Space Week #4 = Prometheus (2012)
I’m going to toss out all the nitpicking crap that I usually post, because this movie goes above and beyond as a space film, and is a credit to the science fiction genre, like Interstellar (2014) and Silent Running (1972). It’s actually not a pure space film like 2001: A Space Odyssey, but more like a horror movie in some parts. To be honest, I think it contains enough science fiction to qualify as a cerebral thriller.
I agree with some of the critics that say Prometheus has a lot going on. It has a lot of awesomeness going on though. The movie talks about the beginnings of life on Earth and throws out more than one hypothesis about that. The characters even argue and wonder about what they see and explore. This movie has pretty big ambitions.
The movie mixes a lot of elements. Is it an Alien sequel? Prequel? Stanley Kubrick? James Cameron? I’d almost like to think that Ridley Scott should have just made the movie he wanted to tell about evolution and life in the universe, instead of mixing in Alien and Darwin. When we get a lot of Alien influences, they are pretty gross, and lean towards horror in a way that made me cringe. Yikes. The main character literally cuts herself open and staples herself closed, somehow remaining conscious. An alien snake-thing snaps a man’s arm because he’s an idiot. There are other more subtle images, but those are the highlights.
When the movie is on, it is atmospheric and eerie. The best parts involve the exploration of the alien ship, with the crew wandering the dark corridors and wondering what the hell happened there. The movie is pretty good-looking like you might expect from Ridley Scott, and every detail fits great.
I don’t think Noomi Rapace is anything special in this movie, but Michael Fassbender is better than everybody else. He stretches himself in his role as an android and he does a great job. He’s not like any other android robot character I’ve seen.
Pouting Robot: Why do you think your people made me?
Arrogant Jerk Guy: We made you cause we could.
Pouting Robot: Can you imagine how disappointing it would be for you hearing that from your own creator?
Fassbender’s dialogue evokes the themes in this movie more than any other. He is curious and imitates humans, but is not quite one himself. He almost seems indignant towards humans actually, as if he already knows the answer to the question I quoted above. His answer is that he feels disappointed, wanting more from his existence. That’s probably why he agrees to do some of the things he does. It’s not just cause he’s the Hal9000 all over again.
All in all, this is pretty good science fiction, but falls flat when mixed with Alien. Prometheus has the splatter horror and shocks down pat, but is missing some of the subtle nuances of the original Alien. The fact that I’m even comparing it to Alien is pretty dumb, because this movie had real promise and a great thematic direction, but I think audiences just wanted Aliens all over again. That’s pretty stupid. It is convoluted with too much prequel sequel crap to deliver a more consistent tone, a hard science fiction story like it started to tell at the beginning. I would have been happy if it stayed there.
Does it want to be a science fiction film about human life? Does it want to be splatter horror? Considering the inconclusive ending, Ridley Scott seems to have given up on deciding, but the ideas and the themes make it something of an intense trip.