Film Review : Prometheus
● By Justin Buettner
When two archeologists find a series of cave paintings dating back 35,000 years that create a map to a distant planet, they take it as an invitation to meet their creators. The Wyland corporation pays for the expedition in which a crew of varying people embark to investigate the new world with differing intents, including the onboard cyborg. Will the crew find the meaning behind human existence?
A lot of people will congratulate the film on it’s incredible look, which would be justly deserved. The acting is quite strong too considering what the actors were left to work with. The story and characters in the story were just downright bad and it’s a shame that so much talent was wasted on a film with no story to speak of. The bigger disappointment will lie in the minds of fans of the Alien series which will be heading out to see what is being billed as a prequel to the franchise. I hate to tell those people that this film is as much a prequel to the Alien franchise as a shot of a Skynet computer at the end of Avatar would make that a prequel to the Terminator franchise. The marketing department billed it as such to get you to go and it seems to have worked.
Prometheus is more or less a set of questions, primarily who created us and why? Unfortunately the movie doesn’t give out answers so what’s the point? Because the movie bumbles around with questions instead of characters or story the humans that inhabit this movie have about as much personality as the robot in the movie. In fact most have less. So when the characters are in danger it did not have any real impact or tension on me as I watched.
Although the filmmakers wrapped a sci-fi wrapper on this movie, it is more of an expedition drama. People will expect action or horror and will get very little of that. There is one sequence that features a fairly grisly C-section that produces a monster, but outside of that the movie slogs along with its pretentious questions.
What may have bothered me most was that the movie is extremely unclear about everything that is discovered. The core of item discovered in Prometheus revolves black liquid in canisters that an alien species created. It acts differently every time it touches something. It touches a human and turns him into one type of monster. It touches another and kills him. A human infected with the black liquid has sex, the female will become pregnant with a monster, but not infect her? I could not tell whether the filmmakers themselves even knew what this stuff does, or did it even matter to them? Again the movie leaves you with far more questions than answers.
The writers try to cram a few twists into the movie that were less than surprising and because I could care less about the characters, the twists had very little impact. Perhaps instead of developing twists they should have concentrated their efforts on writing natural human emotion into the story. Very little weight is given to any of the human drama and because the characters were so incredibly underdeveloped the movie seemed to amble about uncertain how to end. In fact the ending that was settled upon didn’t seem like much of an ending at all. In fact the movie played like a two hour lecture of which the professor himself knew very little of the topic on which he was speaking.
At least a filmmaker like Terrence Malick (writer and director of Tree of Life and A Thin Red Line) has the conviction to make a philosophical film and go for broke with it, even if I don’t particularly like his movies. Ridley Scott pulled his punches with Prometheus and made a weird concoction of a film that doesn’t work story wise from any level. It contains nothing we haven’t seen before, it really doesn’t have anything new to say, and it doesn’t even ask its big questions in a compelling or original way. In the end it is a frustrating misfire that the Fox marketing department are fooling people into seeing. If you do decide to go at least you will see some interesting imagery.
Films like Prometheus : Soloris, The Fountain, and Tree of Life
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.