Prometheus Spoiler Filled Review
Spoiler filled review of the Sci-Fi blockbuster "Prometheus."
Obviously spoilers below.
Legendary director Ridley Scott, latest endeavor into the science fiction brings his audience back into the universe of one of his most famous films, "Alien." While the internet has been heated recently with the debate on whether it’s a prequel or not, "Prometheus" is a stand alone film and requires no previous viewing of, "Alien," to enjoy.
"Prometheus" is about a team of scientists that travel through the cosmos on the spaceship Prometheus. Their goal on this mission is to investigate the possibility of Alien life forms and their possible involvement with the creation of life on earth. The team of scientists lands on this isolated world, and struggle to survive as it becomes clear that the horrors they experience are not just a threat to themselves, but to all of humankind.
The film stars an A-list cast which include, Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, and Guy Pearce. The screenplay was written by Jon Spaihts and Lost show runner Damon Lindelof.
SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT
The films narrative has strong and weak points to it. The strength relies on the mystery and anticipation of this exotic planet and the possible extinction of the creatures that once inhabited it. A vast amount of intrigue is felt as you become interested in what happened to the engineers and to their world. Not to mention the morally ambiguous David actions while, discovering what his true goals and loyalties are. There are multiple breathtaking scenes in which Scott shows he is a master at building tension and suspense. Particularly the Elizabeth Shaw scene, in which she must rid herself of a creature by giving herself abortion. The scene is both frightening and tension filled and is a scene in which you will literally be on the edge or your seat. However, there becomes a point in which the film stops trying to develop characters and rather begins to kill each one off one by one. It turns into a slasher horror film that's more interested in awing the audience with cool deaths rather than interesting character dynamics. This hurts the film because in order for the deaths to resonate any emotion you have to care about the characters, but the majority of the time in this film I despised the characters so much that I rooted for there deaths, rather than caring that they died. Another narrative weakness was the fact they hid Vickers identity as Peter Weylands daughter. Why was this necessary to hide this information from the audience? If she would have told the crew that she was his daughter would it have changed anything? Not to mention why did Peter Weyland feel the need to tell the crew he was dead? He was financing the mission if he wanted to accompany them I do not think Elizabeth would have minded and if she would have then he could have threatened to pull their budget. These are two very cheap ploys to trick the audience when there is not a reason to. The proof of this is the fact that once its revealed Weyland is on board no one seems to mind, so if no one minded that he lied about his death and was on board why would they have minded if he would have joined them in the first place? The ending was disappointing as it seems more worried in setting up the possibility of a sequel than concluding the narrative and philosophical ideas addressed in the film. Not to mention the reveal of the, “engineer” was the most disappointing as the whole film is leading up to this discovery and garnering mass anticipation but unfortunately it is nothing more than any other “movie monster,” that answers no questions and provides no insight to the audience but is merely there to rip heads off and create another obstacle for the crew to overcome.
Ridley Scott showed again why he is a legend, because the visuals in this film are the best I have seen since Avatar. The environment while somewhat small, it has a massive amount of detail and enriching substance. The sets and caverns are in a sense characters themselves immersing the viewer into another planet with ease. Done on a surprisingly low budget (120 million).
Promethues’ biggest blunders and successes seemed to both exist in the films amounting need to exclaim intriguing philosophical and existential qualms about existence, religion, immortality, and the “meaning” of life. This is obviously a major aspect of the film and I think we can relate most of these philosophical issues between the humans and the android David. As humans are to the engineers as David is to us (meaning we created David). As the whole point of the journey is the humans seeking their creator for “answers” to why we (humans) were created and what was the purpose of our creation. While Weyland is seeking them for immortality. David who obviously knows his creator and does not feel the need to ask these questions, because there are no answers (which he is a robot and programed, so he may have been programed to not have these doubts). This is demonstrated at a point in the film in which David is conversing with Charlie Holloway, before he gives him the black goo, and demonstrates that there may be no reason for human to exist. That the engineers may have created them just because they can. While the answer to this is never fully realized within the context of the film I feel we can further analyze this as maybe there is no reason for our existence as the engineer at the end of the film was on his way to destroy us and didn’t seem particularly interested in conversing with anyone. However, I do not know if this is the answer. Noomi Rapace’s character provides an interesting religious aspect in regards to faith as she is a believer in God and seems to have strong faith. Her faith in God and other things has an interesting development in the film as she seems to have strong faith in the beginning, then loses it at times, and then at the end of the film after everyone dies and she goes through an extremely emotional ordeal somehow regains her faith (this can shown with her cross necklace). This represents a relation of faith and reason and is interesting particularly due to the fact Rapace’s character significantly puts her faith in the wrong people or ideas whether it be the Weyland corporation, her archeological findings, her belief the “engineers” will be peaceful and forthcoming with information, and that there is ultimately an answer. These people or ideas continually make her life and mission worse and because of this she loses her faith. However, at the end of the film she regains it despite having gone though that emotionally devastating mission. This can be seen through the wearing of the cross and her reaffirmation to continue to search for answers at the end. Which honestly is puzzling to me because searching for these engineers and putting her faith in these people and ideals continually turns out bad for her however, at the end she seems to learn nothing from this and wants to continue to search for answers. Are writers trying to make a point about human ignorance? As David doesn’t seem to hold the same sentiment as Elizabeth or is there another message that I am missing out on? Peter Weyland is an interesting even though unimportant and unnecessary character. The reason for this is because he funded the expedition and accompanied them to seek immortality but seemed uninterested in discovering the meaning of life or human existance. This is reminiscent of Gilgamesh in a sense as the man doesn’t care why he lives but just wants to exist. He ignores the reasons Elizabeth and Charlie are there, “for answers,” he is there merely to keep surviving. However, Charlie and Elizabeth aren’t at the end of their life so we can certainly see why there priorities are different. The film has a lot of interesting ideas and concepts which are introduced throughout the film but unfortunately no clear answer is ever resolved to even any of these. Which is frustrating but makes sense as one of the writers was from Lost a show notorious for ending with a multitude of unanswered questions.
The acting was phenomenal, particularly Fassbender. Personally, I felt Elizabeth’s character was the only likable character and Fassbender was the only interesting character. However, a character I felt had an underrated story arc was that of Elizabeth’s lover, Charlie Holloway. At first he is an arrogant prick and once he is infected by David he continually puts the mission in even further jeopardy by wanting to stay in the field with his illness. However, upon arriving back at the ship he sacrifices himself to save everyone else which I felt was surprising considering his previous actions in the film. It shows his willingness to sacrifice himself to keep the mission afloat and more importantly save Elizabeth who through this action you can tell he genuinely cared far. A character I wished received more screen time was that of Janek, Idris Elba character. While on screen he brings some of the few humorous moments in the film and his charisma makes his one dimensional character more interesting than he should be. Guy Pearce gives a great performance as Peter Weyland but yet again, you never really get a sense of who he is. His character has one goal which is to gain immortality and will not let reason, logic, or his daughter stand in his way. His daughter, Vickers is nothing more than a mean boss who is there to try and maintain order and follow protocol.
Ultimately the biggest fault with Prometheus is the vast amount of plot holes and uncharacteristic decisions by the individuals in the movie. Remember this isn’t a typical slasher film were the characters are nothing more than just dumb high school students. Seeing that these are geniuses/PhD scientists, one would assume some of the smartest people on the planet so I do not find these complaints as “nit-picks” as some might say but rather just lazy writing. The characters Fifield and Millburn are involved in a big plot-hole and a massive uncharacteristic decision. The plot-hole being how did these characters ever get lost? How could they get lost with an entire crew of people inside their spaceship monitoring their positions. How could no one on the deck hear them say they wanted to go back on the ship or give them directions back to the surface. This is simply a result of bad writing as they wanted them to get lost or be stuck in the cave and them “getting lost,” was just an easy way to accomplish this despite it happening in a illogical fashion. Fifield and Millburn also go completely against their “frightful” characters when they are stuck inside the alien spaceship and decide to pet a slimy snakelike alien. We know they’re scared because they were terrified by the decapitated alien and ran inside the room filled with black goo when Janek mentioned the probe was picking up life forms. However, when confronted by a giant unknown alien which did not seem “cute” at all but rather nightmarish, Millburn goes completely against character of being a complete fearful wuss and continually tries to pet it. Now, while this scene is cliche in its own right what makes it puzzling is how these characters are established early in the film as scared. Which makes his character to somehow lose this fear when confronted with a scary alien extremely bewildering. Another unnecessary uncharacteristic decision was when Vickers kept running in a straight line away from a circular ship instead of running to the side and she did this for a long time. While Shaw was able to escape the ship after falling down and merely rolling to on her side few times. While this isn’t important to the overall story it is just another moment where you have to ask yourself what the hell were they thinking to do that gorgeous scene with such an utter pedestrian decision by a seemingly intelligent character. Lastly and sadly the biggest plot-hole(s) in the film unfortunately coincides with the films best scene which is the Elizabeth’s self-abortion scene. When Shaw aborts herself why doesn’t she alert anyone to what happened and tell them to destroy the alien octopus or try to kill it herself. When Shaw escapes from the crew to access the machine she has to immobilize two other crew members however, just a few hours later when they accompany her on their final mission to the alien cavern no one brings up the fact that the attack occurred. The other major issue is how many things are left unaddressed in the film. Such as, why were the Engineers running away from a threat to go inside the cargo room instead of another non-dead-end option? What happened to the other alien ships? Was the threat attack all the engineers ships at the same time? So it would have made it impossible for one of them to escape? Why was there still one living Engineer inside the spaceship? The alien spaceships have been underground for more than 2000 years; did no one back home want to see what happened? What is the purpose of those random pixelated flashbacks of the Engineer crew running? Why was everyone so relaxed about finding out the biggest revelation of human history?
Overall, Promethues is a film that has a massive ambition with an epic landscape, atmosphere and breathtaking visuals combined with great performances is at times both engaging intellectually and emotionally. However, massive plot holes, lazy writing, underdeveloped characters, and a disappointing payoff make this latest Ridley Scott film utterly forgettable.
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