Very rarely do I suffer from complete and utter disappointment. Sitting in the cinema as the credits rolled on Prometheus was one such moment. I was perplexed, bewildered, deflated.
Prometheus is the hotly anticipated, it-is-but-it-isn’t prequel to Alien. Ridley Scott returns to the helm to provide a back story to the world that he created in 1979 when he directed Alien. Clearly there was something about Alien, since its creation there have been four Alien (directed by Scott, James Cameron, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and David Fincher) and two Alien Vs Predator movies.
Whatever it was that Alien had was evidently lacking in Prometheus.
In Alien Scott creates a terrifying world, adeptly using environment and situation, as opposed to special effects, explosions and violence to unsettle and scare the audience. The aura of suspense and claustrophobia that he creates leaves the audience in as much uncertainty as the doomed crew of the Nostromo. It is both sci-fi and horror, blended seamlessly. It is also, still, the best Alien film in the franchise.
This leads to me to Prometheus. The opening scenes are cinematically beautiful – the camera sweeping across an Earth-like, but possibly alien, landscape. It’s a compelling start. However, unfortunately, that’s where the praise ends. It seems that Scott has thrown the formula he created in 1979, added special effects, religious undertones, props to other iconic sci-fi films (hello Hal from Space Odyssey: 2001) an awful screenplay, and shaken it altogether to create a cocktail that is more rocket fuel than martini.
This is truly surprising when you consider the movie in its separate parts – a story with potential, a good cast, a big budget and Ridley Scott himself. Yet, Scott has created a clunky film, dotted with plot holes, offering no true insights into the original Alien film. It is truly perplexing and disappointing, with few redeeming features.
I wish I could say that the cast, which consists of Noomi Rapace (from the Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo films), Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce and Michael Fassbender offer redemption, but they don’t. Charlize Theron is so robotic you could believe that there are two androids onboard the Prometheus not one (David, played by Michael Fassbender). Perhaps, though, the fault should be laid at the feet of the little known screenwriters Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. What is obvious by the end of the film is that Scott is leaving it wide open to further prolong the pain with a sequel. This is confirmed through a Google search which returns this article. It would seem that paradise is lost.
A further disappointment: I’ve heard a rumour. Ridley Scott intends to make a prequel to Bladerunner as well (see here). Personally, the disappointment of Prometheus means that this equally anticipated prequel is more than likely to go down like a lead balloon. As a result, if I were to see Mr Scott in the street I would go up to him and say “Ridley, mate, you’re talented. But if I were you, and if you know what’s good for you, take your hands off and turn around, runaway and never look back – please.”