I’ve long held the belief that I was born in the wrong time. Despite still being a wee lad, many of my favorite movies, mostly late 70s and 80s sci-fi and cult flicks like Terminator, Alien, The Thing, Escape from New York and many others came out before I was born or when I was too young to see them in the theatres. And like many with my tastes, I hate it—absolutely hate it when the nimrods in Hollywood decide to create a prequel/sequel/remake of these movies. Case in point: 2011’s The Thing, one of the most annoying films I’ve ever shelled out nine bucks for. But I gotta see it, right? I’m almost required by fandom law to see these films even if it’s just to go straight home and complain about it on the internet.
But I’m rambling. When I had first heard about Prometheus, all I had heard about it was that it was a prequel to Alien, which had my eyes rolled because I had just seen The Thing (2011) and was royally pissed at Hollywood. But then I did some research, and discovered that it was being directed by Ridley Scott, who not only directed the original Alien but is generally considered to be one of the greatest, if not THE definitive science-fiction director. So I was much more on board after that, and my enthusiasm and anticipation for release day grew with every announcement, every trailer, and every scrap of information that came out about this movie. And when that day finally rolled around, I rushed to the theatre, grabbed myself a soda and some skittles, and secured my seat right in the center of the (rather undercrowded) theatre and felt my inner fanboy get giddier and giddier as the opening credits started to roll.
Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed. This is in all honesty one of the best sci-fi flicks of the new millennium I’ve seen. It was a breath of fresh air for modern science fiction, a genre whose poster children are series of brainless action heavy grindfests like the new Transformers movies. The action, the cinematography, and the actors were all top notch and the movie as a whole maintained that melancholy and bittersweet hopefulness that is common in all of the great science fiction movies. Michael Fassbender completely stole the show (even people who hated this movie almost unanimously agree that this was one of his best performances yet) and Scott once again showed his masterful use of the set piece. I sat through the entire ending credits silently, and walked out after the movie speechless, something that has never happened to me before.
However, being that I am a jaded and cynical old man at heart, I have to say that this film wasn’t perfect, and has a few things that even after two viewings still bother me. The first is that this movie seems really high on itself. It starts off with this big, grandiose theme that blares off every time something “wonderous” or “mysterious” is supposed to happen (which is a lot), like it’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind or something. And in a movie that has this many horror elements, trying to act like it’s the most important movie you’re audience will see is rather inappropriate. And that’s the other problem. It wasn’t scary. I’m not a gore hound, but I was expecting this movie to be a lot more intense than this, especially considering how effective a horror movie Alien was. There were only really four “frightening” scenes, and none of them were really that intense. Except maybe Noomi Rapace’s emergency abortion. That was pretty rough. I was never really scared. The first time I saw the movie I was a little on edge during a couple of scenes, but the second time I wasn’t even fazed. I like good horror, and unfortunately this movie didn’t really deliver on that aspect.
Plus I may be nitpicking, but despite how good the actors were, I couldn’t really get engrossed in any of the characters. It’s probably because I’ve seen this kind of movie so many times, I knew exactly who would live and who wouldn’t, and when those that wouldn’t would die (except for one character, and that’s because Scott, the bastard that he is, flat out lied about one character living through the movie). I mean come one, look at what we’ve got: the heroine (which is a common trait in Scott movies), her nice white-bread boyfriend (who had this weird, seemingly pathological hatred for robots), the quirky android, the corporate suit, the salty military-trained space captain and his smart-mouthed crew, the money-hungry jerk, the overeager nerd (you can tell he’s a nerd cause he wears glasses), and the group of nameless redshirts that exist only to show off how scary the monsters are when they get killed in gruesome ways. I mean come on, go back to that list I just gave and think hard about their survival chances. Plus, some of these characters are flat-out stupid. I don’t care if your little tri-quarters or whatever says that the air in the structure is breathable, YOU DON’T TAKE OFF YOUR HELMETS. Aren’t they afraid of alien germs or viruses? But I’m rambling again.
But despite these shortcomings and the controversial nature of the film amongst the fanbase (this is one of the more divisive films in the science fiction community right now) I really did enjoy it. Did it meet my expectations? Absolutely. Did it exceed them? Unfortunately no. But in this day and age, you can’t be too picky about movies and need to take them as they come. This is probably going to be the last really good movie I’ll see until The Dark Knight Rises comes out. I’m still on the fence about checking out Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter but if I do then I’ll have a review on that out pretty quick. But I will definitely go and see The Amazing Spider-man, and good God, I could take up several pages with complaints about that movie already