Prometheus was the brain child of Ridley Scott, a director that I have so much respect for I cannot speak of him without showing my bias.
Alien (1979) I consider a masterpiece and the best film ever to combine horror and science fiction. Blade Runner (1982) is considered a classic and you can watch it multiple times and always discover something new.
So you can imagine when I heard Scott was going to create a film that was something of an intellectual predecessor for Alien, I could barely contain my excitement.
The marketing for the film was intense, but when the viral video of Guy Pearce playing Peter Weyland giving a TED talk in the year 2023 was so powerful, I knew the film was going to be great in every way. You can watch this amazing piece of cinematography here.
Prometheus was the first movie I ever saw in a midnight showing.
And my disappointment was massive. My heart was broken that Scott could err so greatly and create a film with such massive flaws.
Since then, I have developed a massive love/hate relationship with the film. I own the Blu-Ray version and have watched it several times.
First, what I liked about the film:
- The character of David as played by Michael Fassbender was perfect. If you want to see the potential dangers of AI, study the character of David. At first take, he simply appears to be a murderous android, but in hindsight, he is only following the direct commands of his creator obeying the letter and the spirit of his master’s orders. The matter of David’s ethics are debatable, and I originally thought that in the conversation David had with Charlie Halloway (played by Logan Marshall-Green) if Charlie had not been so callous and patronizing in his response to David’s question, “Why do you think your people made me?” he would not have infected Charlie with the black oil.
Now I think he still would have done so regardless of how Charlie had answered. David had his orders and though I am certain Weyland never intended David to go as far as he did with the result ending in Charlie’s terrible death, David obeyed both the letter and the spirit of Weyland’s command to “try harder.”
- Special effects. The ship Prometheus is drop dead gorgeous. The scenes of it coming in to land on the alien planet are breathtaking on a large screen. In fact, I loved all the visuals.
- As I am a member of the ordained clergy, I was stunned by the respectful allusions to religion in a contemporary film. When you watch the movie again, take special note and number of the religious comments that are made in the film. From Elizabeth Shaw’s (played by Naomi Rapace) obvious dedication to Christianity to references to the afterlife to the ship pilots telling each other that they will meet each other “on the other side,” even the android David wishes the dying Weyland to “have a good journey.” In today’s atmosphere of treating religion with contempt, I found it surprising to find religion treated respectfully.
- The scientists did not act like scientists. Charlie Halloway acts like a massive jerk throughout the movie even though he was part of a discovery that will rewrite science and put his name forever in the history books. And taking his helmet off inside the alien complex? What was that all about? And then, everybody else imitates his action! Seems nobody understands the potential for infection?
- And ice maiden Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) refuses to tell the crew and the scientists why they are really exploring the planetoid which puts them all at risk.
- Biologist Milburn (Rafe Spall) is so incompetent, he fails to recognize a threat display from the “space cobra?” He deserved to die for such unspeakable stupidity.
- And before that, how does Milburn and Fifield get lost in an alien spaceship when they have a complete and accurate map in their possession?
- Shall we talk about Elizabeth Shaw’s amazing physical feats of strength and agility after an emergency caesarian operation in which her abdomen and uterus are sutured together with big metal staples? And the fact the placenta remained inside her means there can’t be a sequel. She has to die of sepsis.
- And one final question … in the hologram David activates showing the alien Engineers clearly running away from a threat, why do they run into a room filled with the very danger they are running from?
The bottom line is that Prometheus is a deeply flawed film. I watch it for its special moments, but in my humble opinion, Ridley Scott blew it big time.