Enough time has passed to where even Harrison Ford jokes about how terrible an archaeologist Indiana Jones would be. Prometheus doesn’t have the advantage of a strong character lead, like Indy does. Prometheus’ edge is its beautiful use of cinematography and art direction, accompanied by a multi-million dollar special effects budget. It’s a shame that Michael Fassbender is, once again, the only quality figure in another summer blockbuster. How creepy is that?
Maybe I was too tough on The Avengers film. Maybe the people on my facebook and twitter feeds are right. For what movies offer now, maybe something like Prometheus is the best hope of a breath of fresh air. How sad is that?
To be a pseudo-prequel in an era where the general audience demands more explosions than exposition, Prometheus isn’t an all-together trainwreck. Yes, this is the best compliment I could possibly give a film where every character that dies, does so in the most telegraphed manner.
The science fiction aspect of Prometheus exists only as a tool to distract you from the plastic set design and Charlize Theron’s Dr. Evil wardrobe. The film opens as if it’s a National Geographic documentary. It’s actually one of the film’s high points. It’s quite beautiful and gives the film a sense of scope, but functions as a brass ring it will never reach. The audience is introduced to a crew, of which we aren’t given a clear definition as to everyone’s specific roles. From the film’s start, you are to assume that bad stuff will happen and “these guys” will probably die first, barring a select few out of a cast of 17.
This part, the guys dying first and in quite awesome scenarios, I got no beef with. However, the deaths in this surprisingly question-filled, shallow yarn are telegraphed every 10-minutes. I’m not kidding. Every character who dies in Prometheus, makes a bad decision. An obviously caveman-esque bad decision, then two scenes later, boom, dead. Go ahead, test out my theory. Make a drinking game out of it. You’ll even have the pleasure of being in the theater with other smart people and you’ll hear someone murmur, “Well that’s a dumb idea. Oh damn, they’re dead! That was kinda cool.”
“But Isaiah, I really enjoyed Prometheus and I thought all the characters who played those of a scientific profession behaved as such.” -- Fictional person I just made up.
Now I know there is a suspension of belief that we have to buy into. I even reference the amazing immersion one feels when watching an Indiana Jones film [circa anything prior to that last disaster of which we will not speak of]. However, it is disturbing to see this world that Ridley Scott has painted for us, populated with our [fictional] best and brightest scientist, forgetting about every damn thing they’ve learned.
In the future, every scientist will discover something and then touch it and breath on it profusely. Going against any and everything scientific. In the future, you discover a new foreign land and expose yourself to its elements, only to be surprised when you catch a gut exploding venereal disease. Also, Charlize Theron will be there dressed as Mini-Me from Austin Powers. Guy Pearce will be there for no reason, explaining a conclusion that makes as much sense as my next sentence.
In the future, you will look super-hot in a bandage bikini. This is a genuine pro, versus many cons.
The one character we find the movie directing our investment toward is the robotic and seemingly asexual creature played by Michael Fassbender. We see this world of idiots through his eyes. Aptly so, the movie is shot in such a cold and calculating manner, it’s just as aimless as his character motivation and progression. I love Idris Elba more than any hetero-black male should admit in written word. Seeing his character accompanied by the stock “asian pilot” and “white person of miscellaneous ethnicity” didn’t sour me on the movie, his relationship with Theron’s character did.
Hard to be an intellectually engaging film when the main characters are behaving like a frat boy on Friday. Noomi Rapace has scenes of brilliance, when it’s just her. When we muck it up with the cast of Phi Kappa Bro, we end up with tepid sexual tension and a computer generated crate of unlikable people. What kind of scientist is she again? Wait, they called her and her boyfriend “engineers.” Of what? What do they engineer?
You walk away with more questions than answers, and not in the “European film”-way. Apt that a movie tackling the subject of humans coming from a greater lineage is representative of a franchise that birthed our current nerd culture. We are given characters searching for answers and a sense of self. They are presented aboard a familiar-looking ship with archetypal characters and it isn’t until the very end where we see the heavy-handed references made true. We are given a conclusion that not only makes zero sense, but says, “Hey, those two hours of your life you just spent? Totally wasted. See you at the sequel.”
Prometheus is at its best when it’s impersonating the shell of the Alien’s franchise it predates. When people begin to die, though obvious that they will, it’s still framed in a manner that is exciting. Unfortunate the means in which they are dying comes from [idiotically] incubating two alien lifeforms. Or travelling down dark corridors with no support or a nonsensical need to “split up” or “stay put.” When given several opportunities to kill both creatures on the ship, they chose not to. Why? Because these guys are idiots and it’s kinda fun to watch dumb people die.
I give Prometheus …
The “Bill & Ted Poetic Portrait” Award