What just happened.
Okay, so I’m going to put the cut really early in this post because of all the wonderful spoilers I’m going to discuss practically immediately. So if you want to remain pure before you see the film, then HOLD OFF! Bookmark this page, come back after you’ve seen the movie and then tell me what you think because I love discussing film.
If you don’t care or if you’ve seen the film already, then onwards and upwards. Onwards and upwards!
Welcome, spoiler-friendly readers. First of all, remember that time Ridley Scott said he was making an Alien prequel called Prometheus? And then remember that time he said “Oops, nope, it’s not actually a prequel per se, it just lives in the same world?” Well judging by the last 30 seconds of Prometheus, one of those statements is true, and one of them is false. I also think that it’s impossible for Ridley Scott to create a movie about aliens without some sort of traumatic birth-type scene that will burrow itself into the hearts and minds of his audience and give all the childless young women nightmares about their potential childbearing future. So there’s that.
But really I wanted to address some of the things the critics had to say about Prometheus, which can be summed up in three simple statements: 1) Gorgeous set pieces and visuals, 2) phenomenal acting 3) so-so storyline. They were… mostly correct. Visually, Prometheus was at once haunting and beautiful; scary and cold; welcoming and isolating–depending on where you were in the world or on the ship and who you were with. The acting was also wonderful, but what else would you expect with an all-star cast of Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce* and Noomi Rapace?
*Okay here’s the thing about Guy Pearce. I love him to death, but he portrayed an 80 year old man. What on earth is wrong with casting an actual 80 year old man? What, was Christopher Plummer busy? What about Peter O’Toole? Did all the 80 year old men just not want to do a super awesome sci-fi movie? That’s legit, but why are you going to use Guy Pearce if you’re going to make him look nothing like Guy Pearce? I seriously spent half the movie thinking “wait, but when is Guy Pearce going to show up? Is he that dude with the tattoos? Because he doesn’t look like Guy Pearce.” It was… off-putting.
In regards to the story: most critics said that it was too predictable and didn’t answer all the questions it raised. The plot was definitely predictable. For instance, I went into the film expecting David (the android played by Michael Fassbender) to double-cross his human crew-mates. This might be residual from Ian Holm’s character in the original Alien film. In another case I was only a second or two ahead of the official reveal: when Vickers (Charlize Theron) reveals that she is the daughter of Mr. Wayland (Guy Pearce. Seriously, why?), the man who financed the entire trip.
In a couple cases I was taken totally, completely, and 100% by surprise: when Rapace’s character Elizabeth Shaw (who is infertile) becomes pregnant with a mysterious, impossible, fast-growing creature. I told you Ridley has to include a creepy birth scene in all his alien movies. Also the scene when Milburn [ed. actually it was Fifield!] shows up outside the loading dock looking like a weird zombie crab. Also the last 30 seconds of the film. WHAT.
I understand that Scott was trying to distance Prometheus from the Alien franchise, but my question is… why? I honestly feel like the trailer gave away way too much. With lines like “we were so wrong,” and haunting (seizure-inducing) shots of Shaw running through the ship covered in blood. If I were in charge of marketing Prometheus (and there are at least 500 thousand reasons why it’s a good thing I was not), I would have relied on teaser trailers and the viral videos like David 8. Think about it: the first teaser for Amazing Spider-Man had no dialogue and no title. They didn’t need a title, because it was Spider-Man. The logo and the shot of Andrew Garfield in his suit was enough.
Obviously Prometheus would have suffered if it was advertised by nothing but teasers, but about half-way through the movie I just found myself waiting for the scenes I had seen in the trailer. It was like a crappy comedy film where they put all the funny lines in the trailer, except instead of a crappy comedy, Prometheus is a multi-million dollar, amazingly directed sci-fi film.
The verdict? Gorgeous film, awesome acting and I’m a little bit in platonic love Charlize Theron. I genuinely enjoyed Prometheus, but I honestly think I enjoyed Alien more. But I’m also platonically in love with Sigourney Weaver, so there’s that.