Film Review: Prometheus
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I don’t often go to the movies. I think the last new release I saw was Cabin In The Woods, and before that it was probably the last Batman movie that came out a few years ago. Stories these days aren’t all that thought-provoking, and it feels like everyone in the theater is checking their cell phone throughout the screening. I can stand to wait for a DVD or Netflix 95% of the time people tell me there’s a new movie I should see. Oh, except for when I saw Titanic 3-D — that was a male-bonding adventure and a pre-cursor to a memorable Boys Night Out. Plus I was able to use a free ticket, and then the 3D projector broke so I earned another free ticket to use in the future. It was almost like I didn’t see a movie that night!
My point is, movies these days are usually terrible. I don’t know if we’re all just hurtling towards a dumbed-down society more quickly than I thought, or people just don’t care as much about stories as they do things exploding or looking “pretty” for a few hours while they turn off their minds. What I do know is, I’ve been trying not to drink so much lately, so when someone asked if I wanted to spend my Friday night seeing a new movie, I decided it might be fun. I knew nothing about the film in question, I wouldn’t have to stand around a bunch of hipster douchebags at a bar, and $13.50 plus popcorn is about six-times cheaper than my regular bar tab. So, sure. I told my friend I’d go see this new Sci-Fi movie Prometheus.
SPOILER ALERT: I GIVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THE FILM AWAY RIGHT NOW.
What a waste of money. I don’t really want to waste my time trying to sum Prometheus up for you, just so you can have a frame of reference for the shit I’m about to sling at it. I’ll just pull some choice sentences from the Wikipedia entry that should help set the scene, so to speak. An archaeologist couple seventy-five years from now stumbles upon an ancient futuristic cave drawing, it’s identical to ones found among the ruins of prior civilizations that have nothing to do with each other, so obviously that means we were created by aliens and now we know how to find them. They join a one-trillion dollar expedition go to the planet and search for signs of life, and then they screw with the planet and it kills ’em all one by one until there’s just one person left. And one robot. That’s about the gist of it, I think.
The first part of the space flight is piloted by a robot, while everyone else is in deep-space sleep for two years. The robot is introduced as a kind of a HAL figure but in human form. There’s an emotional void to the robot, but maybe something sinister lurks beneath the surface. Doesn’t matter. Within the first thirty minutes the robot is making all kinds of emotional decisions and statements that completely invalidate the fact that it’s supposed to be a soulless robot. Like every other character in the film, you’ll leave the theater asking, “By the way, what was that character’s purpose?” The robot is owned by Charlize Theron, who herself is an ice princess whose development arch moves towards her being your typical coldblooded businesswoman who doesn’t care about anyone she’s hired for this adventure…but then at the end she grows a heart and dies and…wait, what was the purpose of her character again? She had a special room in the spaceship with a surgery machine that could perform any surgical procedure known to man? Surely there was another way that could have been introduced without having a textbook shady corporate executive to talk about it. Theron also delivers the single most-hilarious line-read in the film with her totally out-of-left-field “Father!” remark.
For a long time, the question lingers…is there intelligent life on this planet? Or are there just worms that get inside you and turn you into crazy worm-zombies like that guy with the bong in his spacesuit. What was the point of having that guy on the expedition, anyway? He brought those little flying robots that could explore the entire alien tomb/compound/whatever-that-was and report back detailed data about the exact layout of the place, but he couldn’t use that data to…not get lost? I mean, if he has those robots telling him exactly how far point A is from point B, and what’s at point A and what’s at point B, why does he get lost? Just so he can die and turn into the weird worm-zombie? Pointless. Oh, and what about his stupid hipster partner? Why did that guy get all, “Look at this worm, it’s beautiful!” right before it kills him. Really? That’s the type of stupid shit a rational person — dare I say a scientist of the future — can be expected to do? Whyyyyyyyyyyy!
The girl archaeologist is a believer that the aliens are there waiting to deliver the answers about the meaning of life and why they created humans, even if she wears a cross throughout the film and treats her faith in God just as importantly as she does her faith in the aliens who engineered human beings. Meanwhile, her “bro” husband — whose entire life seemed to revolve around making this discovery of alien intelligent life — turns into a depressed alcoholic for absolutely no reason once they get to the planet and realize they were probably right about the aliens creating Earth and inhabiting it with Earthlings. Then he dies — after delivering a classic, “Love ya babe!” sayonara to his wife just before he goes — and you’re left wondering, “What was the point of that guy, anyway?” Are you sensing a theme here?
Wait a minute, I missed something really important. The film opens with an alien standing at the precipice of a waterfall in a mountainous setting (is that supposed to be Earth? Or his home planet?) then he unlocks this weird magic ball thing and takes a shot of whatever liquid is inside. His skin melts, or his insides blow up, or whatever, and he falls down into the water. Who that guy was or why he committed suicide is never answered. Cool.
Which leads me to my biggest problem with the film. Whatever, let’s pretend character development doesn’t matter in filmmaking anymore. All those people’s motives not making any sense, or the fact that our world’s pre-eminent ”scientists” make only baffling, idiotic decisions even though they’ve got 75 years more experience AND technology on us can be easily ignored if you’re not the type of person who…you know…likes to get invested in shit like that. The big problem with this film is that it asks a whole bunch of questions and doesn’t answer any of them.
Probably because it was written by Damon Lindelof, who pretty much took the idea of LOST and turned it into a show that asked a ton of questions and then either didn’t answer them or gave you shitty answers. Which is to say, if you liked Season 6 of LOST you’ll probably enjoy this film. Everyone else? Good luck.
I mean, after all, how hard is it to answer the meaning of life and the purpose of faith and human existence!? Apparently it takes a shade over two hours not to answer any of those things, but as long as they introduce the alien from the first Alien movie at the end, who cares, amiright?
Guess what? They find the last living alien on the planet by the end of the film, and then they awaken it. Fools. Charlize Theron makes sure to tell the archaeologist woman that she’s brought her along on the trip because of her faith in the existence of the aliens. So if they find aliens, Theron wants the girl to see them. Just make sure she doesn’t ask them any questions. She literally says, “Please don’t say anything to the aliens, please.” Or something like that. So, of course, when the alien awakens and sets about trying to destroy Earth like it was supposed to oh-so-many years ago, archaeologist girl sees her opportunity to ask the big important questions about life and purpose and faith. So what does she scream at the alien, as its killing everyone around her while they stand in its way?
“Why do you hate us!?”
Wouldn’t be my first question, but fine, it just ripped the head off a robot and killed an old man. Given the circumstances, I could see someone thinking that it would be a rational first question. Naturally, the alien’s bad temper is supposed to be our indicator that — surprise! — questions will not get answered. Which of course, begs the question, what is the point of this fucking movie?
Answer: In the last five seconds of the film one alien creature defeats another alien creature, and out of the blood and guts of one things rises…the alien from the first Alien movie. Get it? That’s the whole point of this fucking movie. It’s 123 minutes of absolute bullshit, terribly conceived, horribly written and utterly pointless…but then at the last second they show you an alien and you’re supposed to feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth. Because know you know what planet Sigourney Weaver is on and why she’s gone there in the first Alien movie. That seems like a good enough reason as any to see a movie these days, right?
To it’s credit, Prometheus had two things going for it. First, the visuals. It was a really great looking Sci-Fi movie. The space shit was cool, the planet looked cool, and if I wasn’t there to spend my time trying to follow a story I could have at least stared off into the distance and been impressed by the visuals. Alas, the official definition of a movie might be limited to a series of moving images…but sometimes those images are there to tell a story, not just look cool. Also, the chick giving herself an abortion so she wouldn’t birth an alien baby was pretty great. Other than that? Stay away. Or find it for free somewhere. Make a friend rent it on Netflix and get really high and make fun of all the stupid characters. That’s about all Prometheus is good for.
Also Stringer Bell from The Wire is up there in space. I hope he was paid well for acting in that piece of shit.
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