**LAST PARAGRAPH CONTAINS SPOILERS**
Information below is taken from the following link:
A team of explorers find a series of cave paintings on earth which suggest that extra-terrestrial life created mankind. They then travel to the infinite to gather more information only to discover that the people who created them, now want to destroy them…
The internet seems to be utterly baffled by what Prometheus is: is it a prequel? Is it a sequel? Is it part of the Alien series? What is it? Type in: “Is Prometheus a prequel” into Google search and you get a tonne of blog pages written by obsessive cinephiles and Ridley Scott fanboys trying to decipher what this movie actually is. Ridley Scott claims that it’s in the “same world” as Alien, but not a direct prequel. Questions other than “what is this movie?” are also posed: who created the human race? Who created the people that created the human race? Is there a God? What makes us human? What’s the point in life? Is this movie as pretentious as me? Do I even care? Of course, there’s one final, and more important question: is this movie any good?
Let’s ignore the long-running debate about where this film slots into the Alien franchise, and just look at the movie itself.
The opening shots of this movie are utterly beautiful and awe-inducing. We pan past vast intimidating landscapes which are truly breathtaking. We watch the camera smoothly glide over still lakes, mountains, snowy plains, rocks, trees, flowers. We are at awe with nature. If you are going to see Prometheus, go to see it for its sheer dazzling visuals. I’d compare them to the visuals in the mind-blowing headtrip that is Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. After these opening titles, we gracefully glide towards a waterfall. At the top of the waterfall we see a blue alien, of humanoid shape (yet clearly bigger, 7 foot?). The alien picks up a small silver shaped curved cylinder, opens it, and drinks the black fluid that comes from it. The alien begins to mutate, we quickly see his back turn from blue to black, and the camera then performs a David-Fincher-esque CGI zoom which quickly yet smoothly tracks into his back; we go deeper and deeper, into skin cells, until we see the alien’s spinning DNA suspended in cell fluid, it turns from a bright orange into an electric black.
Prometheus is gorgeous to look at, and it’s clear that Scott understands how to produce an appealing image.
Later on, when our crew members land, they discover a cave. At the back of the cave is that huge head (which you can see on the poster designs for this film), and littered across the floor, are those silver cylindrical objects which we saw our big blue alien friend drink at the beginning of the film. These cylinders seem to ooze a black liquid, which mutate and form a creature which causes harm to one of our characters. The creature pops out from the black liquid, it has an octopus shape, and every time you cut one of its legs off, it gets angrier and simply grows a new one. These legs like to go into people’s mouths (and yes, all the way down their oesophagus as well). Do I need to say that this film has excellent body horror moments which will make some viewers squirm in their seats? (Also, there’s a brilliantly disgusting section where we watch Shaw (Noomi Rapace) go inside a machine to perform a caesarian section on herself…surprise…surprise, the octopus-like alien is inside her. Another reason, why you should never have sex when in a horror film. If anything, this operation scene, in my opinion, is the best scene in the film).
However, what the film lacks is in the basics of narrative storytelling and being original. I know when the gotcha! moment is going to occur even before it occurs. (A gotcha! moment is a moment when tense music plays and suddenly a loud beat will occur matched with something popping up to make us jump.)
Character’s say inane and unintentionally-funny dialogue (“I like rocks!”). I don’t particularly care about any of the characters, and this is key, because this is an Alien film, so I know from the start that characters will die. The character’s don’t feel real. Of course, I appreciate the fact that this is a horror/action suspense film, so I know that Scott is more concerned with the action on-screen as opposed to back story. But none of the characters hit me or form a distinct shape. There’s one character called Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), and all she does is: be miserable. She treats her co-workers like employees, is constantly harsh and snide. We only see one side to her. She is horrible. She is merely a caricature as she essentially plays one emotion; if the script allowed her to play differing forms of emotion, then yes, she would feel real. (**SPOILERS IN NEXT PARAGRAPH**)
Also, if we dig deeper, Prometheus is quite formulaic and predictable. Horror fans will know that the cocky sexy guy always dies first and the innocent girl survives/dies last. Any action/thriller fan will now that the character we hate most dies near the end and gets the most gruesome death. Surely if I walk into a film and know who’s going to die and in what order, I might as well read the script for the film.
Prometheus is in the middle for me. Beautifully shot and so visually enticing you’ll want to sit at the front row, and some strong scare-moments. However, all of this is underpinned by it’s clear formulaic structure and underdeveloped characters. Sure such narrative devices mentioned are conventional and cliched, but didn’t we expect more from a movie which recieved such a hype?