Movie Review: Prometheus

Prometheus dumber than a dozen Chariots of the Gods

In the theatre, everybody could hear me scream

Original published at Edifice Rex Online
 
22 July 2012 — Ridley Scott's much-hyped prequel to his iconic 1979 science fiction/horror classic Alien goes a long way towards debunking the auteur theory of film-making.
 
Barring an unacknowledged stroke, there is just no way the same mind could have been responsible for both films. Clearly, Dan O'Bannon deserved one hell of a lot more credit for the first movie than Scott ever did.
 
Though not without flaws, Alien was a taut haunted-spaceship movie that included a credible science-fiction back-story and characters who (a) weren't too dumb to believe in and who (b) were for once normal working instead of scientists or quasi-military explorers in spandex underwear. And more, a number of those working people were women, including the film's eventual survivor.
 
 
 
The movie's look was even more memorable (if not more ahead of its time) than its choice of a competent working-class woman as hero. H.R. Giger's nightmarishly organic and sexual designs are just as off-putting today as they were in 1979. Indeed, what little good there is in Prometheus comes directly from Giger's singular vision.
 
30 years after the fact, Ridley Scott decided it was time to Answer All the Questions the original movie (and its often quite good sequels) had left open. Who the alien astronaut was and what was its relation to the monster? How did the Evil Corporation know about it in the first place?
 
The answers don't make any sense, and that non-sense is made worse by the astronaut's connection to the origin of the human race itself.
 
What we get is a horror movie that isn't frightening, a science fiction movie that makes no sense, internal or otherwise, and a fiction whose characters behave as no human beings ever would — or even could.
Prometheus fails, spectacularly, on every level. In years to come, it might serve as entertainment for teenagers high on pot and looking for something to giggle over late at night, but for the rest of us, Epic Failure is the best that can be said.

Holy von Daniken, Batman!



Not even Erich von Daniken can believe
that that is a viable star-map.
With a premise that makes Chariots of the Gods seem like rigorous science.
 
It is impossible to believe that the Paleolithic cave art (see image at left) could be used as a chart to an alien world light years away.
 
It is impossible to believe that all of our genetic knowledge — including our close kinship with the great apes (and our more distant kinship with, er, all life on Earth) — is wrong and that we were created some 35,000 years ago by "engineers" from the stars. (Who, incidentally, were nine feet tall but somehow "100 percent genetically identical" to modern humans.)
 
It is impossible to believe that even the most evil of Evil Corporations would send a one trillion dollar scientific expedition into space and then run said expedition with less common sense than that a gaggle of teenagers might bring to an over-night camping expedition in the woods behind grandma's house.
 
It is impossible to believe that the terrified geologists who were running back to their ship would, when lost, wander about the alien Artifact at random instead of just staying put and awaiting rescue.
 
It is impossible to believe the ship's captain would blindly open the biggest door his spaceship has when a lost camera suddenly shows up right outside.
 
It is impossible to believe this trillion-dollar expedition wouldn't bother with even rudimentary decontamination procedures.
 
It is impossible to believe that scientists would remove their helmet's just because the air in an alien environment as if they'd never heard of the common cold. Or Ebola.
 
It is impossible to believe they wouldn't put their helmets back on when the supposedly dead environment starts reacting to their presence.
 
It is impossible to believe in a "silica storm" that hurls pits and pieces of coin-sized glass hasn't left everything on that planet as smooth as a window-pane.
 
I could go on and on (and on); the movie is nothing but nonsense. Physics, astronomy, evolution, psychology and common sense — they all take a beating, as if no one in charge, not even once, asked himself, Do this make any sense?
 
 
 
And so I laughed when the geologist was tentacle-raped and laughed again when, during the film's climactic action sequence, Noomi Rapace's Dr. Shaw was attacked by the ancient astronaut she thought she had already killed. But mostly I squirmed in my seat, bitching and moaning — loudly — because not even Torchwood: Miracle Day managed to offer my intelligence so many insults in so little time.
 
Is there anything good to say about the movie? Are there thrills and chills or some compelling commentary on modern mores or politics to redeem the silliness?
 
Well, beyond one cringe-inducing scene in which the heroine gives herself a caesarian section with (possibly intentional) echoes of abortion, the answer is a resounding No! There are not.
 
Enough. Prometheus isn't scary, isn't exciting and — 3D and CGI effects or no — doesn't even improve on the look of its predecessors. As science fiction, as adventure, as horror, as basic story-telling, Prometheus is an epic failure and nothing more.

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