it mostly lived up to them for me, though I can’t disagree with any of the points you talk about, particularly the irresponsible scientists who never wear their helmets and poke things. Though none of that really bothered me while watching it. I found the 3D immersive and pretty excellent like when the probes were scanning the tunnels, when David was in the alien cockpit(?) with the 3D solar system, and also when he was intercepting Shaw’s dream (visually very striking, but I’m curious how that played in 2D). Loved the creature FX, which never struck me as too CG.

    The main things that bugged me were Guy Pearce in completely unconvincing old man makeup and some Charlize Theron moments (over-dramatic “…Father.” line and inability to run sideways). Also, when that geologist’s body showed up on the doorstep as a unnatural heap of limbs and a head, my eyes widened as I prepared for a crazy wtf alien incarnation a la The Thing. Very disappointed when he just stood up and was super strong.

    Glad I rewatched Alien or I wouldn’t have known any of that space jockey stuff. Had a big grin when alien 1.0 reared its elongated head at the end.

    By the way, re: Idris Elba did you mean Luther or The Wire? I have to start watching Luther, but for me he’ll always be Stringer Bell.

    • Luther is the one I haven’t seen with Mr. Elba. I guess I don’t consider him the star of The Wire since it was such an ensemble piece (and he dies halfway through).

      • Yeah, I just jumped in the (long) queue for Luther at VPL, though I’ll probably try to catch the first season while I’m still in my free Netflix trial. The Wire was where I was like: who is this guy and why isn’t he in more things?

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