If it's crap ... We'll tell you
I'd like to preface this with two points. I went into this expecting to like it, and I didn't go in expecting it to be just like Alien. I think it's funny that some people are arguing that those who didn't like Prometheus were just wanting it to be like Alien and they got a shock. I find it funny because I'd say it was more like Alien than I thought it was going to be.
Also since this is my first actual review I'm looking for any kind of constructive feedback on what I could do to make it better. It would be greatly appreciated.
One of the big problems with Prometheus for me was the science. I am in no way science literate. I have about as much basic knowledge as the next person. But what I do have is a profound respect for science and scientists. This film in my opinion shits all over both and it pissed me off. From the first scene to the last I was so fucking disappointed that I feel my hate towards this movie is based on the blatant disregard for good science. But I also think that if the science was good this film would still fail as a movie.
To begin with the characters seem to range from bland to schizophrenic. They are scientists on one of the most important scientific missions in the history of man and they couldn’t give a shit. Maybe it’s because the lead scientist has no actual scientific evidence, she just chooses to believe. That seems to be the view of science in this movie. Equating it with blind faith.
Speaking of which, Noomi Rapace’s character as the fervent religious scientist. Of course there are religious scientists in real life, but more than not manage to separate their personal views on religion from their scientific views. It’s a problem I have with these people; they can so perfectly use the scientific method in their day to day working life and yet they’re still happy to go on faith that God exists. But this character doesn’t even have this ability to compartmentalise the two and so she leaps to conclusions and goes on faith that she’s right. I don’t know in what world she’d be a leading scientist in any field.
The male lead is just as bad. One minute he is ecstatic and the next he’s depressed and getting drunk because he want’s to have a chat with his creator. Okay but you’ve been here five minutes, there might be living Engineers somewhere (which there is BTW), and if not THIS IS STILL ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT SCIENTIFIC MISSIONS IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND. AND YOU’RE FUCKING ON IT, SO CHEER THE FUCK UP. I can’t tell what’s worse, the fact that they’re badly written scientists or badly written people.
The story fairs no better. The Engineers created humanity - one way or another - so the question that’s set up at the start of the film isn’t did they? but why? This is the question that’s set up at the beginning of the film and there’s not even a hint at the answer. I mean there were some specific themes that the creators were aiming for and yet it’s all so nebulous that there can be any number of explanations for anything. Instead what we get is a completely new question two-thirds the way through; why did they change their mind about us? Which in turn isn’t answered and actually sets up a possible sequel to explain it. It’s like a two hour set up for the next movie.
You can apply this to the film as a whole. For example, we have an expectation that David’s actions and behaviour will be explained, to some degree at least. Was he getting orders from Weyland? Why would Weyland want the crew infected when he just wanted to meet an Engineer? Was he that masochistic that if he didn’t succeed and he ended up dying on the planet he didn’t want anyone else to leave? What if he was successful in becoming immortal, did he expect to get a lift from the Engineers after he infected the Prometheus’ crew? When asking questions leads to more questions and down a rabbit hole of more questions instead of answers there is a fundamental problem with your screenplay. Unless the point is to confuse us to a point where we forget all the bad science and plot holes.
And I know it sounds like I want to be spoon fed information but I don’t. If we look at Blade Runner for a comparison. Is Deckard a replicant? Countless discussions have been had over the decades on this one aspect of Blade Runner and there’s one thing I now for certain; no one has gone round in a circle chasing their own tail with it. It is not ambiguous to a point where your brain melts with too many questions and interpretations of actions.
There are certainly some interesting ideas here, but they’re not given enough space to play out. It seemed like it was trying to be three kinds of movies; a philosophical journey like that of 2001: A Space Odyssey, a horror film, and a prequel to Alien. The results are less than intriguing, less than scary, and less than satisfying.