Monday, July 2, 2012

Prometheus (2012)

Fear 2/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 3/5

By now, you've probably heard a lot about this film. Unless you live under a rock or were never a fan of the Aliens films to begin with (stop reading this blog, just kidding, no really) and have tuned out any and all marketing. The film has been really polarizing with no one taking a middle ground. Viewer's comments vary from the very philosophical (espousing the virtues of various metaphors) to the film being a total mishmash of ideas that go nowhere which ultimately renders the film pointless. Put me squarely into the latter category. I can't remember the last time I was this disappointed by a film going experience.

Warning: spoilers abound.

Our film begins with one of the architects of the world in which our characters and chest bursting aliens live in (hinted at in the original films, now known as Engineers), setting things in motion by contributing to the primordial ooze. The implication being here (I think), that they originated human life.

Flash forward many years and a husband and wife team of archaeologists (Logan Marshall-Green and Noomi Rapace, respectively) uncover ancient cave paintings, that when put together alongside many of civilization's examples, seem to suggest that a group of powerful beings created the universe. The team also infers from these paintings that their creators want to be sought out but who knows why exactly. 'Who knows why exactly' will be a common sentiment as you sit through this film that frustratingly goes nowhere and who's only purpose seems to be to fit into the Aliens universe.


Flash forward in time once again and we see an android named David (Michael Fassbender) on board a ship as he learns about human life through language and cinema. He's also taking care of the crew who are in hyper sleep as they make their way to the 'promised land.' As they begin to awaken from their slumber, we're introduced to the group which includes the husband and wife team and a woman named Vickers (Charlize Theron) who represents the interests of her financier. He was obsessed with getting in touch with these god-like creatures and even in death (or so it seems), he wants this group to prove what he believed all along. Namely, that they were the originators of life on earth.

From here on out, our group explores what seems like intricate tunnels and passageways, coming upon the dead remains of various Engineers who were there at one point. But what killed them all? They come to the horrifying realization as various crew members come into contact with canisters of black goo and foreign bodies which seek to take over their physical selves.


The problem with the film is two-fold: there are too many story threads running through it which are never tied together (read: tons of plots holes) and the film, while philosophical on some levels (i.e. man is undeserving of what it has been given), never answers any of the questions the viewer grapples with by film's end. As such, the film expects entirely too much of the viewer (in terms of deciphering what it all means) but offers little in return. There just isn't enough here to grasp on to.

Maybe more answers will come in the next films (which will definitely happen) but I don't expect them to. The closing scene alone points to the film existing for one thing and one thing only: to bring us into the Aliens universe. But as my movie going buddy said to me 'Despite how much I was monumentally let down by this (seriously, 30 years for this?), I will probably see the sequel.' And dammit if I didn't agree with him. I think that speaks to the power of the franchise and how much we love it.

Cortez the Killer

5 comments:

Sir Phobos said...

The more I think about the movie, the bigger its problems seem to me. I really need to see the director's cut. I don't think it will fix everything, but hopefully some of the big missteps will be addressed. Like, please just delete the part where the geologist treats the face-hugger thing like a kitten. Just get rid of that and make an entirely new scene. Man, that was awful.

The Film Connoisseur said...

I was one of the ones who loved this movie, personally, I didn't find any plot holes, I thought it had a lot of unanswered questions, true, but not plot holes, what say you?

In terms of the film being philosophical, I agree it is, and I loved that about it! I am currently thinking of writing yet another article (more extensive than my review for it) that analyzes the films themes, I will be posting it in the coming days.

I'll do this because I recently re-watched this movie and just need to talk about what it's all about without having to worry about giving away any spoilers.

Agree with you, I will definetly be watching a sequel if it is ever made, the possibilities that the ending of the film leaves us with are awesome!

Planet of Terror said...

@Sir Phobos, the problems are many and hard to overlook. I think that's another reason why I wasn't able to enjoy it as much as I'd hoped. And that scene WAS ridiculous. Like how could he think it would be anything less than unfriendly?

@TFC,thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts my friend. I always look forward to hearing your thoughts about anything.

**SPOILER ALERT**

Plot holes (to name a few):
- Why did David infect Charlie's drink?

- How did all of the Engineers die but none of the aliens which killed them could be found? If the aliens killed them (as suggested by the dead bodies), why wasn't the ship teeming with them?

- Don't know if this is a plot hole exactly more than it just didn't make any sense: why the different permutations of alien?

The last scene alone irritated me to no end. Like the purpose of the whole film was to make it somehow align with the aliens universe. To me, it negated everything that came before it. It felt cheap. I would have been much more satisfied had that scene not played out and we were left with the question: so is it or is it not a part of this larger universe?

I think it could have been a more interesting film if this scene was left out and a few more direct answers were given.

The Film Connoisseur said...

Hey POT:

I think David infected Charlie because Weyland sent David to find out as much as he could about the different Alien life forms. Weyland was just curious about everything; he main goal was to find something that would elongate his life; David was experimenting for Weyland. The crew of Prometheus was expendable in the eyes of Weyland, typical behaviour of the corporation on all movies.

Once they recover the Engineers head and begin studying it, one of the scientists mentions that the events that killed The Engineers had happened thousands of years ago, everyone had died by then, even the aliens that attacked the engineers.

The different stages of the alien has always been a constant since the first alien films. The alien itself is always mutating from one form to another, from facehugger to xenomorgph...these aliens are always changing because a lot depends on which host they grow in.

To me it didnt feel cheap at all, it connected with the rest of the films perfectly. The aliens as we knew them in the first films were the perfect killing machine, they were what the Engineers created to anhilate our race and any other that they chose to wipe out. Basically, the aliens as we know them are really biological weapons; set loose upon a planet whenever necessary. They just got of the engineers hands, their creations turned on them.

The thing with Prometheus is that Scott wanted to make a sci-fi film that stood on it's own yet still had some cnnections to the previous Alien films, I think he achieved it. I loved the fact that we got a sci-fi film that pretty much stood on its own, yet had that familiarity to it.

Also, the questions the film asks where great in my book because they leave an open door for future films.

I wrote an article (apart from my review for the film) where I analyze in depth many of the themes on Prometheus, you can check it out if it peaks your interest.

Planet of Terror said...

Great points all around TFC. Now you make me want to watch it a 2nd time. Perhaps after a second viewing I'll be kinder.