My Abridged Prometheus Ruminations (SPOILERS)
If I had the time and patience, I’d write a more detailed and constructive critique, but this will have to do to get my feelings off my chest.
Things I Liked:
-Opening visual build up, particularly all the scenes of David hanging out by himself for two years on the voyage. It’ll definitely go down in my memory as among my favorite visual moments of all time in film.
- Costume and Prop designs. The space suits, the unnerving yellow hard-light glow, Prometheus interirors esp. the eerily sterile life-pod room with video of the little girl playing violin. I also really liked the milky translucent soap-like look of the ripped engineers, super haunting in how much they look like the humans and yet off.
-These characters and their actors’ performances: David, Meredith Vickers, Janek (and bros), Elizabeth Shaw (but really just Noomi Rapace).
-Minority characters didn’t die as lamely as some other characters.
Things I thought were wasted:
-The mysterious and advanced Engineers in all their pale ghostly muscular glory could have been beautifully scary because of their mysteriousness, advanced-ness, and ghostly likeness to us…but they were reduced to being scary only by means of throwing people into walls.
-Meredith Vickers (to me) was one of the most interesting characters of the crew. Despite her composure, she showed a restrained desperation for control. And her conflicted connection to David was made all the more vivid to me when her father was revealed to us (through the best bitter sneer of “Father” I’ve seen on film in a while). They could have gone to really interesting lengths with her character, either as someone who sabotages the main protagonists or in becoming something of an anti-hero near the end….but she just got squashed by a falling spaceship instead.
-Super “Science” Team. Supposedly top of their fields: A Geologist! Biologist! That Medical lady! and uh…Meteorologist? And two Anthropologists…yes. Well. Where the fuck did you all get your degrees because, HELLO. Investigative method? Quarantine procedure? Oh, look alien worm thing! So cute, I’M JUST GONNA PET IT AND PLAY FET-AHHH! You are the WORST biologist ever! And yes that is TOTALLY how emergency abortions will be performed in the future. No general anesthesia, just gonna laser cut your stomach, take it out and STAPLE you shut. Now you’re good to run around and fight off alien muscle-men with just a minor cramp!
Things that were just WTF:
-Black ooze stuff + Engineer = near instant disintegration;
Black ooze stuff + space worms = mutated space worms with acid blood that kill you phallically.
Black ooze stuff + Earth human = gradual mutation til you become super strong and crazy.
Black ooze stuff + Earth human + Intercourse with Female Earth human = Squid baby thing that also kills things phallically.
Black ooze stuff + Earth human + Intercourse with Female Earth human => Squid baby + Fatal smex with Engineer = Xenomorph.
That’s just…wtf. An entirely convoluted reproduction cycle for something that’s supposed to be a biological weapon to wipe out humankind assuredly. And is that what killed the pile of Engineers in the cave? Or what was depicted on the wall in the room with vases? Because if so, that’s seems to be a lot of crazy uncontrollable “if…then” steps to get through before everyone gets killed because of it.
Overall, Prometheus is really the kind of film that breaks my heart. Its a film I really wanted to love, and there are parts that I do love about it, but as a whole it just fell so painfully short. I expected something as subtle and haunting as Alien, but it decided to follow more predictable and cliched plot-paths instead. It sets up a lot of interesting questions, but fails to even IMPLY an answer at many of them. The only thing we’re left with an implication of at the end of the film is the filmmakers’ hopes for a sequel, which feels like cheap marketing trick instead of an artful cliffhanger.
My rating: BIG SIGH.