When it comes to Ridley Scott, I’m a fan. I’ve enjoyed such epics as Blade Runner, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Kingdom of Heaven and Alien (original). So when I saw previews for Prometheus, a theater viewing seemed mandated!
I typically reserve theater visits for epics films, those on a grand scale with compelling stories which are slightly larger than life. Here, a theater screen and encompassing sound dilute the chatter and cell phone use of complete strangers in the darkness. So, with Prometheus, the stage was set.
Billed as a prequel to Alien, I was looking forward to the event but sometimes ones expectations can lead a film viewing experience astray and I believe that is what happened here. Though a good movie, I would hardly rank Prometheus anywhere near the previously mentioned titles — it falls closer to other Scott-directed movies such as G.I. Jane, Matchstick Men, and American Gangster. Allow me to clarify.
The production value was clearly precise, detailed and expensive. All of the special effects were convincing and, at times, awe-inspiring. Furthermore, the acting was first-rate, believable (to a point) and on a whole, kept you in the flavor of the film but other issues almost overwhelm these positives.
The problem with prequels written after the original, is the manner with which the story attempts to wedge, nay, force itself into the fabric of the existing tapestry. It is rarely convincing or believable. Such was the case with the Star Wars series (don’t get me started) and such is the case here. The team being sent halfway across the galaxy while one member seems to know exactly what to do with the discoveries. Yeah, how exactly? The strange aliens creating a virus to destroy humanity for what purpose? The answer comes from the cryptic line, “To create, first one may have to destroy.” Broken eggs and all that jazz? Or how about the non-traditional life forms that seem to evolve rapidly throughout the film, suddenly generating the classic Alien physique at the end credits? Uh, talk about a lack of continuity. Or the Captain and two pilots gleefully committing suicide by ramming their spacecraft into another based on one quick radio transmission stating the other ship is carrying “death” and there “will be no home [Earth] to return to.” Unlikely.
This is nothing more than a high-budget sci-fi hack and slash thriller, not the epic seemingly pushed in the trailers. The direction was near perfect; unfortunately, the story didn’t keep up. For me, these and other issues killed what I’d hoped would be a great movie and brought it down to merely a SOLID 7 on my personal scale and find myself recommending a Red Box rental, not a theater viewing experience.