Friday, June 15, 2012

Promtheus Review Part 2: The Spoiler Edition

So, here's the thing about Prometheus: it had the potential to be a really epic science fiction story. In fact, the first two thirds are very much more 2001 rather than Alien. Instead of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre In Space" Prometheus dared to ask some very profound questions about the origins of humanity as well as where we're going. However, instead of answers, we were given more questions (typical of Lindelof scripting...).

Prometheus is far from being a perfect film. This is obvious in the many things I find questionable about the film. This is actually saddening to me because it's very clear Ridley Scott wanted to tell an original science fiction story that was supposed to inspire questions on who we are as a species and our place in the universe while also scaring the pants off of us.

This movie does make you ask these questions but also brings up questions pertaining to the characters' intelligence as there are some really questionable actions taken in this film. Take the two redshirts who get lost in the alien ship. Near the beginning of the film these two guys seem to be particularly genre savvy when the team encounters a dead Engineer. They freak out and decide to head back to the ship only to get lost in the catacombs.

The first issue I have with this is that one of these redshirts is the very same guy who owns the probes that are mapping out the structure. So this guy is the one with the map and he still gets lost? Oh, and did I mention this guy is also a stoner with a bong built into his space suit? While it makes sense that a stoned moron would get himself lost in an alien ship it still doesn't make sense because the map can be also used by the folks on the Prometheus as well. So it'd be simple to not get lost considering. Yet these guys do.

So the two stoned idiot redshirts have to spend the night in the creepy alien complex. They continue to freak out at the very idea of running into an alien (which is the only smart thing these guys do) and then decide to spend that night in the creepy room with a giant Engineer head and hundreds of vases sweating alien death goo. Of course, like any other horror film, there are some alien monsters slithering in the goo. This is when things get stupid.

So when a two foot long alien snake rears its Freudian head out of the goo instead of maintaining consistency of character the two redshirts try to PET THE ALIEN!

Because who wouldn't pet this thing?

Of course it doesn't help that this alien is giving very clear signs that it doesn't want to be fucked with like hissing and flaring up like a cobra. You know, the universal signs for "Don't fucking touch me you stoner idiot!" Of course, the redshirts don't get the message and promptly die horrible deaths.

Then there's Halloway's idiocy. It doesn't help that Halloway comes off as an annoying prick who wears sandals on a space ship (I'm not even joking about this, he wears fucking sandals). He is the first to take his helmet off when they realize the atmosphere is breathable. Of course the others try to tell him not to but he merely responds with "I'm not wearing this thing anymore!" Because who needs a helmet when you've got sandals? It's not like there's and alien plague that can mutate you into an alien monstrosity. (He gets infected by an alien plague. Big surprise...)

Then there's the lack of interconnectedness and logic that the last act of the movie has. This starts when Shaw learns she's pregnant with Halloway's mutant alien progeny. This leads to the movies most memorable scene where she goes to the med-pod to get the damn thing out via a cesarean. The only problem is that it isn't a cesarean. The damn machine is only calibrated for males! This raises so many questions on its own. Firstly, it's Vickers who owns that med-pod. Vickers, who is very clearly a woman, has an emergency medical pod that only works for male patients. Why? This doesn't even feel necessary. It only adds a whole five more seconds to the scene. She gets the cesarean anyway!

So after this scene Shaw crawls into a nearby lab and finds David tending to a still living Peter Weyland (played by Guy Pearce in old dude makeup)! Why is he played by Guy Pearce in old dude makeup? (It turns out that it's tied to cut scenes in the movie where he is shown as his younger self, which makes some sense.) It doesn't help that Back To The Future's old dude makeup still kicks the crap out of the makeup work done here (seriously it's not good). It turns out Peter Weyland wants to ask for more life from his creators (like the parallels to Blade Runner here) and plans on waking up the last living Engineer on the planet to do so. Shaw warns him that the Engineers aren't interested in humanity's survival. Of course she fails to make her point by saying that she gave birth to an alien squid thanks to the alien death goo. The thing isn't mentioned again until Shaw uses it to kill the Engineer in the climax.

Oh, and Shaw never really minds running around after her surgery. Like an emergency not-cesarean is something you just walk off. This could be hand waved with futuristic medicine as touted in the Weyland Industries website but it still feels wrong.

Like I said before, the last half of this movie feels like a jumbled mess of different screenwriters' ideas. And the last act of the movie is undoubtedly a mess. But the first two thirds are still very good.

Case in point: David's introduction is by far the most memorable scene in the movie (behind the cesarean scene). David himself is by far the most memorable character, in fact, I wished David was the protagonist of this movie. It would've given this movie an interesting twist had the focus been on David as he helps mankind try to find answers to their origins. It would've been interesting to have David face the horrors these Engineers created to destroy humanity. To have mankind's salvation under the threat of their creators be their very own creation. It would've been an interesting look into the themes of creation, destruction, and godhood as well as promote an understandable reason for the Engineers' desire to destroy mankind: Mankind has the potential to create and reach the level of their creators, and that scares the shit out of the Engineers. David is proof of mankind's potential to create in their own image, just like the Engineers, and he is immune to their weapons of mass destruction (as seen by his handling of the alien death goo).

You see, already it looks like there is the potential for a great film here. It's that potential that keeps me interested in seeing what they do with any potential sequel. After all, David is still alive, and it looks like he'll be getting his head back onto his body considering Shaw hauled it out of the wreckage of the Engineer ship along with his head. David is the reason I hope for a sequel, because he is the key to making Prometheus more than a prequel/spin-off to Alien. David is the key to turning the series Prometheus starts into something that could be the next Blade Runner, if not a truly epic science fiction film franchise.

If you feel like commenting on anything in this portion of the review, feel free to do so. I welcome your own opinions and would love to discuss this film in greater detail.

Image from and is property of 20th Century Fox.

1 comment:

  1. Very great to look at and features a spot-on direction from Scott, but it seems like there was too many missed opportunities for this flick to be great. Instead, it just went for ok and that’s what bummed me out. Still, can’t say I didn’t enjoy myself. Nice review Tom.