Sunday, June 17, 2012

"Prometheus" looks great, but is kind of a mess

One thing that "Prometheus" shows is just how much in control Ridley Scott is of his craft. He's showcased this for years, but Prometheus is easily one of his best looking films. One unfortunate trend though that has plagued Scott's films for years is an uneven script which is what Prometheus is largely guilty of. Having said that, there are some really awesome sequences in this film, some that are truly thrilling, like the scene where Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) is forced to perform an abortion on herself. It's some pretty intense stuff and this movie is filled with many intense scenes, but they unfortunately do not add up to a greater whole.

A prequel to Alien, Prometheus follows a team of scientists in the late 21st Century as they travel to a distant world, attempting to answer life's biggest questions (Who made us and where did we come from?). Unlike Alien, this team of scientists aren't quite as memorable and fun as the crew found on Nostromo. The one crew member who sticks out, aside from Elizabeth Shaw, is easily David (Michael Fassbender). David's a soulless android whose actions and motivations are never clearly explained. It would be too simplistic to simply call him an evil character. He appears to just have a general curiousness about him that makes him completely unpredictable.

Fassbender once again steals the show in this ensemble cast, operating on an entirely different level than the rest. Charlize Theron plays Meredith Vickers, who is supposed to be monitoring the entire expedition, turned out to really be nothing more than a bitch. It was fun to watch her in the beginning as it felt like maybe she would also be involved in some mischief like with David, but unfortunately her character never really develops into anything interesting. Idris Elba plays Janek, the captain of the Prometheus spaceship, and even though his character is also fun, Janek feels underdeveloped.

The film's pacing starts by slowly making its way through the distant world, but once they start exploring it, the film suddenly speeds up at a dizzying rate, leaving its intriguing ideas in the dust. And while this makes for some pretty entertaining and well-constructed sequences, it's literally going from one sequence to another with no clear attempt to tie it all together. It's like the filmmakers had all these interesting ideas that they wanted to explore and then just forgot about them.

Prometheus is not a bad movie though. It's too entertaining and looks too gorgeous to be a bad film. It just suffers in the writing department and as a prequel to Alien, it really falls short. This was supposed to be Ridley Scott's big return to sci-fi, but like David, the return felt soulless.

Grade B-

1 comment:

Dan O. said...

Yeah, it had its moments that were tense and a little freaky but it never fully got off the ground for me. However, it’s a beautiful film the whole way through and one that should definitely be seen in 3D no matter wherever you may be. Good review Ken.