The Problems with “Prometheus”

I have been a huge fan of Ridley Scott’s original “Alien” ever since I first saw it as a teen. The tension in the atmosphere, the subtle pseudo science, the visceral body horror. It’s the perfect horror film. And James Cameron’s “Aliens” brought the franchise to even higher levels of success as one of the best action movies of all time.

Unfortunately, Scott’s latest dive into the Alien franchise went horribly wrong. “Prometheus” is so riddled by incompetent characters bumbling their way through a contrived plot that by the midpoint I found myself screaming, “Just nuke the whole thing from orbit!”

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Stupid, stupid characters all around. There is, of course, Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her husband Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green), who lead their expedition of idiots into an abandoned alien vessel with their astronaut helmets removed.

We have Fifield, the team’s geologist and handler of elite mapping technology, who gets lost five minutes after completely mapping the intricate network he finds himself in. Then there is the biologist, Millburn, who is afraid of nonsentient, mummified corpses, yet perfectly fine with petting a clearly aggressive vagina-faced space cobra.

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We have the egomaniacal android, David, who is implied to be sentient for no reason other than to cast Michael Fassbender for dramatic star power.

David was ordered by Peter Weyland to “try harder”. He’s also a spiteful little thing, though. Artificial intelligence is a common theme in Ridley Scott’s work, I’m not surprised it showed up here. That said they could have done an immensely better job with it.

The problem isn’t that he’s vindictive, the problem is that there wasn’t a clear motivator for his vindictiveness.

David didn’t have a primary goal. Or he did and the movie did a really shit job of communicating it. Maybe after the second one comes out his actions will make more sense, but as a standalone film Prometheus failed in a lot of things it tried to do.

Such as, last and most certainly least, the character Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), who suffers the dumbest and most pointless plot twist that I have seen in recent years.

Peter Wayland was probably one of the stupidest things about the damn movie. Why was it necessary to keep his presence secret? Why was it necessary to fool us into believing he had died? That wouldn’t have affected the mission at all.

Corny dialogue, bad acting with a few minor characters, and trite sub / mini plots (the bet between the two wingmen is an example of pretty much all of the above).

Awesome visuals, some great tension in places (retrieving the severed head during the storm, the surgery scene), but otherwise nothing special.

I also hate how flip-floppy Scott was during the time leading up to Prometheus’s release. First it’s an alien prequel, then it isn’t, then it’s a film that has nothing to do with alien but takes place in that world, and blah blah blah, all for it to end up being blatantly tied to the Alien universe.

Lazy, Sir Ridley Scott. Just lazy.

 

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