P REFACE: I say some pretty negative things about film critics below: but believe me; I am not talking about every critic, nor am I talking about every review of ‘Prometheus.’ Just the specific reviews that say nothing about the movie itself, but just seem to be shitting on Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof: please don’t send me angry comments.
PREFACE: This is written as SPOILER FREE: but considering how high expectations for this movie are; it’s probably better to come back once you’ve seen the movie.My initial reaction to Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’ is a very, very positive one.
As a science fiction movie in the vein of ‘Alien;’ it is a success. Scott is on the top of his game in the technical department, creating a jaw dropping, ideas rich and well acted piece of cinema. It even proves that 3D is as a valid tool to enhance the movie going experience.
Well that’s me with my critic hat on. Let me take this heavy piece of crap off, and tell you that from my heart: I freaking adored ‘Prometheus’ – I can see its failings (I feel there are few – only minor quibbles), but I’m easily able to ignore them; because what we get here is a kind of movie that we never get anymore: a highly intelligent hard science fiction blockbuster!
The more I think about the movie, the more I realize I love every single thing about it, from the astounding effects/cinematography to the acting, the plot, the themes, the ideas, the characters, the soundtrack…I am just flawed by it. There isn’t much to talk about critically, if you want to see it you will love it. Now lets talk about all the negativity surrounding it:
The closest that we’ve gotten to hard science fiction recently is ‘District 9’ and before that I don’t know what. In many ways ‘Prometheus’ is remarkable, but the most impressive thing is surely that someone spent enormous amounts of money on what is essentially a thinking persons movie. Whilst it does provide horror and action in spades, it’s for the most part a slow burning, thematically deep film; that isn’t concerned with condescending to you. It isn’t concerned with giving you answers.
Which is why you’ll probably hate ‘Prometheus.’ I saw the film in a press screening, and as soon as the end credits began; a member of the Australian Media – whose name I won’t disclose – stood up and made a big deal of spitting on the ground and storming out. Thinking this was strange I turned to my friend and asked ‘did we see the same movie?’ – he loved it too.
But then we walked outside and caught up with the other critics. When you walk out you have to collect your phones from security. This is the best part, because you get to overhear what all the critics think. And because the majority of them are expensive suit wearing loud mouths; it isn’t difficult.
“The problem is Ridley Scott”
“Damon Lindelof ruined this like he did everything else”
“It doesn’t make sense”
“I didn’t understand it”
“It was all over the place”
The critics I spoke to personally afterwards all had mostly negative things to say. Blaming the hype machine, blaming Scott, Lindelof; and also claiming there to be many, many inconsistencies within the plot and the characters.
And like it meant nothing:
“Oh yeah, it was amazingly well executed and acted”
One comment that still gives me the absolute shits, till this day – five days since seeing it is: “As a standalone film it is really good, amazing even. But as an alien film it falls short; therefore it’s a failure”
That is such a stupid comment; that it’s not even worth acknowledging. But there you go.
Now, I’ve found issues with the movie, things that you can look at objectively; such as character depth and pacing. But I’m just lost for words when the general criticism towards a movie is “I didn’t understand it; therefore it’s bad.”
I remember when being smart; wasn’t about proving how much better you are than everybody else. You read a bunch of these ‘Prometheus’ reviews, and they don’t even talk about the movie. They just:
Stack it up against ‘Alien’ and Ridley Scott’s entire filmography.
Misunderstand vital points of the movie, and then blame the script for being “all over the place” and “Confusing.”
I see how you kind of have to stack the film up; it’s a context thing…but I have problems when they only do it just to further their negative agenda. It’s only really relevant to stack this up to say ‘Alien’ because the ideas are similar, or that it’s umm set in space (we can talk spoilers another time – even talking about whether there’s a direct connection or not is considered a spoiler).
Connections aside; this film, in no way retroactively destroys ‘Alien’ – because they are TWO DIFFERENT FILMS, whether they take place in the same universe or not. They don’t have Ripley, they don’t have Newt. So many people have been attacking ‘Prometheus’ over the tiniest things, most of the ‘Alien’ comparisons are mostly very, very huge reaches – only to find something to shit on Ridley Scott and Lindleof. Put it this way; there is a Marvel Universe, but stop complaining that Captain America only shows up for one panel in your next Spider-man Issue.
Sigh. If you’re concerned about context so much, then talk about how Ridley Scott is a different filmmaker today because he has aged 40 years!
Expecting a filmmaker to do the same movie they did 40 years ago is ridiculous, and points to both a lack of interest in new ideas/development as well as in intelligent cinema.
Let’s do some context: ‘Alien’ is the film that this will be connected to, for reasons made clearer once you’ve seen ‘Prometheus.’ ‘Alien’ the seminal classic, isn’t really much more than a haunted house monster movie in space. Of course; It isn’t as shallow as that, but that’s because most movies made in the 1970’s weren’t aimed at the dumbest asshole in the cinema. Cinema was generally intelligent back then, when it was a newish art, and not a giant money making machine.
People of an older generation, will remember films like this, movies with brains that topped the box office. It’s so hard to imagine a movie like ‘The Godfather’ even getting a cinema release today. Anyway, I digress. Sorry. Now-a-days movies are just aimed at the four quadrants, aimed at the 16 year old idiots etc.
Movie making has become an increasingly difficult process; and these days it’s just a crapshoot. Everything is so cynically marketed and produced….do you know how many elements have to come together just to get a half-way good film? I’m raging non-sensically about this stuff because ‘Prometheus’ is the movie that so many critics have been clamoring to see for DECADES. And now that it’s here, it’s a piece of shit apparently.
Finally an intelligent blockbuster that doesn’t cater to the lowest common denominator.
Some critics want to make you think otherwise…
I’ve read so many reviews that question things that are made blatantly clear. What is the android’s motivation? What planet are they on? What’s this? What’s happening there?
None of these questions ever popped into my mind, because I saw the answers clearly in the movie. I always see film critics go to the bathroom, and now I know why so many have “issues” with movies.
Not to mention the studio gave out unlimited free beer and champagne beforehand. Some of the press were plastered. Now is it fair for a drunk critic who went to the bathroom twice, to dislike the movie because they were confused by information that was very clear to begin with?
Anyway, I’m getting very angry as I write this down – but you reader, will pay attention in ‘Prometheus’ – you won’t text, you won’t talk. You’ll think about what your’e seeing, you’ll take note of subtext and the subtlety. You’ll think for yourself, and then you’ll discuss the concepts with your viewing partners afterwards.
You can enjoy the ridiculously amazing action, the great performances, the astonishing cinematography etc etc. But it’s not what will stay with you, or what will give you conversation.
For a movie that is all about questioning the existence of humanity, and God. It’s amazing how everybody seems to be only capable of talking about how Ridley Scott has lost it.
Now before I finally talk about the movie, I’ve got to just mention one more thing: Since ‘Alien’ is a monster movie in space, and ‘Prometheus’ is a Science vs Religion Idea film: did people just want a monster movie in space?
If it’s the later I’m saddened. You get the horror, you get the action and the thrills – but you get so much more. What you’d be left with otherwise: is an empty superficial film.
The script is very interesting on an ideas level. It presents some questions that may be too frustrating for those who may need answers. Something Damon lindelof is no stranger to.
The ideas are the very thing the characters are searching for. More so: “proof” of these ideas. A ‘thesis’ as Fassbender’s character stresses at one point.
This thesis doesn’t ever really find its proof…but isn’t that the point?
Disliking ‘Prometheus’ for these ambiguous qualities would be akin to disliking your God, because you cannot prove its existence. This is a movie that asks questions, and like our characters we don’t get answers on the “big questions” – only the questions themselves. it’s up to you to figure out what they mean.
And here’s the catch: If you are paying attention; the answers are all there. You just need to get past the lack of comfortable spoon feeding that Hollywood has made you accustomed to.
Sadly the big questions that ‘Prometheus’ will cause (because of its nature) are “is this an alien prequel or not?”
You get answers to this, and it’s what will piss some people off. Not the science fiction ideas within the standalone film that Scott has made, but the pettiness of a viewer not getting what they expected.
If you have to bring up that film (and when it finishes, you will), realize that ‘Alien’ is more of a jumping off point for Ridley Scott; so that he can develop the concept of (what was essentially a haunted house film) into something much much more.
Whereas George Lucas would go ahead and release ‘special editions’ of what he feels to be flawed films. Scott will go ahead an make an improved remake, if you will. Alas, the ‘Alien’ connection is considered spoilers, and you’ll have to go and see this movie to see if there are connections at all.
I should wrap this long- rambling- mess of a review up:
Is there god? What are the ideas behind creation? What is humanity?
Forget ‘Alien’ the more comparable film to ‘Prometheus’ is ‘Blade Runner.’ And like ‘Blade Runner,’ this is a concept film, a beautifully designed and action packed one.
And like ‘Blade Runner’, you can find flaws if you’re looking hard enough.
But like with anything, if you wear that critic hat too often; you just spend the movie looking for problems. And as I said above, if you go looking, you’ll probably find them in spades. Just don’t forget to pull out for a second, and admire what you’re in front of.
‘Prometheus’ has three minute sequences that are more important, more ambitious and more astonishing than entire films.
Let’s stop complaining about what amounts to thirty seconds.
Just because the ending of ‘Lost’ sucked for you, doesn’t ruin every episode that came before it.
Oh yeah did I mention the cinematography is mind blowing?
Did I mention Noomi Rapace is incredible as Elizabeth Shaw?!
What about Theron? Fassbender’s incredible performance?
Oh that’s right, I was too busy talking about shit that didn’t matter wasn’t I?