Rewatched Jun 08, 2012
Marcin Wichary’s review:
It was perhaps unavoidable that Prometheus would disappoint given the colossal expectations, but then again it was Ridley Scott’s decision to tie it so closely to Alien. If you never saw the original, the prequel must be a puzzling mess. If you did – it’ll be a puzzling mess still, but also a fascinating case study. Either way, though, it won’t be that good of a movie.
Some individual pieces in Prometheus approach brilliance. The beginning harks back to great first-contact sci-fi in its grandiose scope and ambition. The production values, the sets, the special effects, that rare feeling you’re inside a universe that actually exists are all here, top-notch, arguably even setting new standards. And the tense moments are truly enthralling and masterfully done; I found myself literally gasping for air a number of times.
Where the movie falls apart, though, is in its portrayal of our heroes and their interactions. Literally no one in Prometheus makes any sense as a human being. Unclear motivations, 180-degree personality changes, random behaviour as necessitated by plot requirements – it’s all so bad you start wondering whether the movie has some sort of movie Asperger’s, having profound difficulties in understanding people, and just throwing in The Epic Music Theme in Major or Minor whenever it wants to evoke particular emotions.
And then, the prequel factor. Some of the numerous ties to Alien here are creative and wonderfully satisfying. Others, however, smack of pattern matching, rote memorization, and desperate fan service. It is fun to think through everything that happened afterwards (you bet there will be tons of sites analyzing every single detail linking all the movies) but it seems like the proverbial lipstick on a bulldog – just stockpiling references and mysteries to cover up for blatant holes in plot, the arbitrary and selective technology, and some trite dialogue and contrived subplots.
In the end, I couldn’t shake a feeling Prometheus landed much closer to Star Wars prequels than we all expected, made by Scott perhaps not as much out of love for the original material, but some need to prove himself or maybe even pay himself a tribute. I saw this twice, and the second viewing was better. By then, however, I knew I was about to watch a failed experiment.