Prometheus Review

God, I wanted this movie to be amazing. Ever since the first teaser trailer I was ready for a masterpiece. It was everything I ever wanted: Ridley Scott directing, amazing cinematography, the same intense aesthetic as Alien, and even an amazing cast featuring Michael Fassbender and Idris Elba. This is no doubt a movie after my heart. It was as if Ridley Scott had, after all these years, finally read all my fan letters and decided to make that movie I’ve always wanted. But, unfortunately this was but a dream and I eventually woke up to find Prometheus, an excellent but very flawed film.

The majority of Prometheus’ flaws can be attributed to its unfortunately lackluster script. For every interesting idea presented here there’s a piece of painfully stilted dialogue or blatant exposition. Take for instance a moment when Idris Elba literally explains what’s going on to the audience. This wasn’t knowledge that was present anywhere in the film, it was just Elba dictating information straight to the audience. You’d think that a movie that starts as slowly and deliberately as this one wouldn’t spoon feed its audience so unabashedly. And to make matters worse there are obviously a lot of interesting things going on here, however they’re never truly explored and we’re left wondering what this film could have been. That said, this script isn’t completely unsalvageable. There are many instances of brilliance here like the interesting questions asked or the fascinating world the writers create. I mean look no further than the amazing technology and well-defined mythology that fills every scene. Unfortunately these exceptions can’t save the script from its many imperfections, but luckily enough movies aren’t books, and there’s more to Prometheus than just an unrealized script.

If we were to disregard the script entirely, this movie would be perfect. The execution here is flawless. There’s no doubt that Ridley Scott is on his A game. He’s a master of his craft, and with Prometheus he gives us some of the best cinematography I’ve seen in years. Scott captures everything perfectly from the epic scale of the enormous set pieces all the way down to the brooding horror of this ultimately doomed mission. Even the way he directs his actors is superb. Just look no further than Michael Fassbender’s performance as David. This is a role that has been done to death, hell Scott even had a similar android character in his previous work Alien, yet because of Fassbender’s great finesse he’s able to make a character we’ve seen before completely new and fascinating. Each and every one of these elements comes together to weave a perfect and complete vision. From the dread filled tone to the unnerving score, every moment of the film is engaging and guarantees that, despite the slow pace, every minute of this film’s runtime is riveting.

But alas, a film is a creature made of many different parts and pieces, the script being a vital one, and I cannot say with a good conscience that this film ever over comes that one fatal flaw. That being said it isn’t completely destroyed by it either. So we’re left here in essence with a masterpiece painted in shit. Scott can try his hardest to make something beautiful out of it, and he does, but no matter what he’s still painting with shit. I can only hope that for the sequels he’s given some actual goddamn paint.

Rating: 4 out of 5

PS: The poster is courtesy of the awesome midnight marauder.

44 thoughts on “Prometheus Review

  1. claratsi June 16, 2012 / 6:06 pm

    Good review Gabriel. I have to say that 4/5 is just right, i gave it 8/10 on my review. Since seeing it and pondering it somemore I think there’s more to Prometheus that my one view so far has revealed.

    • Gabriel Vogel June 16, 2012 / 6:18 pm

      Thanks a lot. Prometheus was great and had some real depth, but it just could have been so much more.

  2. Laura Carter June 16, 2012 / 7:25 pm

    Good review. I also felt the script was lacking. However, I thought the actors sounded stilted and like there was no real emotion behind their lines. Alas, I really didn’t like the female lead either. I just didn’t like looking at her.

    • Gabriel Vogel June 16, 2012 / 7:31 pm

      Thanks. Yeah, the acting was really hit or miss, but I think it had more to do with the script than the actors. It’s a great cast, but a lot of them didn’t have much to work with.

  3. paganostaghetti June 17, 2012 / 4:26 am

    Definitely agree with everything you said, especially with the script. I also definitely felt like there were moments when Elizabeth was suddenly being extremely active, despite having had some *ahem* damage done. A lot of problems with her character in my opinion, which is bad because she is essentially the main focal point. Well, a split between her and David. But I totally think Fassbender is an actor that constantly needs the praise because he is not well-known enough. Great review, and probably what I would have given it, maybe a 3.5 if I’m being brutally honest.

    • Gabriel Vogel June 17, 2012 / 5:44 am

      Yeah, there are undoubtably some problems with the logic here, especially when it comes to the minor characters. It’s such a shame too. There was so much potential here. At least it gave Fassbender another outlet for his talent. We can definitely agree that he’s one of the best young actors around.

  4. thisgirlfridayreviews June 17, 2012 / 7:23 pm

    I completely agree re: the moment when Idris Elba ‘explains’ the plot. It seems like the captain is just offering a guess or a theory as to what’s going on, then you realise that they’ve just ‘thrown away’ the big reveal with a couple of lines of dialogue. Makes me wonder if something got lost in editing. Fassbender was, as ever, amazing, though.

    • Gabriel Vogel June 17, 2012 / 7:50 pm

      There were just so many unfortunate scenes like that. Take the scene where Charlize Theron’s character speaks to her father and has a very audible comma before revealing that he is in fact her father, something that was pretty obvious to begin with. It just felt so strapped on and false, and even worse when we have to see lines like this preformed by such amazing actors and actresses.

  5. Gregoryno6 June 17, 2012 / 9:44 pm

    Ridley Scott has delivered some brilliant films as a director, but he’s coughed up his share of hairballs too. After hitting the heights with Blade Runner, he came out with Legend – well…
    His record of hits against misses is better than even, but Prometheus is not a hit.

    • Gabriel Vogel June 17, 2012 / 11:11 pm

      I think Scott’s one of the best technical directors around, but he’s a bit of a slave to his scripts. I think that’s why he’s so hit or miss. With him it really comes down to how good the script is.

  6. 7stings June 17, 2012 / 10:41 pm

    just came back from the cinema..yeah the movie was great, I liked it..great review and ratings are same as mine!!

  7. arthurcola June 18, 2012 / 2:11 am

    Wonderfully presented review. I have not seen the film but I plan to do so. If you ever thought of doing a review of a book and have a Kindle or kindle app, Consider reading my new novel: The Brooch. You can check it out of the Kindle Library for FREE. I’d love to read what you would say about it.

    • Gabriel Vogel June 18, 2012 / 3:24 am

      Thank you very much. We’re trying to focus on strictly movie review at the moment, but I’ll definitely check out your book.

  8. greercn June 18, 2012 / 4:52 pm

    Hi Gabriel! Nice piece and thank you for liking one of my reviews! Idris Elba and Michael Fassbender seem to be in an entirely different movie from the other cast. It’s all very gorgeous to look at, spaceships, planets and people, but you’re right to say the script is weak. Who made us? Are they spacemen? Lizards? Bugs? Creatures? Do they hate us? Do they want us extinct? Sadly, I don’t much care. But I am happy to go “ooh, aah” at all the effects!

    • Gabriel Vogel June 18, 2012 / 6:36 pm

      Thanks for commenting. You’re definitely right there. This truly is the best looking film of the year hands down. Even if you don’t appreciate anything else about it you have to give it that much.

  9. JennyExiled June 18, 2012 / 9:07 pm

    There are many things that kept scratching at my brain after my recent viewing, but hope to get your opinion on this one: Was David dying his roots in the opening scenes? If so, why? As an android, does he really need to color his hair? Does he need haircuts, too? I guess I’m not well-versed enough in Alien-android mythology to know.

    • Gabriel Vogel June 18, 2012 / 10:20 pm

      I completely missed that. My only guess is that it could have something to do with David’s conversation about why he uses a helmet. He must be trying to act human in order to confort the humans around him.

      • JennyExiled June 20, 2012 / 2:20 am

        I misspoke when I said opening scenes – it’s really the first scenes onboard the Prometheus. It’s early on before he wakes any of the other crew members. He’s watching a film, with a towel around his neck and some cream along his roots. His hair is parted in the classic “dying the roots” style. That must be what he’s doing, but he’s an android so I can’t imagine why he would need to do it. Ah, well. It’s typical for me to get hung up on something so minor it’s not even a plot point.

      • Gabriel Vogel June 20, 2012 / 5:53 am

        I think it’s just David’s attempt to act human. Just look at the way he mimics the humans in the movie he’s watching. It’s probably just a small character moment to help build this idea into the film.

    • Gabriel Vogel June 19, 2012 / 5:53 pm

      Yeah, I just found him not to long ago and thought his stuff was awesome. I’m such a sucker for cool movie posters.

  10. RDoug July 9, 2012 / 1:30 pm

    Because of the so-so reviews, I’ve opted to await the Blu-ray release on Netflix. This review seems to validate that decision. Many thanks.

  11. cactus19 July 10, 2012 / 5:04 am

    I absolutely loved this movie. I think I’m in the minority there but I really did love it. It was one of the movies, the more I discussed after seeing it with my wife, the more I started to like it. While watching it I was trying to piece together parts of the puzzle, so I think I ended up ignoring some of the flaws people have pointed out. I pretty much think (100% my own opinion) that these engineers were planning on killing us around the Roman Empire/Hanging Jesus on the Cross era, which would have made sense considering how foul things had gotten. Then reading interviews with Scott and the writers, and putting more things together, it got better for me. Either way, I understand people not loving it, but I can’t wait to watch it again on Blu-Ray and analyze the crap out of it.

    • Gabriel Vogel July 10, 2012 / 9:42 pm

      I think we’ll have to wait for the sequels before we can really answer the questions left by the film, but I remember hearing about the Jesus theory in an interview with Scott. I think he said they ultimately decided against it, but it’s an interesting concept. I wonder what they’ll end up going with.

  12. Fumi July 13, 2012 / 4:48 pm

    I’ve really wanted to see Prometheus but I really mindtrip bad and shit purple Twinkies when I see something remotely connected to terror. But it’s like a itch you can’t scratch and I really do want to see the movie..but don’t want to.

    I’ll just read the comments and build up the courage. 🙂

    • Gabriel Vogel July 13, 2012 / 8:52 pm

      I know what you mean. I used to be afraid of horror for a long time too, so I feel your pain.

  13. ghostof82 July 14, 2012 / 11:44 pm

    I don’t think any of us will have really seen Prometheus until we get the extended/directors cut version someday. I hope Ridley can pull a Kingdom of Heaven and fix many of the issues we all have with the film. Given the script he had, that may not be possible but I live in hope. That said, considering I didn’t particularly like the film when I saw it, I find myself thinking about it all the time and am very keen to see it again on Blu-ray in October. So Ridley must have done something right.

    • Gabriel Vogel July 15, 2012 / 10:37 am

      Yeah, I certainly hope Ridley has a better director’s cut in store for us, but I’m skeptical as to how much he can fix the problem present here. I suppose we have to keep that hope alive though. I definitely agree with you that this film sticks with you. That’s the main reason I gave a four out of five regardless of all it’s flaws. It’s a good film it just could have so much better, and hopefully this director’s cut can do that for us.

  14. Friends of P July 16, 2012 / 8:51 pm

    4 out of 5, wow Prometheus seems to have earned some forgiveness points. I couldn’t, in good conscience, even give it a 3 out of 5.

      • Friends of P July 16, 2012 / 9:49 pm

        You mark that frame an 8 [or 4 out of 5], and you’re entering a world of pain.

      • Gabriel Vogel July 16, 2012 / 10:04 pm

        This is not Nam. This is blogging. There are rules.

  15. Friends of P July 16, 2012 / 10:08 pm

    We believe in nothing, Lebowski. Nothing.

    • Gabriel Vogel July 16, 2012 / 10:13 pm

      Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

  16. smeeblog July 22, 2012 / 9:47 am

    Haven’t seen the film yet, but enjoyed reading this review – nice one, Gabriel. Look forward to seeing it when it comes out on BluRay.

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