Film: Prometheus splits critics, thrills audiences

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June 15th, 2012

Omaha, NE – Ridley Scott’s return to science fiction has left critics divided and audiences thrilled. From the Movieha podcast, Ryan Syrek and Matt Lockwood take a look at Prometheus.

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Ryan: Prometheus is not a prequel to Alien.

Matt: Are you sure, because that’s not what I heard.

Prometheus, directed by Ridley Scott, stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron.

Ryan: Prometheus IS a prequel to Alien.

Matt: Wait, you just said it wasn’t?

Ryan: Are you the type of guy who needs a specific answer to every question?

Matt: Yes. No. Maybe. What was the question again?

Ryan: If you find that movies that engage in crazy philosophical notions without clear conclusions are frustrating, director Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is going to ruin you.

Matt: Set in the same world as Alien but many decades earlier, Prometheus follows a curious couple played by Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green, who discover a series of cave paintings that suggest our divine creators may have an address.

Ryan: So they do what any of us would do, get corporate funding from an evil organization, collect a crew that consists of an android named David played by Michael Fassbender and a stoic ice-princess who does semi-nude pushups played by Charlize Theron, and head out in space to meet our makers.

Matt: Once the gang gets there, they are dismayed to find bizarre godlike biological weapons and a host of unspeakable creatures that do unspeakable things to unspeakable places.

Ryan: As much a staggeringly beautiful visual extravaganza as it is a legitimate action thriller, what sets Prometheus apart is it’s willingness to grapple with the divine, provoking the most spirited debate among those who have seen it.

Matt: One group contends that the movie’s failure to postulate specific responses to the questions of creation and destruction that are brought about is a sign that the movie is actually quite dim. Blame is being cast on former Lost writer Damon Lindelof, who carries with him a reputation for failing to deliver in the third act.

Ryan: But such accusations are unfair and unfounded, as part of the fun is considering the possibilities that run wild. The same people who lament the lack of exposition here are the same gang who blasted the sci-fi prequel Star Wars The Phantom Menace for attempting to explain that the force was really just a manifestation of tiny alien bugs.

Matt: No, Prometheus does not tie a bow on anything and leave itself wide open for sequels that aren’t the original Alien movie featuring Sigourney Weaver, although there are clearly echoes of that earlier work all over.

Ryan: What Prometheus is in reality is a clever tale that encases high-octane action and effects inside some thought-provoking questions. And if that is what some people consider a failure, I encourage them to wait until this weekend, when Adam Sandler’s That’s My Boy comes out.

Editorial note: The Movieha podcast is produced in partnership with The Reader and is available at thereader.com.

4 Responses

  1. godzi says:

    In alien the space jockey was found dead in the control room, but in prometheus the space jockey escapes from the alien ship? WTF!…

  2. jbax says:

    That wasn’t the space jockey. And whoever wrote this, there is going to be a sequel to this if you actually did your research before blasting a movie that you yourself might not be able to grasp. Not saying you can’t, just saying its not fair to critique the movie based on the possibility that some might not understand it.

  3. Corporal Hudson says:

    Well guys. Prometheus was thrilling, but it does not really do true justice to the original alien franchise for a few reasons:

    1. Possible Discontinuity errors: if that planet was supposed to be LV249 in the Alien movies, it looks nothing like it. And the “pilot” or “engineer” species (as referred to in Prometheus) should have been flying-the space-craft while the chest burster comes out of his chest.

    2. Lack of central command for a space-ship crew; who the heck is in charge? The Captain? The blonde girl? The scientists? All of whom do not seem to have had astronaut training.

    3. Lack of regulations for a space-ship crew. Basically the characters are space-jockeys, they are the American-Space-Age equivalent of a bunch of wealthy tourists who have the money to afford Scuba equipment, a ship and all the other gadgets, but they lack the training to go scuba-diving.

    Case in point; Why the HELL would an explorer on a new unchartered planet remove his protective breathing apparatus just because the air is breathable? Without any care for possible contaminants in the air? If you really did that, you would NOT be allow back on the ship for fear of spreading the contaminant. Our heroine of the show only raises this point far too late in the movie.

    4. The lack of Fear-factor in the aliens.

    There is no SHOCKING moment. What made the Aliens so fearful in the 1st movies were the fact that you could look at them today and still go “WTF is that!?” In prometheus what did we have?

    We basically had the X-files black gooey stuff, packed in thermoses, that supposedly makes humans sick and turns them into bad creatures/zombies. There is also the “alien” itself which is basically a giant squid. Any person who has seen a documentary would have seen the explorer-diver grappling with an octopus or squid, so it’s not a big deal. So we just have a giant squid… big deal… what’s so impressive or scary about that? And most of it is CGI and it looks unreal.

    The original Face-Hugger has MUCH more fear factor simply because it is small and crawls about, and if you study it, it is perfectly designed to grab a human host and impregnate it. A perfect specimen.

    5. A Creative lack of creativity in the film.

    THe original Pilot in the alien series looked cool simply because they looked like giant humanoid walking elephants… But in Prometheus we encounter them again, merely to find out that they are wearing Elephant helmets, which can be pulled back to reveal HUMANS! What a disappointment.

    It is as if the producers did not want to spend time/energy to really give us a shocking new-creature, or continue with the idea that the Pilot/Engineers are an alien species (non human), but instead, they just lazily reveal that they are humans…

    And the X-files rip off of Black Goo is terrible! We just need Mr Wayland to be the Ciggarette smoking man as well.

    6. The Theme of Milking the Aliens franchise:

    Combining these points; we get the impression that Riddley Scott took up this project against the will of Cameron to make a prequel, stealing the Alien franchise and milking it for what it is worth to score a box-office hit on the back of a successful Alien franchise…

    Even though it is a pretty good movie, Prometheus is yet another film trying to piggy back on Aliens; much like Alien vs Predator 1 and 2. Eventually we may have Alien vs Predator vs Elves (guest starring Orlando Bloom).

    Some Good points about the film:

    1. The anti-corporate continuity. The Aliens franchise has always been defined by resistance to the evil corporation and CEOs/management types who want profit at all costs, making good human beings expendable…

    Does this sound familiar after our latest financial crisis with profiteers?

    Prometheus does a good job at showing how the Evil company is the villain yet again, along with the evil robot (Fassbender) who impregnates one of our heroes with the X-files Goo.

    Also, Prometheus adds on the anti-Christian darwinian aspect of the origins of our species.

    2. There is a good mixture of DARK and LIGHT about the film. James Cameron’s aliens were always in DArk Shadowy environments. But Prometheus does include bright scenes in the film mixed with darker environments, it is a good balance.

    There you have it, a fantastic movie that does not do justice to the originals.

  4. Gary Mitchell says:

    The story line was quite well constructed however too many flaws to make this a classic. 1. Guy Pearce was unconvincing as the old dude. He looked like a 44yo made up to look 104. His acting was stilted and not beleivable. Why not cast an old actor , ie Ian McKellin or Christopher Lee. 2. The “canisters” of doom resembled all too much the original Alien eggs. What is it with the guy at the start who drinks from a canister and dies? Suicide? 3. There was limited “atmosphere” in the whole movie. 4. Charlize Theron was OK for 90% of the film but dropped unbeleivably out of character in the “come up and see me sometime” scene on the bridge with the captain Idris Elba. For a steely bitch she seemed to be very “Charlize” during this scene. 5. Apart from the ever brilliant Michael Fassbender pretty much all of the characters remained undeveloped. 6. The lead female also had no “Ripley” guts to her performance and maybe Ridley should have gone with Rooney Mara the other Dragon Tattoo chick. 7. Why did they have David playing basketball at the begiining. We have already seen Ripley perform some great “hoop” scenes in Alien Resurrection. Aren’t there other games David could have occupied himself with. 8. Why did the “pup” show signs of a life form at the end of the tunnel (apparently the detection was of the “engineer” in it’s stasus pod) then the reading disappeared. Surely the Engineer hadn’t got up to go to the loo and move out of range of the pup? 9. Sean Harris for mine was the stand out performance (after Michael Fassbender) but he was not used enough. 10. Too many crew that clogged up the action. 11. The weaponary that was available to the crew were simply too unbeleivably ineffective for a story set 80 years from now…come on…Flame Throwers??? 12. And if I see the sickly cootchy cootchy coo scene in another film where Milburn finds this snake-like Alien somewhat cute…PLEASE. So all up for Story 8.5 out of 10…Casting 4 out of 10…Cinematography 7 out of 10…Apart from Fassbender, Elba and Harris who I give 9.5 out of 10 for performance the others rated from 2-5 out of 10. In all I am significantly disappointed with Ridley Scott and I only hope he doesn’t trash Blade Runner 2 as he has trashed the Alien series with Prometheus…4 out of 10!!

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