16 June 2012


First impression: looks like the live-action cousin of Ergo Proxy.
After seeing the film, my reaction has only confirmed my guess.
Here it is. The supposed "prequel" to the series that traumatized me for years. Thanks to the Alien movies, I never liked the sight or thought of something foreign within one's abdomen. Of course, my dad, being more intelligent than Stephen Hawking, showed me the films when I was SIX, so it's not much of a surprise.

Even way before the film was announced, I had no desire to see this film. Not because of my mental scars, but because everyone hyped the crap out of it. As a result of squealing like children on Christmas Eve, everyone has their underwear tied into knots over how good or bad the film is. The reviews, ranging from "OMFG, it's glorious!" to "WTFH is this pile?", provided endless entertainment from me. After I read the whole plot summary, it got to the point that I already had an opinion of the film without watching it. Yet my dear old man took me to see it so I had a frame of reference when I rant about my opinion here. It's long overdue anyway.

So what did I think?

Objectively, it's not the worst of the year; the film is a visual feast to behold. But there are plenty of places where the film trips over its feet or stumbles down the stairs. Overall, if you take all the good and the horrible, it adds up to be... a bit below average. Subjectively, this movie annoys me more than the target of one of my last reviews. This film... and some of the people who defend it... piss me off to no end. This film drops so much bait for the pseudo-philosophers to binge on and claim the film makes so many deep references to Jesus Christ and Christianity. Believe me, some have written essays on what this film is about.

What is the ship called? Prometheus. What day do the crew members wake up from suspended animation? Christmas Day. When did the Engineers die on their ship? Two thousand years ago.What is the name of the sterile woman who just so happens to become pregnant? Elizabeth. What is that around her neck? A cross. What is her reason to claim that the Engineers created us? "Because that's what I choose to believe." What is that? Faith, which is simply belief without proof. What day is it when the film ends? January 1, in "the year of Our Lord" 2094.

Is this the only point to the film? Does this film have to jam the idea down our throats that this is something we must think about? Must we accept that a scientist with a strong faith in her Lord and Savior is someone we can stand behind as a protagonist? Must we accept that this film refuses to have their scientists - except the geologist - question the legitimacy of a "belief" held by said religious woman, supported by her jerk-ass boyfriend scientist? Should we take this seriously as a film that makes you think of mythological gods that killed themselves - I meant, "sacrificed themselves" - for the sake of the human race to have life?

Hell no.

I expected this film to tell a story, not a lecture. I expected a decent premise, plot progression, character development, and a resolution. The only thing this movie got right was the characterization of David, the android. HE had a legitimate internal conflict and throughout the course of the story he asked questions, interacted with the cast, and served a valuable purpose on the trip, while learning more about life. He was very aware that he was a created intelligence, had great dialogue with Dr. Shaw, and was the most active character in discovering the Engineers. It's interesting that the one created by humans is the one who did his creators' homework in finding their creator.

Oh yes, all the humans - ALL of them - were horrifically stupid. Even if the pretentious themes and intents behind the film were appropriate and well done, the characters were absolutely insulting. They were the black permanent marker stains on an elegant, finely detailed French dress. No one was likable. Everyone fit their generic roles in a horror flick. Dr. Holloway and the captain were the jackasses. The biologist was the blond, being the first to die in the stupidest way possible. Weyland was the selfish old guy. Dr. Shaw was the idiot. Everyone else had no name and was forgettable.

As for the plot... it's generic and bland. Weak premise for a sci-fi film supported by little and poor reasoning. Seriously, how could you conclude that a bunch of aliens are saying "Come to our world, kids! We have candy!" from murals around the world with a set of five dots in a pattern? Which of those five "dots" did they go to and how did they know?

Nitpicking aside, the plot was written very awkwardly. The dialogue wasn't bad, but there were many instances were I wondered if plot details ware missing or if whole scenes had to be rewritten. I'm not the greatest writer on the planet, look at my posts here and point out all the grammatical and structural errors, but I asked myself many times if I would edit the writers' notes to death? This movie feels like there are several minor scenes cut out just so it could be a reasonable two hour presentation.

Wait... do you know what this whole thing is? FAN SERVICE. Not the kind with half-naked women posing around or excessive blood and gore to get the hormones raging. This is fan service to the Alien fans by saying, "Hey! This is how the xenomorphs came to be! Ain't that cool?" This is a film with nothing but two hours of half-assed, horror-movie padding and unexplored controversial debates that have never been resolved ever since logic and faith clashed. All of this happens, and in the end they only show us a minute and a half of a xenomorph popping out of the abdomen of an albino Kratos from God of War. Then the writers have the balls to leave the initial questions in the premise UNANSWERED and drops a few bread crumbs to a potential sequel.

Oh, I forgot about the monsters and the horror aspect of the movie. It did fine. No complaints. I'm jaded by scary films by this point, and Prometheus was nothing special but not bad in that regard. No, the ending did not disgust me.

At the end of the day, it's nice that people can think deeply about this, but that does not make this film excellent. All the pretty visuals and the convoluted explanations cannot undo a film that fails to live up to the standards of basic storytelling. Ridley Scott and his crew worked their asses off to make as many allusions as possible that they forgot that this is a science fiction film with SCIENTISTS who cannot do their jobs even if their lives depended on it. These guys are supposed to be telling a story, not showing off your intelligence. It may say a lot to some when I say that Damon Lindelof was one of the guys behind the TV show Lost, but a sloppy story ending with sequel bait is inexcusable.

The last words in the film speak for themselves. The surviving members of the plot go off to find the Engineers and demand to know why humanity was created. Wasn't this question posed at the beginning of the film? If so, then that means that we have an UNANSWERED QUESTION. To everyone who said that this film has all mysteries resolved or is open-ended and up for interpretation... BULLSHIT. This is a research paper turned in on its due date with no concluding paragraphs. Your teacher/professor would slap you if you demanded that your work deserves an A because it's so many pages long or you tackled a hard topic. Your professor is not going to guess what your conclusion is. Your work is incomplete. You FAILED.

And it's comments like these that annoy me the most.

Person A: "Kind of wondering if [the Amazing Atheist's] entire review is a joke. Distracting us with a bunch of interesting subjects in depth, but ignoring the basics of the movie. Which is essentially what the film was: a lot of potential for depth and powerful themes, but it just amounted to a lukewarm film."

Person B: "No, they just saw it for what it was meant to be, unlike you."

"...many of you criticize the so called plot-holes and "unanswered questions". What baffles me is that no one and I mean no one here wants to think. Don't understand what I mean, do you? Take for example the Force from Star Wars. Why is it so awesome? Because we hardly know anything about it. Where did it come from? How did we find it? How exactly does it work? [...] These are all "unanswered questions" and they make you think and imagine, speculate and investigate. These kind of questions make the movie interesting and intriguing. The same is easily applied to Prometheus, - it gives us a fair amount of answers and clues and keeps us speculating at the same time. And for me - this the real magic of cinema. Prometheus is a solid and thought provoking movie and in general just a wondrous experience. I guess people nowadays are used to the facts that movies just give away all the answers and plot elements on a silver platter (take Avatar for example, - the moral is there but it's so straight and obsessive that it leaves no room for real thought. Awful movie by the way) and that's a real shame. As for my advice go and watch Prometheus with an open mind and be ready to think."

"I feel like I watched an entirely different movie from what you just described. Most of the things you say were holes or issues are clearly explained by the movie if you pay attention or simply put two and two together.  I enjoyed this movie for its meticulous sense of details, how some things don't click in your mind until after seeing it.  I honestly don't understand half your complaints because lots of them seem like you could have only come to that conclusion if you were either really tired or simply not paying attention to some things which either were explained by dialogue or obvious. (and yes somethings straight up aren't explained- Scott did say this was going to be a trilogy)."

"It's an excellent film as long as you do not expect it to a) be science fiction or b) make any sense on the surface level, rather than the symbolic level..."

It's good as long as you pretend it's not a science fiction film?! Don't deny what this film is supposed to be!

Gag me with a spork. I may have been closed-minded about this film, but I sure as hell used my damn brain to nitpick every inch of this pretentiously-wrapped and superficial film. You can accuse me of overheating my brain, but not for one moment did I stop thinking about this colossal disappointment.

1 out of 5

Watch it if you will, but I cannot give this a thumbs up. Do not trust your beloved reviewers because this film is too polarizing. Even Doug, Linkara, Film Brain, Spoony, and Brad Jones from That Guy With the Glasses, a site with some very similar-minded people, had their own separate opinions on it all across the spectrum.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some Mass Effect 2 to play on my new PS3...


Tom Badguy said...

I too hated this film. It just wasn't good at all. But I will say that Fassbender was good in it. But it was stupid that the one character I gave a shit about was the damn robot.

Voltech said...

I'm kind of in a weird place with this movie. I didn't buy into the hype, but I went to see it with my brother and a friend because they're fans of the franchise.

My thoughts? In a nutshell, I don't HATE it, but...well, if it had done one more thing wrong, I probably would. I spent about a week and three separate blog posts trying to figure out my feelings and finding a glimmer of hope -- but the more I thought about it, the more I realized the movie really pissed me off.

If there is a sequel -- knowing that Prometheus was the crumbling foundation -- then I'll have all the evidence I need to pass on it.

Also, don't forget that Red Letter Media tackled Prometheus as well.


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