With a script shrouded and secrecy, and a heavyweight director attached, fans have been salivating at the prospect of Ridley Scott's latest prospect of Prometheus. They needn't have been..
To say that Prometheus couldn’t come soon enough is like saying that the Jubilee will only be a small affair; just the immediate family only. It’s been a long time since there was a decent addition to the Alien franchise, especially after Alien: Resurrection’s ridiculous offerings, which is something we can never forgive Joss Whedon for. So it’s easy to see why fans of the original Alien would be excited that Ridley Scott was going to, hopefully, bring some massive realignment to a franchise which has lost it’s way slightly of late.
Unfortunately, and it causes actual, physical pain to write this, Prometheus only stands to fragment what was already established within Alien and asks more questions, which are ultimately left unanswered. Perhaps to fill in a number of sequels, and create an amazingly textured trilogy which only makes the original films so infinitely better, but as it stands, the only texture that Prometheus adds is old velour wallpaper thats torn a little around the edges.
To have such a disappointing reaction to Prometheus isn’t down to just one factor however; there is a lot that is wrong with this film, but obviously spoiling the plot in it’s entirety by talking about how redundant some plot points are is going to ruin it for you, so this will be a spoiler free zone so you can still see the film and gasp in horror at all the right parts.
The dialogue is too heavy at some points, and at others totally needless
One of the largest problems that Prometheus suffers is the poor script. Without even comparing it to Alien, Prometheus has Titanic sized holes in it’s plot, which only serves to drag the sorry carcass under long before you’ll get up from your seat, scratching your head in disbelief. Discounting things that might have some relevance in later films, because this is a film that is playing the long game (writer Damon Lindelof has said that the next two films will further tangentialize even further away from Alien), there are lots of things that happen that, not only make little sense, but have no impact.
Characters die and shuffle off LV-223, but no one reacts to them, even when they are massive parts of the main protagonist’s character journey. The dialogue is too heavy at some points, and at others totally needless, and at one point, even breaks one of the cardinal sins of cinematography, by telling us one of the major plot points instead of showing us. Which could be forgiven under someone else’s watch perhaps, but for Ridley Scott to use such heavy handed tactics lessens what faith we might have had in his skills at one time.
If you’re unfamiliar with Ridley Scott’s pacing, then it will seem at times to be on a Go Slow, but don’t worry because thats typical Scott fare. He always takes his time working towards the action pieces. That’s his directorial style. Luckily, perhaps one of the few saving graces of this film are Ridley Scott’s recurrent themes. There’s strong female characters (however two dimensional they might be acted by Charlize Theron and Noomi Rapace), the typical Father/Son conflict, with an added Father/Daughter and Brother/Sister conflict for good measure (even culminating in a nifty twist on the slightly Oedipal murder of the Father by the Son).
By the end, after you’ve had the emotional conclusion and cliff hangers, you’ll not really want to follow the journey anymore
One of the stand out aspects has to be Fassbender’s David. Almost verging on Blade Runner territory by making us doubt our knowledge that he is an android, and instead make us whisper to our viewing partner that we don’t think he’s an android at all. Only to change our minds half an hour later when he gets relieved of his head in typical Alien style. David Weyland takes Rick Deckard, pins him to the floor and teaches him a thing or two about what it means to possibly be an android, but also at the same time possibly being an human. In fact, he could probably teach most of the cast of The Only Way Is Essex about being human as well.
Prometheus doesn’t feel like just another blockbuster. It’s a very ambitious idea, wrapped in sometimes stunning sequences, that’s only let down by a script that doesn’t focus long enough on the more interesting facets of what it means to make creator of all life on Earth and instead glosses over not explaining the simplest of things to the viewer. There are genuinely exciting moments (one set piece in particular is spectacularly gruesome and continues the long running Mother theme seen in all of the Alien films) that will stick with you for a little while, but by the end, after you’ve had the emotional conclusion and cliff hangers, you’ll not really want to follow the journey anymore. Unfortunately using Ridley Scott’s name to garner confidence and the enforced secrecy surrounding the plot was childish and unnecessary. Using the fans’ interest to intellectually blackmail into turning up and them giving them a very poor film is underhand.
Watch it if you’d really like to, but if you want some definite answers about what happened before Alien, don’t bother. You’ll only be disappointed and £30 worse off.
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