There were so many people talking about Prometheus [imdb] recently, that I nearly started avoiding everyone and everything, just so I didn't come across any spoilers. I decided I had to go and watch it, and here are a few of my impressions...
A very enjoyable film but it lacks any of the deep intelligence or artistry that I had originally hoped for. I enjoyed parts of the story, and felt it was a good spin on the original Alien idea, up until the very last scene anyway. More on that later.
The film already seems a tad dated. Characters interact with devices like they are using touch screen mobile phones. As real technology advances, that will look as old as the clunky buttons and monochrome CRT displays in the original Alien movie. I wish movie makers would stop using current paradigms for UI and instead had a little vision, much like what Arthur C. Clarke had for 2001'. The 3D effects for the "alien playback" holograms are dated too. They seem to be modelled after xbox connect experiments, or that famous Radiohead video on Google code.
The acting was generally poor and unconvincing, but perhaps that was due to the characters they were playing, which were hollow and unbelievable; disappointingly hackneyed and cliched. Once again, a space expedition years in development and trillions of dollars in expense, ends up with unprofessional jerks and slime-balls in the crew. No one expects a genuine representation of how a manned space exploration of an alien world would really happen, not in a two hour movie anyway, but there are limits to what "shortcuts" viewers will put up with.
The "abortion" scene was the most ridiculous part of the film. Even those lacking the most basic of insight into human anatomy will find it hard to believe that a woman who has her stomach muscles sliced in two, will be able to get up and walk immediately afterwards, with nothing but a few epidermal staples holding everything in place. The same woman continues on to do all kinds of crazy maneuvers including battling giant space aliens. I look forward these future advances in staple technology. Actually this scene does have a contender for worst moment in the film. The decision by three crew members to fly the Prometheus ship into the Alien ship, simply because a deranged woman shouting over the radio told them to do so. Even if one of them believed her, why did they all choose to die? Ha ha, one way to get them out of the story I guess. Dumb.
There is a really dodgy thing going on with religion in this film too, and I don't just mean the obvious "humans are designed" aspect. I mean there's a fairly daring attempt to portray the "Space Jockey/Engineer" aliens as evil space-Muslims! Let's look at the evidence: The crucifix makes significant appearances in this film. It's used by the "good guy" protagonist woman like a protection amulet, or even a weapon at times. Her possession of it describes a power play between her and the android character. She tells us that she's unable to have children but then gets magically pregnant, as if it were a "immaculate conception". She utters a very deliberate "Jesus Christ" expletive in front of one of the Engineer aliens. A Christmas tree is one of the first things we see on the Prometheus ship, setting the biblical scenario for the story. Ok, so that just means Scott is a bit of a Jesus freak, but what about this then: The "Space Jockey" aliens are flying to earth, to "convert" humans into something else. Flying their "crescent shaped" ships, which carry (as one character actually described) "Weapons of Mass Destruction". Whatever about that theory, there's that "the film is already dated" thing again, with the mention of WMDs.
The ending is lame. A crappy voice over and a ship flying into the clouds. Mary, mother of Xenochrist, with her untrusty sidekick "head-of-android-Joe", go in search of even more answers. It's so set up for a sequel, I expected to see a "to be continued" appear on screen. And then we come to the final, final scene. As if playing to the brain dead "but where's the god damn alien" brigade, Scott gives us some kind of familiar looking chest buster "Alien" thing. Only this is more sleek looking, with pointy bits, and no Giger penis-mouth. This scene was a let down, because it means that rather than this film being a fresh spin on the core "Alien" ideas, it's now some kind of genuine prequel, and attempts to preserve canon. Yuck.
Summary: Prometheus is one of those crypto-shallow Hollywood films that makes certain people think they are above those that dislike it, because only they are intelligent enough to "get it". I did like this film though, and it's certainly higher up the ladder than some Michael Bay crap. It has some interesting ideas and it's a lot of fun, but it's just a regular sci-fi feature, lacking the vision and impact of the original Alien film. Far too sanitised as well, it needed more penis. 6.5/10
Other noteworthy aspects: Jizztastic space suits.
Prometheus will probably be worth watching again when it get's a home-video release, as there is surely 20+ minutes of extra footage cut from the theatrical version.
Posted at 19:55