Watched Jun 09, 2012
Corey Pierce’s review:
So I'll let myself fall off the beaten path and talk about what's already happening with this movie. An interesting battle line is starting to emerge. There are some going very far over the top about how they were blown away, and there are some who are treating this like the worst movie ever made. Here comes a stream of consciousness rant:
I would love to fast forward 5 years and see what the consensus becomes. If this will have eventually earned a reputation like Dark City as a modern sci fi classic, or if it will have been "Indy 4'd" - that is, like a number of other movies, be a generally positive reviewed film (This is 74% on RT. Indy 4 is still 77%. Episode 3 is 80%) that gradually earned a reputation as "worst. movie. ever." by the same loud group of Internet folks that have to divide all franchise sequels and prequels into "best/worst" with absolutely no shades of grey or concessions. X-Men 3, Spider-Man 3, Revenge of the Sith, Alien 3 and 4, the Matrix sequels... from the way the Internet operates you think you'd think everyone agrees that these movies have no merits whatsoever, in some cases "raped their childhood" or "don't exist" , when it's really just a core section of Internet culture that in my opinion has had to start bullying consensus, gotten increasingly fascist, and has preset checkboxes of what certain films and franchises must deliver before they even see the films and judge them on their own merits. The second a new director or writer is introduced to a project you can hear the Internet collectively light their torches. And if you create an uber-success, they will ready themselves to tear down your next project the moment it shows any weakness. Being not as good is not acceptable. Being not as good now becomes "It's shit." Am I alone in noticing that the Batman franchise has a number of people sharpening their knives looking to be first in line to trash the Dark Knight Rises once it is released? It's already been decided by some that they peaked with the Joker, and that Avengers was awesome, so it's time to bring Nolan down a peg. I don't like this feeling, and if there's one thing about Internet film culture I wish would stop, it would be punishing good filmmakers for their past successes. Smaller films and new franchises are getting treated on such different terms than established ones. Different sized hurdles for the same grade. And it's just thankless - play it too safe with the franchise and they'll trash you for having to save Mary Jane again and finally let you truly have it for the Batman voice they let slide the first 2 times... get too weird or creative and you're even more fucked.
So let's ignore franchise baggage when you look at my 5 stars for Prometheus, assuming that it comes from me thinking it is some masterpiece or on par with Alien,or just trying to make a statement about revisiting franchises well. I think I had realistic expectations considering the middling dreck that Ridley Scott has been putting out for the last decade, took all the TED talks videos and ads with a grain of salt and not let the pre-release mythology build up too much. Considering Lindelof's involvement, I instead saw the LOST inter-season promo videos setup as the model of what to expect: A bunch of good and/or unique actors doing some basic thriller work with some implied overtones and interesting ideas that are not deeply explored or revealed, and may even be saying something by not going there. And it will look super nice.
That's what Prometheus is to me. One thing I dug about LOST towards the end was how each person you met who you thought would know everything, really knew nothing, and was just another schmuck in a futile search for answers. It pissed off some of the audience but there was some commentary there, not 100% intended but definitely there in some form, and was key in how sad Locke's death really was. It's here. We'll go find our creators, and they'll kind of suck, and we'll have to kill them in order to live another day and be able to keep looking. The quest was pretty much worthless, and what happens is punishment for putting your desire for truth at the expense of the safety of others. It's a bit anti-intellectual, maybe even grating to some, but a point of view I value, similarly to how I value Mike Judge's satire of easy left wing stereotypes. And it's something that for me is the heart of a lot of science fiction - if you could go find your creators, should you? We can make dinosaurs, androids of little boys and handsome middle aged men - both strangely enough named David - but should we? Again, not all that deeply explored or revealed, but its there, and it makes me connect more with these characters, much as I do in LOST, as familiar archetypes. I'm with them. I'm watching them fail to learn, just as many before them did as well. I watch them fail to appreciate that the strange organic technology is not at all different than the one they are bringing along. Only David recognizes it. These biologists make dumb decisions, and I liked that.
And of course, it looks super nice. I don't think this takes a lot of convincing. It's a truly beautiful film. A lot of fucked up shit happens, visual bombast and immersive worldbuilding galore, stuff that I truly appreciate whether it's this, Avatar, or less kindly reviewed films such as Speed Racer, Tron Legacy or John Carter. There's a few jaw dropping "So this is happening" moments and laughably fun action movie BS. The more dense a movie is with good stuff, the more kind I will be towards stuff like Charlize Theron saying "...Father", or the old man makeup.
So I'm giving this thing 5 stars on the buzz. I got the big fuzzy buzz that we all want to leave the theater with. You can't deny the buzz when it's there. I will sit and watch the nitpicks and plot hole accusations come a-flying, and maybe on rewatch this gets knocked down some. I don't think the feeling could be recreated in non-IMAX 2D, let alone at home. But I truly appreciate and live for theatrical experiences like Prometheus, and don't feel one bit sorry for people who might fit into the negative mold I outlined above, with preset requirements and baggage for what would make this film acceptable. I don't mean to deny anyone's right to hate on this film - I've already read some great negative reviews - but if the shoe happens to fit, your "raped my childhood" BS will be ignored in favor of more considered, intellectually honest critiques. Prometheus deserves better.