Now before I begin I feel like I should give my thoughts on the other Alien films I’ve seen. Alien was really good, a bit over-rated, but still good and I consider it a master-class in suspense, Aliens is my all time favourite film and I went into full detail here. As for Alien 3, Alien Resurrection and the AVP films, I haven’t seen them and, going on the reviews, I don’t think I want to. With that said, I was looking forward to Prometheus, hoping that it would be the return to form Ridley Scott needed after the atrocious Robin Hood and would help answer some of the questions people had over the first Alien film. With that said, Prometheus was a disappointment. In order to say why, I may give away some key plot points in the film so consider this your spoiler warning.
Now I feel like I should mention the good aspects first before I get to the bad so first of all, the production design is excellent, the design of Promethues, HR Giger’s designs for the creatures and the design of the planet are all excellent and brought to life with incredible practical effects, showing just how much better practical effects are to CGI with the bits of CGI used being brilliantly combined with the practical effects so that they don’t feel out of place (by the way, I also went to see this in 3D and the 3D is barely noticable and is essentially pointless). I also have to say that Michael Fassbender is incredible as the android David, giving one of the best performances in his career. Fassbender is so creepy and unnerving as David that you can really feel the inhuman aspects of his character and a lot of that is just due to the body language and facial expressions of Fassbender, I actually rarely saw Fassbender blink on screen as David which really highlights the nature of the character.
The other cast members, outside of Fassbender are a mixed bag. Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall Green as Shaw and Charlie respectively, have a great onscreen chemistry with each other and they each give good performances, particularly Rapace who really sells the whole faith side of her character. Idris Elba is also good as the ship captain and he shows great concern for the crew of the ship by the end of the film. Benedict Wong and Emun Elliot are the most entertaining aspect of the film as the two co-pilots with some great witty dialogue between them, unfortunately they only have limited screen time and I wish I could have found out the names of their characters. The other cast members give pretty bad performances. Charlize Theron looks really bored and uninterested as Vickers, the representative from Weyland Industries (another one of the Alien references) and I don’t buy the cold or inhuman aspects of her character because she looks so bored. The worst member of the cast though, by a mile is Guy Pearce as Weyland. I never bought Guy Pearce as an old man and I really question the decision of Ridley Scott to hire Pearce to play Weyland when there are dozens of older actors to play this character, hell if you want to continue the Alien prequel stuff, hire Ian Holm or Lance Henriksen to play Weyland. The only reason you would hire a younger actor is in order to do scenes when the character is physically younger (see Benjamin Button) so that the audience knows that it is the same character but there is nothing like that in Prometheus. Plus the ageing make-up on Pearce doesn’t look convincing at all.
The plot itself is also really good dealing with issues of who created humanity and aliens being the ancient Gods angle which I think was last touched upon in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and issues of faith and the powerful desire all humans have for belief. Unfortunately, these aspects of the film get bogged down whenever Prometheus starts to show some of the Alien DNA, becoming less about powerful ideas of faith and instead boils down to, “oh look, you should recognise that from Alien” stuff which really drags the plot of the film to a screeching halt. There are also many questions related to the “Engineers” that are brought up by the end of the film but are never answered. The ending is pure sequel bait, making it feel like Prometheus is a prequel, to a prequel. Even the things that tie this into Alien don’t make sense, mainly with the name of the planet and the nature of the atmosphere inside the planet in relation to the suits in Alien (which look less advanced that the suits in Prometheus despite the fact that Alien takes place about 100 years after Prometheus).
Then there are the plot holes. Some of them are mainly in relation to time, mainly that it is said the film takes place over 6 days when, at most, the humans could only have been on the planet for 3 days. There are many things brought up in relation to the characters of Vickers, Shaw and the Captain, with actions by them in one scene completely going against what they do in other scenes. I won’t spoil any of them since they all occur at the end of the film but rest assured they do get overwhelming by the end. There is also the fact that the opening scene does absolutely nothing to advance the plot of the film and is just there to set up the creatures, which it doesn’t really do very well.
In conclusion, while Prometheus isn’t a bad film, it is a very disappointing film and continues my belief that Ridley Scott is the most over-rated director working in the industry. The film is worth watching for the production design and Fassbender’s incredible performance but the plot-holes and poor acting by others may throw you out of the experience like it did to me.
My Rating: 3/5