For a movie that beats you over the head with exposition, it sure leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Prometheus has a confusing opening sequence that is never really explained and takes a long time to really explain anything else. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if questions are answered along the way. However, the only questions that are addressed are the ones where the answer is blatantly obvious to the viewer. Anything else is left hanging and I can only hope that much of that will get addressed in a sequel. Overall, however, this made the movie disappointing. We all knew going in that it was basically an Alien prequel (no matter how much the lead up tried to convince you that it wasn’t, it is.) and I’m fine with that. But there were very few questions about origins in the Alien movies and subsequent sequels have really made a prequel irrelevant. Now, if you take the Prometheus story and, given the ending which I won’t divulge, take it in its own direction, you could branch off into a stand alone franchise. The problem is that I don’t think anyone would really care.
The problem with Prometheus is that they did an absolutely terrible job of making me care about what happened to any of the characters. The only motivation that was clearly established was that of the two scientists, Holloway and Shaw. But the attempt at a human interest story between the two was half assed and unnecessary given the potential of the overall plot. All of the other characters were just sort of there without any real relationship established with the audience. The character of David was done particularly poorly. A lot of the hype surrounded him as this amalgamation of other AI characters from movies that was basically going to change how we looked at cinematic androids. Instead, they made him very inconsistent. He’s supposed to not understand emotion but is clearly happy and angry at points in the film. (Oddly enough, it’s the most emotion I’ve seen from Michael Fassbender. … Not a fan of his work at all.) If I missed the mark on that it’s because the film makers didn’t explain that while they were beating me over the head with the obvious stuff. Rather than stick to the basics of humans and aliens, they decided to give it an existential angle regarding the origins of man and religious beliefs and … zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I could go on with things like Charlize Theron’s phoned in performance but I think you get the idea. The only character I ever cared about was Idris Elba’s Janek. It could be that I just like Elba’s work overall. But that seemed to be a character that I could relate to.
The good in this movie is the effects. I have absolutely no complaints about any of them. The animatronics and CGI were some of the best I have ever seen (especially David later in the film). The sound is fantastic, hair-raising and builds tension well. There was some music used that I thought was derivative of Star Trek but it did suit the current mood so I’m willing to let that slide. The use of 3D was very judicious in that it didn’t throw too much at you and actually enhanced the experience; worth the $3. Visually and auditorily (I don’t think that’s a word but anyways), Prometheus is a treat. The only drawback was Guy Pearce’s makeup as an old man. They never seem to get old-people makeup right in movies. I think it has something to do with the fact that we know what old people look like so we are less likely to accept an artist rendering like this. But this was particularly bad. It was almost as if they were trying to turn him into some sort of albino reptile.
I’m not upset that I watched it. But I am disappointed. This is one of those movies where part of me wants to say see it for the effects and sound experience. But part of me wants to stop you from going through the character and plot frustrations that I experienced. On toss ups like this, I usually say see it so you can judge for yourself. So see it.