At the Movies: Prometheus

“Prometheus” is this year’s “Inception.” It’s grandly ambitious, visually stunning … and doesn’t make much sense.

Director Ridley Scott returns to the creatures and concepts he launched in the 1979 science fiction horror classic “Alien.” It serves as a prequel of sorts for the “Alien” franchise, but with “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof on board as co-writer, expect more questions than answers. “Lost” might actually make more sense than “Prometheus.” Might.

The film opens with gorgeous, sweeping cinematography of a pristine, ancient Earth. A large albino alien arrives, drinks a black liquid, falls into a waterfall and so begins life on Earth. I think.

Fast forward to the year 2089 where archeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) have made a shocking discovery among some prehistoric cave paintings: a map that they believe will lead them across the stars to the alien “engineers” who created life on Earth.

They bring their theory to Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), wealthy founder of the Weyland Corporation. Determined to meet his makers, Weyland funds a scientific expedition on board the starship Prometheus.

The trip will take more than two years, so most of the crew spends the time in cryo-sleep, with the exception of David (Michael Fassbender), an android. One of the film’s more interesting bits occurs early on as David wanders the giant ship alone.

Prometheus arrives at its destination and instead of being greeted by loving, giant albino engineers, the crew discovers a large, abandoned underground facility. If you’ve ever seen an “Alien” movie, you can guess what happens next.

“Prometheus,” the good bits: If you love the visual spectacle of sci-fi — giant spaceships; strange, alien worlds; nifty special effects — this movie has it all. If you like moments of gripping horror, it has that. Michael Fassbender’s performance is compelling. The 3D is pretty decent.

“Prometheus,” the bad bits: How did the ship’s captain (Idris Elba) figure out the true purpose of the structure they found? Why did the aliens leave us a map thousands of years ago to that planet instead of their home planet? Why did Michael do what he did to Charlie? Why does Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), the head of the expedition, have a super-rare, super-sophisticated medical pod in her private quarters that doesn’t treat women?  Why would you even manufacture a super-rare, super-sophisticated medical pod that only treats one sex?

I’m also curious as to why the aliens were going to do what the Prometheus crew assume they were going to do. But I’m guessing that question will be raised in the sequel, as the film very clearly sets itself up for one.

Overall, I’m glad I saw “Prometheus,” but then I’m the kinda guy who loves sci-fi spectacle. I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it due to all the issues I have with the plot. I seem to be running into that problem a lot this summer.

 

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3 responses to “At the Movies: Prometheus

  1. Neighbor Dave

    Spoilers galore so stop now if you haven’t seen it…

    Wow, did I hate this movie…mainly because I like Alien and Aliens..
    I’ve added the writers to my “Time Machine Death List” (As soon as my time machine is done, these are the people I’m going to go back and stop before they screw things up) I felt like they had an okay overall premise then for filler they watched the original movies and stole everything they could… decapitated head still ‘alive’ (Twice!), chick running around in underwear, chick running to life pod with blaring alarms, chick gets to lifepod only to find.alien on lifepod… (Charlize and the other actress got to split up the Ripley duty anyway), the captain of the ship was the Sarge from Aliens, girl pregnant with alien baby (Alien 3)…impossible basketball shot. I’m surprise they didn’t find a colony of monk prisoners…

    Maybe the writers stole everything….They probably stole the original premise (finding ancient drawings all over the world which turn out to be a star pattern…) from Stargate and the old man funding the whole operation could certainly be the old guy funding the whole operation from Contact who eventually lived on the space station to prolong his life…

    The plot…ugh… the medical pod for men only, what the heck was David’s plan with the goo etc, why did they keep assuming all the aliens were dead when they could clearly see several more ‘buildings’ that they hadn’t even gone too let alone searching the rest of the planet… grrrr..

    Now I have a tough decision to make..determining if this one was worse than Alien 3 or not…

  2. Tell us how you really feel, Dave

  3. The pod and the apartment were for Weyland not Vickers (and why isn’t her name Weyland too.) I thought it was pretty good – much better than 3 & 4. But I think Cameron should do the sequel where she attacks the Engineer home world. That would make more sense than giant blue people shooting arrows through tanks.

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