So I went and saw Prometheus yesterday, and I gotta admit … I loved it. That said, I can also understand why hardcore “Alien” franchise fans would be disappointed. Let me break down why, and I promise not to drop any spoilers.
First off, it’s actually really well written! The last time I walked out of a Science Fiction movie with grand questions that I yearned to have answers to was … well, it’s been long enough that I’m not sure if I’ve had that problem. If you pay attention and keep an open mind, it gives you answers to various questions, but it also leaves some of the answer boxes left open and unmarked.
When you top the excellent writing with a great cast (Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, ect), some amazing aesthetics, and top notch sound design, you’ve got an awesome recipe. Seriously, the movie was fantastic in nearly all its elements.
Now for why you’ll not like Prometheus and /rage on the internet about it afterward. We’ll start off with the biggest reason; it’s NOT “Alien 0”. Yes it’s a prequel to Alien, but it’s not an Alien movie. Alien, in it’s most basic form, was about “Oh god, we found this bug and it’s killing our crew.”
Prometheus, however, is about the origins of Mankind and our connection to the planet (and ship on) from the first and second Alien films. Seriously, you won’t see a single Xenomorph like they were in the first and second films. There’s “stuff” going on, sure, but it isn’t the Bugs.
Second on the list of things you’ll hate: It’s not a horror movie. Yes, it has horror and some scenes are pretty damn nasty, but those are maybe 15-20 minutes of the entire film. Prometheus is more of a dark thriller in space, saving the moments that’ll get your blood pumping for the scenes that directly setup Alien.
So yes, if you want a dark thriller set in space that will get your brain spinning, rather than getting your blood pumping, Prometheus is for you. It’s intelligently written, has a fantastic cast topped with great visual and sound design, and establishes everything behind one of the longest running Horror franchises in film.
It’s not an Alien film before Alien, and it won’t answer all your questions; in fact, it’ll breed a few new ones. That’s part of its charm though, so enjoy the mystery! Seriously, go into the movie with an open mind and pay attention to it, and I’ll bet you enjoy the thing as much as I did.
Oh well, back to getting caught up on S7 of Supernatural and getting some writing done.
~ UPDATE: 6/14 ~
Well, I didn’t quite plan on returning to this article, but can stop thinking about Prometheus. Despite my initial ravings, the reasons for which I can’t stop thinking about the film are not good.
After I wrote this first impressions review, I’ve watched a few debates and discussions on the film take place. I’ve also rewound the film in my head, giving some deeper thoughts on it.
The results aren’t good. I still enjoyed the film, yes, but I’ve developed three chief problems with Prometheus.
A) The characters. Looking back, I’d argue that while the cast is still very solid, the characters are pretty poor. As Chuck Wendig pointed out with his impressions on the film, all the characters are slaves to the story itself. Their decisions seem contradictory at the best of times, and flat out bad in others. The only real exception to this, I believe, would be Fassbender’s character, David.
B) The plot holes. Seriously, there are some pretty glaring plot holes that I can’t conceive of being “fixed” between Prometheus and Alien. I won’t go into details, for the sake of spoilers, but there are some details that are flat-out wrong on a completely obvious level.
C) The series. Prometheus serves more to give the implication of answers, rather than fully revealing anything. It’s discovered (in the first five minutes) that we’re the product of an Engineer and what I assume is some form of recombinant virus or DNA. Is it ever revealed why we were made, or exactly how? No. There are a number of things that are this way, but it only leads me to think that they intended to turn this into a new series for the Alien franchise. My suspicion is that their initial plan was to use the entire first film (Prometheus) as a lead-in to whatever else they could imagine.
I still enjoyed the movie, but the after taste is becoming a bit more bitter as time goes by.
I loved this movie too and agree that I could see where many Alien franchise fans would be disappointed. I consider myself a huge fan too but I could tell from the trailer that this was going to be a different movie. I just thought it was clever that it was about us finding where man came from but instead found out where other life forms come from. Very cleverly written story.
There must be two versions of this movie in theatres. The one you and others saw and loved, and the one I watched. Mine featured a throw-away cast of cardboard characters no reasonable person would care about, an implausible script that seemed with random and pointless junctions, inane dialoge, and a last-minute ‘oh shit, don’t forget about Alien!’ ending
Visually stunning – yes. Other than that? Nope.
The more I think on Prometheus, the more I agree with many of the detracting points of the film. It’s still good, but it’s less the masterpiece than it was before.
I think part of it might be initial expectations. I watched only one or two trailers, and completely passed by interviews, but I knew it’d be a departure from the Alien franchise. I think that initial void of expectations, on my part, added to my enjoyment of the film.
That said, I will agree in hindsight that while the cast was good, the characters were pretty poor. The only exception I’d label here would be the character of David (Fassbender). Seriously, “Let’s make friends with the Proto-Facehugger,”?
The film also did a better job at raising the implication of answers than fully revealing them. Such as our origin: it’s revealed that we’re created from the combination of the Engineer’s body and the black liquid (which I assume is some form of recombinant virus or DNA). It’s left up to interpretation over exactly why we came about and why they want us dead, which isn’t necessarily bad.
The best theory I have is that they wanted to use Prometheus as a springboard for a new direction with the Alien franchise. I think they’re betting on at least one sequel, using the first film as a lead-in.
Then there’s all the plot holes that I noticed later on. I think I might need to update my impressions in this article.