I got around to finally watching Prometheus having skipped out on it when it was out in theaters. I didn’t really know what to expect as a whole although I did watch the trailer and was pleasantly surprised on how hair raising it was. Therefore, I wasn’t too surprised and even disappointed when I saw the movie and thought it to be as hair raising and spine tingling as the trailer. Ridley Scott sure knows how to make a pretty damn entertaining movie. The cast is great, with special shout-out to Michael Fassbender’s David. The writers however have another issue coming at them, while they did pen a great cast of personalities and create an interesting premise, they ultimately failed to deliver on the bringing the story to some descent closure. First a short summary and then read on below for a SPOILER FILLED critique and review as well as hopefully the beginning of a great discussion on a definite “love it/hate it” type movie.
Dr. Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Dr. Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) are archeologists/anthropologists [I’m not entirely sure on what their profession is, seeing as they’re pretty well versed in a lot of stuff regarding humanity] who have found an alien connection throughout human history. They appeal to a research and development company to charter a 2 year journey to an obscure planet. Joining them are a crew of geologists, biologists, pilots, an android and commanding officers. When they arrive on the planet they find themselves far more over their heads than thought possible.
My Alien Franchise History
There was a lot of buzz around this film that revolved around it being an Alien franchise prequel. A little research told me this isn’t entirely true, but rather it’s only on the same timeline rather than be directly tied together. Now I personally haven’t seen any of the other Alien movies, so I Googled whether or not I should watch the Alien movies before watching this one. Google primarily came up with a number of helpful advice tid bits and apparently I would be joining a very large boat of people who have done the same thing as me who thoroughly enjoyed the movie. And then the Alien veterans said that there will be a nod here and there to the Alien franchise, but other than that, there is nothing key.
Eventually, I will get around to the two first Alien movies that have been recommended to me. I’ve heard they’re just classically great sci-fi films and if they’re anything like this, than I’m more than anxious to check it out. What makes classically great sci-fi? Check out the next section.
Curling Toes, a Tightening Stomach, and Smashed Eye Lids
This movie literally had me curling my toes, tightening my stomach, and smashing my eye lids. The movie is pretty graphic with regards to both the brutality of alien and man [but totally more alien]. The kill scenes in this movie are deliciously horrifying and is a nice change from some rather crappier CGI seen these days. The movie feels really authentic and grisly primarily because of dark atmosphere and very convincing set pieces and costume design. What truly shines here however is the range of creatures we’re shown, from the eels that can break through face masks [which must be incredibly strong in the first place to be able to withstand unknown pressures on the planet]. Octopus type things that grow in the bellies of us [probably the most memorable moment from me, I was literally covering my mouth during this scene.] And then the depiction of the engineers emitted a very creepy yet familiar vibe that was difficult to watch [out of pure grossness], but also very entrancing. I think all of these factors contribute into making good sci-fi movies. A touch of believable reality combined with capitalizing on the fear of the unknown in the truly final frontier by brutalizing it.
My Man Crush on Michael Fassbender Continues through the android David
By far my favorite character in the movie was Fassbender’s David. David is an android programmed to act like a human who monitors the spaceship to the unknown planet for 2 years. David can learn and the film opened up to a very enjoyable sequence of how David routine day that is very reminiscent of the first part of Moon. While David seems emotionless, he is partial to sarcasm and stinging remarks, turning snappy remarks made by other crew members and not minding to push some boundaries for his own [which we find out later isn’t] agenda. Some of the looks he gives to events, other crew members, and even aliens are simultaneously haunting and longing, reminding us constantly he is an android despite looking completely human. He does some questionable things towards the end, and his motives aren’t quite clear [was he ‘freed’ like he talked about when Peter Weyland passed?], but we’ll discuss those later.
Prometheus used David as a cool campaign showing off some background to him. Naturally, Fassbender kicks ass in it.
The Rest of the Cast Also Does Incredibly Well
Although I praise Fassbender the most, I do give credit to the rest of the cast. My other favorite members of the cast include primarily Rapace’s Dr. Shaw and Idris Elba’s Captain Janek. Noomi Rapace is rather adorable and seeing her going through this trauma is incredibly difficult to watch, but she does such a good job of being in believable pain through the chaos that occurs in the movie. She’s an incredibly strong female character [much like her role as Lisbeth Salander] who despite going through a number of physical and emotional trauma, her will to find out the truth keeps her going. After having your mission being botched due to hostile alien forces, your lover dies in a grotesque fiery death, and having to cut a squid out of your own belly, any lesser person would’ve broken. But she powers through as a likable lead. The supported character Janek is just a really cool/laid back captain. I kind of just really like Idris Elba and I like to think he’s this cool in real life.
The other top billed members included Charlize Theron as a cold business women and Guy Pearce as the really old Peter Weyland [a fact I was shocked with, considering he did that cool “TED” video as Peter Weyland I included below]. There are a number of others like Green and some other minor characters that are attempted to be developed, but ultimately fall short due to a ambitious plot that simply can’t tell it’s story [even though it still didn’t] and fit in all these minor characters. Even I knew from the start that about half of the crew were to be alien fodder, so I didn’t want to get too attached to them. I truly only cared about the three I mentioned: David, Shaw, and Janek. 2/3 living [though one being decapitated, but still live].
An Unsatisfying Climax and Ending Combination
So the ending was pretty awful. The climax of the movie almost came too late and I’m having hard time determining if it’s when Elizabeth Shaw performs a C-section on herself or if it’s when the engineer pops David’s head off. The engineer’s action sets off a shit storm where literally over 3/4 of the cast is killed off in a pretty crazy fashion. While it was all very cool, it ended in an ultimately unsatisfying conclusion. It obviously sets itself up pretty well for an anticipating conclusion, but after all the chaos of the ship falling and the consequent escape to the escape pod and the following tussle with the engineer, I expected some sort satisfying conclusion that kind of answers a lot of the big questions raised in the movie. But no, a weak narrative from Shaw ends the movie that really left bad taste in my mouth.
And now I probably have to wait 2 years for the answer? That’s pretty cruel Ridley Scott. That’s pretty cruel.
Points I Did Not Understand
Here we get to some of the more interesting and controversial moments. I’m almost positive I could Google the answer to these questions, but I’d rather promote them here and hear what you all have to say about it.
- Why did the engineer sacrifice himself? Where in the timeline is this? Is it guilt? How are they so freaking ripped? Where did that ship ultimately go? Talk about a Chekov’s Gun that never technically fired…
- Why did David poison/genetically f*ck with Holloway? Why not Janek or one of the pilots or another of the minor crews? What value did that give to his cause? Was it because Holloway offended him? Did he want to create chaos in the ship while he scouted for the living engineers? Seems like a dick thing to do…
- Why did David not care about the squid in Shaw’s belly? Did he not think it would present itself as a problem when trying to escore a 200 year old man from a ship? Even if he put Shaw to sleep, I betcha that wouldn’t stop that baby from possibly ripping through her belly.
- Why are the engineer’s so angry with us? I don’t honestly believe this question is answered in the movie, but I feel as though ‘humanity has grown into a despicable race’ is a reason to cliche for a movie this ambitious. David’s beheading was one of the most shocking and kinda infuriating things about this movie. It’s so unexplained.
- What are David’s motives at this point? We know David can’t die, seeing as how both his body and head are operational even though they’re separate. And having his master [or father?] been killed, he is no longer taking orders. He doesn’t seem to have an opinion on where to go, but does bring up hesitation when Shaw asks him to take her to the engineer’s home planet. Is he like a service bot at this point? It’s pretty interesting how an unshackled immortal android will act at this point.
- The ‘Alien’ spawning from the dead engineer. Now like I previously mentioned, I never saw the other Alien movies. And while I thought it was cool that the Alien popped out of that dude, I don’t think it had any significance to the endgame or how it would even effect the timeline. I saw that there were inscriptions and epigraphs of these aliens in the ships, but I don’t understand their importance due to how little a role they played. I’m hoping one of you will answer my question by saying: “Just watch the damn Alien movies and it will all come together”.
So I raised 6 questions, floated my opinion on who my favorite character was, and criticized the movie for it’s weak ending. Surely some of you have varying opinions on the matter, and I really want to discuss it with you all because I’m pretty amped in a good/bad way.