Film Review: PROMETHEUS

Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof
Starring Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Logan Marshall-Green, Idris Elba

Prometheus is a breaktakingly bad movie that uses terrific special effects to mask its deficits. I can’t think of a single original scene or an instance of character development or compelling story telling. When the android is the most interesting and well-developed character, things are in bad shape. I quake at what this film would have been without Michael Fassbender though. And yet, the character is all too familiar—even the pitch of his voice and his body movements.

PLOT: Two scientists believe they have found evidence in cave painting across the world that aliens have been on earth, and in fact, created humankind, before returning home. (Boy, I remember that idea from the TV show IN SEARCH OF ANCIENT ASTRONAUTS back in the seventies or eighties). The aliens in the paintings seem to point to a star. The female scientist (Noomi Rapace) convinces a corporation to finance a trip to locate these creators. As expected, things go wrong. That is really all you need to know plot-wise because it is not about the plot. It is about special effects and goop. The goop is getting all too familiar by now and I doubt anyone over the age of ten was frightened or even surprised by it. Although human fetuses are born in such gelatinous matter, must every alien also be born in a viscous substance? Who decided slime was scary or de rigueur?

The crew on the ship is the usual clichéd bunch, and I hoped the ones spouting the most wooden dialog would be dispatched quickly. Scott or the writers try to throw in Christianity, evolution, romance, and a bunch of other diversions to pump up the notion of depth, but nothing is given enough attention to be salient. It’s a hodgepodge of ALIENS and its follow-ups, 2001, STAR TREK, and even the heroic Pennsylvania plane of 9/11. Maybe Ridley Scott should be allowed to steal from himself with impunity, but the audience ain’t gonna love it.

There were so many annoying aspects it is hard to know where to start. Why use a young person in bad makeup to play an old person unless his youth is eventually going to be revealed as back story or important plot point? Why is it always necessary to have a woman run around scantily clad? What woman gives birth, zips herself up, and takes off running within seconds. Why is every scene, on the ship or off, as dark and dreary as the recent TV series, THE KILLING. There is no point in listing all the deficits because they would only serve as spoilers and spoil things they do. I was never scared, and in some cases needed to muffle a laugh, during this movie. It did not help things that I saw the vastly superior THE AVENGERS the day before. THE AVENGERS proved you could use computerized special effects to enhance a story that already boasted terrific dialog and characters. This movie proved you can try to use them to mask a bad script, but you will fail.

I have read any number of favorable reviews from critics. And I have read many unfavorable reviews from film viewers. I have to wonder if a distinguished director escapes the kind of barbs a new director would have hurtled at him for a film as dull as this one.

Patti
Be sure to stop by http://www.pattinase.blogspot.com/ to check out Forgotten Books every Friday as well as other thoughts, comments and reviews. A collection of her stories, Monkey Justice (Snubnose Press) can be found on Amazon