My online friend Bob Ingersoll will tease me, but this is a bad review of a disappointing movie: Prometheus. The review itself fails because this is a movie that is difficult to explain without giving away anything. You see, despite the advertising and publicity campaign stating this is a standalone movie, this movie is strictly a prequel to the great Alien, also by director Ridley Scott. So, let me give away nothing more than what is presented in the first five minutes of the movie and then let me get into the Spoiler Alert section.
The movie opens, reminiscent, of all things, of 2001 and there are sly references to that picture. Unlike Aliens, a crew is in a brightly lit, modern, spacecraft. Like Alien, we learn that the astronauts are on a mission for a major corporation, heading to an unknown planet. The crew complement includes a human looking android, and, if you saw Alien you think that he was not to be trusted. And you would be right. The movie lifts plot points and patterns from the original Alien and you sit there wondering in the first five minutes, “Gee, which strong woman, Charlize Theron or Noomi Rapace will be the last one standing at the end of the movie?”, “What does the AI android know that the others don’t?” (again reminiscent of both Alien and Hal from 2001), and “Will they all die one by one or in a bunch together?” The more you remember Alien, the more plot points you can see forming.
Charlize Theron is one of the most beautiful women on the movie screens today and I have seen four of her recent movies, almost in a row. Each one designed to make us dislike her. It’s beginning to work. Here, as in Snow White, Monster, and Young Adult, she is almost totally unlikeable. She is distant and cold, but so is almost everyone else. In fact, there is no one in this movie that I was rooting for, which, when you are waiting for everyone to die, takes the suspense out of it. Sigourney Weaver was great, convincing and real. No one in this movie is. You cared about Ripley. Hell, I cared about her cat more than anyone in this movie. The plot was weak and unoriginal, so I just sat there, looking at my watch, waiting for unresolved Alien plot points to be resolved. I did finish my Raisinets but didn’t open my Reese’s Pieces.
Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alert!
I feel that if you didn’t see Alien, there is no reason to see this movie and it might be a bit boring seeing them resolve Alienplot points. So see Alien before seeing this picture.
Do you remember in Alien when they landed on the planet and discovered the pilot in that large room? Explained and shown. And where the Aliens were “born”? Well, that is shown. The android meets a similar fate as the one in Alien. And we also learn that he had a similar, secret agenda, orders from the corporation that run counter to the survival of the astronauts. And yes, Noomi Rapace replaces Ripley in a solo battle at the end. The construction is so close to Alien that you guess what will happen.
Of course, this includes strange creatures bursting out of bellies, which is why I couldn’t eat the Reese’s Pieces. The original Alien was sci-fi, but it was horror in the best sense. There was great suspense, surprise and you didn’t know what or when something would happen. To me, Alien was Jaws in space. Here, the “horror” and suspense are replaced by longer gory and bloody scenes, without surprise.
There is a great disappointment at the end. After wrapping up Alien‘s plot points, they introduce a new one, and it looks like a sequel is planned.
The 3-D was fine and the special effects were very good, but, by today’s standards, nothing special. I have noticed that the soundtracks in movies today are not as memorable as they were. Jerry Goldsmith’s Alien soundtrack was wonderful. The music here, by Marc Streitenfeld, is forgettable.
I am going down to get my Reese’s Pieces. They are better when they are left in the freezer overnight anyway.