Prometheus might be the biggest disappointment of 2012.
To be honest though, some of that is my own fault. For whatever reason, the idea of Ridley Scott returning to the Alien universe filled me with hope, and the incredibly cool trailers and cast turned that hope into dreams of a fantastic, old school sci-fi adventure. Now that Prometheus is in the rear view mirror, I feel I need to suggest something that may anger a lot of people:
It might be time to write off Ridley Scott. Alien and Blade Runner may have just been flukes. when you look at the man’s filmography, there’s a whole lot of undercooked, overdressed films on there. Like Tim Burton, Scott has become an art director that somehow tripped into the big chair, and he has no idea how to handle story mechanics. Above all else, Scott is a director that needs a strong script to support his gorgeous scenery.
Unfortunately, Damon Lindelof is not a strong writer. The Lost show runner is much more fond of asking questions than answering them, and posing questions doesn’t make an interesting narrative. Prometheus is a film that lacks a third act entirely, filled with characters we don’t care about making stupid decisions based on plot necessity rather than intellectual sense.
The oddest choice made here is to turn this story into the beginning of an Alien prequel trilogy but only go half way. The film walks right up to Alien, taps it on the shoulder, and then runs away at the last moment, leaving a few details hanging for a Prometheus sequel when those details should be properly explained here. The Hollywood franchise mentality has seriously crippled Prometheus, and I’m tired of watching films with beginnings or ends. It has gotten to the point that any studio film that has a solid three act structure gets a rave, and that just shouldn’t be the case.
There’s two aspects of Prometheus I will praise, and the first is Michael Fassbender’s performance as the android David. Fassbender clearly thinks he’s in a movie that’s much better than the one he’s actually in, giving an Oscar worthy performance here. David is endlessly watchable, even in the background of certain shots all attention is on him. Fassbender is having an incredible few years here, and I hope his next project is worth his talents.
The second is the look of the film, which is stunning. Prometheus will work great as a BluRay disc used by Best Buy and Target to show off the capabilities of the format, and I’m close to recommending the film based on the visuals alone. If you have the extra income, the disc is worth investing in so you can show off your theater system to your friends. For everyone else, Prometheus is barely worth a rental.
Prometheus hits store shelves on October 9th, 2012. You can pre-order a copy right here.
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