Ridley Scott’s much ballyhooed return to science fiction was one of my most anticipated films of 2012, and while I thoroughly enjoyed it, it did have its share of flaws. Prometheus is the sort-of prequel to Scott’s 1979 Sci-fi/horror classic, Alien. The trailer gave away way too much about this movie, but I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers in the review. Suffice it to say that Prometheus meditates on the origins of humanity and our place in the universe.
First off, Prometheus is purely beautiful. I was captivated in much the same way I was by Avatar, in that everything I saw struck me as a reasonable future. The way computers are used, and the way interfaces were designed were right on, and showed that future that our current technology level seems to predict. I couldn’t look away. The on-planet and alien-technology settings were likewise compelling and must watch. I must admit, some of my admiration for the visuals and production values on display in Prometheus have allowed me to overlook (or at least be less offended by) some of its flaws.
Let us dwell then on these flaws. The more my sheer amazement has worn off, the more obvious the many plot holes have become. There are numerous scenes and concepts that really don’t seem to make a lot of sense. There are strange technology misses here and there, where things don’t make sense given what these people should be able to do. There are several very questionable character motives and decisions. There are also a lot of questions that are posed but not really answered. Some of these things may be set up for a sequel, but that’s hardly an excuse. Ridley’s amazing production covered a lot of this stuff up for me, but screenwriter David Lindelof didn’t tie this thing up tight enough for it to be a great movie.
An aside about Prometheus’ relationship with Alien. This movie was kind of strangely tied back to Alien from a marketing standpoint, but it very definitely is a prequel. A word of warning though, it’s much more of a sci fi movie and much much less of a horror movie. It asks you to think a great deal more than Alien did, and will scare you a great deal less.
Back to the good: there are a couple of fantastic acting performances in this movie. First, Noomi Rapace, the heir apparent to Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, turned in a great performance as Dr. Shaw. She was believably tough, without all the “Rambolina” from Aliens. She was a survivor more than a combat monster, and I totally believed it all throughout the movie. Even more impressive, though, was David Fassbender as android David. It was an incredibly interesting character, seemingly bound by Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics also struggling with self-awareness. It was fascinating to watch, and Fassbender deserves attention and accolades for it.
I really enjoyed this movie, and I wanted to love it. Instead, I just really liked it. If you’re even a little into sci fi, then this should be on your list. If you’re after the more horror aspects of Alien, I’m not sure you’ll be that satisfied. Prometheus is ultimately a very flawed but very enjoyable movie.
3 1/2 stars.