So, having recently been going back through all my reviews from last year to prep my “Best of” lists for 2012 (sure, it’s now February 2013, but I’m sure you all still care), I feel like it’s safe for me to make this declaration officially. I’ve reviewed all the reviews and it’s not even a close call: Prometheus was, hands-down, the stupidest movie I saw all year (and people? I saw a movie called METAL TORNADO. So. . . you know.)
I’m not even sure where to begin witht his one, it was so rife with stupidness. But I guess I’ll start with a quick overview, in case any of you guys managed to miss all the hoopla about it (luckies!).
This flick is Ridley Scott’s prequel (as much as he weirdly kept insisting it wasn’t) to his brilliant 1979 film Alien, a movie that holds a special place in my heart as it’s the first scary movie I ever saw (thanks to my uncle, who let me watch it when I was about 8 years old. Great babysitter, that guy! I highly recommend him!).
It’s about two archaeologists — a married couple named Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) — who discover a series of ancient cave paintings they come to believe is a map to an alien planet, the original inhabitants of which created mankind.
Magically, they manage to convince an old rich dude named Weyland to fund a space expedition to the planet, despite the fact they have absolutely nothing of substance to back their theory up except for their love of aliens (Holloway) and pseudo-religious beliefs (Holloway). Lucky for them, Weyland is looking for a fountain of youth, as all rich, old white guys in sci-fi movies do (feels like!), so he doesn’t ask too many questions (including, for example, why there’d be any reason to expect the aliens who created mortal man might hold the solution to eternal life).
Naturally, they get to the planet, they land on the planet, they do a bunch of really astonishingly stupid things, and they more or less all end up dead (SPOILER ALERT HA HA!). For a good play-by-play of all the really astonishingly stupid things, check out this video, “Everything Wrong with Prometheus in 4 Minutes” (I was going to make a list for you myself, but why reinvent the wheel when there are, like, 86,000 other reviews of this movie that list all the same bullpucky?): http://www.buzzfeed.com/kennelworthy/everything-wrong-with-prometheus-1ip0.
In theory, this should’ve been a fairly easy movie to make. Despite the eyebrow-arching Creation concept, the rest of this movie sounds, well, a lot like (right down to the teeny tiny crew aboard the GINORMOUS space vessel, by the way — for some reason, the Prometheus, with its crew of about 7 people, is so huge it even has a BILLIARDS room). It could easily have been an entertaining, fairly straight-forward sci-fi/horror flick, with lots of room for cool special effects, interesting character dynamics, and thrills and chills.
We know, after all, that Ridley Scott can make a seriously great goddamn sci-fi/horror movie about aliens, after all, right?
The problem, though, is that instead of going with a group of really smart, talented, and creative script writers, Scott went with. . . Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. Spaihts, as near as I can tell, is mostly “famous” for writing a sci-fi movie that never actually got made. And Lindelof — well, Lindelof is famous for creating the TV series Lost, which was similarly bogged down with overly “deep,” underly thoughtful spiritual and philosophical nonsense.
This movie is absolutely drowning in pseudo-intelligence, to the point where it’s hard to even be interested enough in what it was trying to say to complain about how dumb what it was trying to say actually was. There’s a scene in the movie that kind of summed up the whole film for me, and I was surprised it wasn’t in that little video I posted earlier, because it’s also a pretty spectacular gaffe. Here’s how it went:
Charlize Theron’s character to David (the android): How long were we in hypersleep?
David (the android): 2 years, 4 months, 18 days, 36 hours, and 15 minutes.
Why does that sum up the whole film for me? Because it’s SO DUMB. This is a copycat movie, trying to ACT like an intelligent science fiction movie, right down to the android whose computer is so advanced he speaks alien languages his programmers have never even heard of, yet doesn’t seem to know there are 24 hours in a day (18 days and 36 hours?? Dude.). It’s just dumb. A dumb person wrote that line. A person who wants to sound not dumb, but who is, in fact, really dumb.
I got into a discussion about this movie with a friend recently who really enjoyed it and she was saying my problem was that I wasn’t willing to suspend my disbelief (about Creation, for example — be it by God or by aliens) long enough to let the movie’s entertaining elements really take over. Suspension of disbelief is key to enjoying science fiction movies in particular, she said — and I agree.
The problem is, I’m perfectly happy to suspend my disbelief of Creation for a sci-fi movie, but only when that sci-fi movie is actually making an intelligent case for its new idea. It can be a completely invented case, based on futuristic stuff that’s all made up — that’s cool. But it has to MAKE THAT CASE.
In Prometheus, the two scientists tell the crew of their ship that aliens created mankind, and everybody on the ship essentially responds, “Seriously? Awesome!” And then there’s no attempt whatsoever to explain how that could be even remotely possible, given the enormous wealth of evidence against it (evolution, e.g.). And sure, maybe the plan is to explain that down the line, in the inevitable sequel. But in the meantime, I was left with a cast of characters who all seemed perfectly happy to accept without question the idea that all our science on the origin of man was wrong. There isn’t even a DISCUSSION about it. And that’s the number one sin crappy sci-fi movies can make for me — relying on my ability to suspend my disbelief and accept a radical idea without making any real attempt to convince me why or how.
Will I see that sequel? Crap. Probably. But not in a theater, and not with any expectations whatsoever, that’s for sure (wait, no, that’s wrong, I do have one expectation: that it’ll involve Weyland as a young man, since that’s the only reason whatsoever I can think of for casting Guy Pearce in that role wearing that much make-up in this installment!). Should you see THIS movie? Crap. Probably. But while I am usually quite fanatically against Internet piracy, I highly recommend you go steal this one from somewhere online. It’s not worth the $4 it’ll cost you to rent it legally, and damned if I want anybody to keep rewarding filmmakers for making stupid baloney like this.
COME AND GET ME, COPPERS!
Genre: Science Fiction, Crap
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall