Monday, June 11, 2012
If you're anything like me, you saw the trailer for this film and came away thinking, "wow! That looks amazing and strange and fascinating, and I wonder how all of that is going to come together into an actual story." Well, if you're anything like me, you just saw the actual film and came away thinking, "wow! That was amazing and strange and fascinating, and I wonder if all of that was supposed to come together into an actual story."
But if still you're anything like me, you'll enjoy it and have no regrets about seeing it, but you maybe won't love it, and you'll kind of regret the fact that it didn't really come together the way it should have. But you'll like it.
Over the course of its long history -- and I feel as though I've been hearing about it for years -- this film has gone from being a prequel to the original Alien to a totally unrelated film and then finally to being a film that isn't a prequel to Alien, but one that just takes place in the same universe and precedes it chronologically... in other words, a prequel. If you see this movie, you'll understand that it most definitely is a prequel in every sense of the word. The spaceship Prometheus's design looks just like the Nostromo from the original film, there are references to the Weyland Corporation, and the "space jockeys" and one of their ships makes an appearance. Oh... and there's a freakin' alien at the end. This is absoltuely, 100% a prequel to alien. But don't worry if you haven't seen Alien. You don't have to be knowledgeable about the Alien series in order to make sense of this film, since nothing will help you make sense of this film because it makes no sense.
The film opens with a scene that either takes place on Earth or on some alien world -- it's never made clear -- about an alien that drinks some potion and then dissolves as he falls off a waterfall. This was a striking way to open a film, but I have no idea what it meant and I can't quite figure out how it fit into the rest of the film. From there we cut to the Scottish highlands near the end of the 21st century, where a team of scientists have found some cave drawings that match up with other drawings, hieroglyphics, and engravings from a dozen other civilizations across the globe, all which point toward the same constellation in the sky. Of course, the Weyland corporation puts together an interstellar excavation team to follow the clues and discover what these drawings are trying to tell us. If they ever figured it out, they never told the audience, but it sure was fun watching them try. That's the basic premise of the film, and that's pretty much about as much of a backstory as we're given, as well as front, middle, and end story as well.
But that's ok, because it was neat. The first thirty minutes or so of this movie were just about the most amazing, epic thing I've ever seen. I was ready to crown this the best science fiction film I've ever seen. But then they landed on the alien planet and the scientist started acting like idiots (seriously, this entire film would've been avoided if I had been in charge of this exhibition, because I would've had simple rules like "don't take off your helmet even thought the atmosphere is breathable" or "if you see an alien, don't walk up and try to pet it."), so that was the point where the film kind of went of the rails and stopped making sense. The film stayed visually sumptuous and got very, very scary, but it never really went back onto the rails, nor did the characters or the script ever get as smart as they were in the beginning. At some point the film stopped being a science fiction film and just turned into a mindless action movie. But that's ok, because it was a pretty awesome action movie.
Visually, this was maybe the best looking movie I've ever seen. I saw it in 3D, and I can honestly say this was the best presentation of that format I've ever experienced. The 3D was flawless and I think it added a layer of beauty and realism that I've never experienced before in any other film. If every 3D film looked this amazing, nobody would ever see a 2D film again. If you get anything at all out of this review, let it be this: go see this movie in 3D. You won't be disappointed, and it will distract from the fact that there was no real story to speak of.
So that's Prometheus. I was going to go on about what I thought of the story -- or the lack there of -- and how I felt about the cast (which included Michael Fassbender as one of the best robots in film history, Guy Pearce in a lot of old guy makeup, and Charlize Theron looking as gorgeous as I've ever seen her), but what's the point? Here's all you really need to know about Prometheus: The story makes no sense, the characters all act like idiots, and nothing happens nor is anything explained, but it's still worth watching because it's gorgeous, exhilarating, scary, and features lots of monsters.
Check it out. It's good fun.