10 June 2012

Visually spectacular, Prometheus suffers from disappointing script

There came a point, about midway through Prometheus, where I realized why director Ridley Scott kept saying the film shared some the DNA with his original 1979 film Alien, but was not an actual prequel to it. Part of the problem for me was the script offered more questions than answered. And he seemed to notice that.

It was, as some have complained over the years, much like how ABC’s Lost never offered much in a way of explanation as it ended, Prometheus (written by Lost showrunner Damon Lindelof, along with John Spaihts) does the same here, giving us more questions and little answers. Of course, it’s production history offers some look into how this film was developed –first begun life as an actual prequel to Alien around 2003, then shelved until Spaihts script got Scott’s interest again in 2009. Lindelof was brought in to re-write it, making it less of a direct prequel and more of film set in the same universe. This combination of Spaihts story ideas with Ridley Scott’s and Lindelof’s ideas creates a plate full of scrambled eggs here.

Theoretically, the film should have worked, though, and it does score in all the areas outside the plot: brilliant visual effects, grand production design and all around fine performances from the cast (though Charlize Theron’s Ice Queen Vickers becomes a pointless character towards the end, and was disappointed that they did little with her character beyond make her a corporate douche bag).  Noomi Rapace gives a workman’s style performance, becoming much like Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley (and Rapace’s character in named Elizabeth Shaw, and is called Ellie by her boyfriend Charlie, played by Logan Marshall-Green who could be the younger, even hotter brother of Tom Hardy). 

The highlight was actor Michael Fassbender’s creepy android David that confirms what we always knew, that Weyland (and eventually Weyland-Yutani) would always put profit before life (and that Fassbender is horribly skinny, though I would kill to be that way).  And why no one has caught on at FAUX that this film is anti-corporate is beyond me (besides being released by their parent company?). 

Ultimately, a few of their loftier ideas end up not being fully realized, and the film offers little in the way of surprises –I not was shocked or surprised that Peter Weyland (in old age make-up that is surprisingly poor) pops up where he does, and who his child is (oh yes, every Lindelof story suffers some sort of Daddy issue). And why would even anyone support his narcissistic goals is beyond me.

Beyond, of course, the age-old chestnut that money will make people do horrible things –let other people die, mostly- in pursuant of their goals. We have that now, and sad that particular trait will follow us forever.

While in some respect, I’m disappointed that it only shares a little bit of the Alien franchises DNA, I was happy to get some glimpse –an answer here- of who the Space Jockey was from the first film.

1 comment:

dirkmancuso said...

I also found the script to be sorely lacking (and I totally called the identity of Peter Weyland's spawn the second he appeared in that hologram).

As for the space jockey thing...I'd rather have had no answer than the half way one we got here.