FINALLY, everyone can now remove their spoiler alerts because the last person on earth to not see Prometheus has eventually gotten round to seeing it. Did I take my own advice about what to expect from with your film expectations? Well sort of. Read on if you’re interested in hearing my take, but be warned, if your are not from this planet and you’re still in the dark on the details, there might be spoilers ahead…
Ok, so I’d like to point out that I enjoyed the film. In it’s own right, it’s a damn fine film. We all know it’s been hyped to the hill so I’m not going to go on about the pit falls of that. Although I would like to point out (putting the shoe on the other foot) that without the hype, if it had been sprung upon us from nowhere, with no viral marketing, advertising or media hysteria, then no one would have seen it and it wouldn’t have been half as much fun to talk about.
Since watching it I have read some of the blog posts and reviews that people had been posting on Twitter that I had otherwise avoided through fear of spoilers. There are some interesting standpoints worth taking onboard, namely this post from a guy call ‘Cavalorn’ where he raises some interesting comparisons to Christianity and the basis of the film being around the ideology of selfless self sacrifice. It’s a good read, backed up with facts and quotes and is almost single handedly “forcing” me to go watch the film again (any excuse really). Overall, Cavalorn’s post is a positive one, but obviously we have the slightly more negative ones like Gavin Rothery’s post where he makes some valid points about the lack of characters emotional weight and value, which I completely agree with. There’s no room for the characters to breath and develop on screen and therefor no reason for us to cry or cheer for any of them when they meet their maker (pardon the pun), but Gavin also chirps on about the physical improbabilities that are almost constant throughout the film, the idea of which I find slightly fussy. I remember a mate of mine saying he didn’t enjoy the 1998 version of Godzilla, not because it was it had Matthew Broderick in it, which would have been a perfectly plausible reason, but because he didn’t find it very realistic… He went to see a film about a gigantic, nuclear, mutated, French lizard, levelling Manhattan and he was complaining it wasn’t realistic! The clue is in the title of the genre “Sci Fi” – Just relax and enjoy it, it’s not meant to be a lesson in science, otherwise it would be called ‘Sci Fact’.
Things that do annoy me about bad Sci Fi films are things like poor soundtracks, cringeworthy dialogue, dodgy editing and bad characters, points at which Prometheus falls victim to on more than one account:
- The soundtrack felt weird, overegged somehow. Now, I know this is an eptic film so out come the big kettle drums, but it did have massive associations to “Alien”, not just in it’s timeline or “DNA” (the obligatory buzz word when talking about Prometheus) but in it’s structure, and Alien’s soundtrack was made with a triangle, some tin foil and a bin lid. Less IS sometimes more.
- As for the dialogue, there’s some real humdingers in there, which is all the more poignant when each character is given around 0.7 seconds to assert their purpose, agendas and motives, but instead of something insightful or purposeful, there’s a 50/50 chance you’re to be greeted with a skin crawling one liner. One of the most underrated elements about Alien was it’s dialogue, which for the most part was incoherent mumblings, but that meant you never once felt you where being “delivered” a line, it was just there and you just so happened to hear it, the effect was immersive, Prometheus is obvious and without many subtleties.
- I’ll bundle the dodgy editing and bad characters into one jab – what the hell was going on with the ‘Peter Weyland’ character? Guy Pearce looked like he was about to join the ‘Jack Ass’ crew when they dress up as old dudes and wreak some havoc on some unsuspecting aliens. Why didn’t they just get an old man to play the old man?! Ridely Scott was quoted saying that the film we’ll see in the cinema is the film he intended us to see, nothing was excluded for the sake of certifications or time restraints, however… apparently, there are scenes lying on the cutting room floor with Guy Pearce as a younger Peter Weyland, which would have made the playdough prosthetics slightly more excusable, but what happened to those extra scenes then?! Or maybe the dodgy prosthetics was due to some cryogenic freezing side affect? But if that was the case then a quick line of dialogue to excuse it would have made sense. How can you look at the jaw dropping ageing effects in ‘Benjamin Button‘ and then look at this ‘Spitting Image‘ reject? I’m led to believe Prometheus wasn’t cheap, so what was this elephant in the room all about?
BUT… all this aside, I think the thing what makes Prometheus an enjoyable film is it’s message (pay attention Gavin) – “No matter how much you think you know, you’ll never know everything”. We (the humans) thought they could shoot up beyond the stars and figure it all out – WRONG! We thought we could stroll right through the front door and get answer to burning questions like “So was it the chicken or the egg?” – WRONG! And where I think Prometheus is so interesting is it suggests that even our makers got it wrong as well. Something happened that they didn’t expect, something made them want to wipe us out, and something hit the fan. To reference the late great Dr. Ian Malcolm’s ‘Chaos Theory’ or simply ‘Murphy’s law’, no matter how much knowledge, power or experience you think you have, unexpected things can and almost certainly will happen. Things won’t always make perfect sense because we don’t know everything! “Why did this happen?” “That wouldn’t have happened in real life” “Why didn’t they do that?” …LET IT GO! Then I think you’ll enjoy the film a lot more.
Another thing I’ve found funny about people’s reactions to the film is that there were so many questions left unanswered. This is funny for 3 reasons:
- IT”S JUST A FILM! Getting answers in the film will not mean you really know where humans came from.
- IT”S CLEARLY A TRILOGY! There’s plenty of time for more answers in the next 2 films.
- WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? All the answers on a plate? When was the last time you left a cinema feeling completely quantified about any film’s storyline? Things have to be left unsaid otherwise it would go on forever and then you’d all be complaining “It went on too long! My bum hurts! etc etc…” and it was obviously leaving certain things set up for the next film (see point 2).
Other points of note (Good and Bad):
- The special effects are some of the best I’ve ever seen. Truly seamless between live action and CGI.
- The 3D (and I saw it at the IMAX in Manchester) is great for all of 20 minutes, then you forget you’re even watching it in 3D. There are no real gimmicky moments, with things shooting out at you (this is a good thing). I’m going to watch it again, but next time I’ll be leaving the 3D gigs at home.
- I would have loved to have seen more of David’s happenings during the time when everyone was asleep. Think how lonely it felt when you were watching Sam Bell in ‘Moon‘. I think Ridley missed out on giving this part of the film some real depth, although I imagine that’s not a great selling point when pitching to the studio exec’s – “at this point I want to bore everyone until they wish they were in suspended cryosleep”.
- In space you can’t run sideways!
- Fassbender was great, but maybe not as great as everyone is making out. His character obviously owed a lot to Ian Holm’s ‘Ash’ and Lance Henriksen’s ‘Bishop’.
- Theron’s ass looked amazing!!!
I’d love to go on in more detail but I fear no one has even made it this far, so I’m going to stop now. If you have made it this far then well done you (you need to get out more). It’d be great to hear what you thought about the film and my take on it. Agree? Disagree? Post a comment below: