Review of Prometheus.
As Ridley Scott had previously directed two of the all-time best science fiction movies in Alien and Blade Runner, I had hopelessly high expectations for his new movie Prometheus. I was therefore a bit disappointed with it.
But the movie has stayed in my thoughts, unlike much of the crap that makes it onto the big screen these days. Prometheus has had me speculating. It is a film that has made me think, which is rare these days, especially, and sadly so, for science fiction movies. Big budget generally means brain dead. But Prometheus is not a movie for 15 year old males. Prometheus, like AI, requires your brain to be engaged from the start.
The movie opens where? I initially thought on another planet and didn’t get that it was in Scotland. This affected my initial understanding of the film. At the start of Prometheus a humanoid looking alien kills himself by a Scottish river, his DNA then very obviously mixes with the river water. This is very significant for the rest of the movie.
The plot then has archaeologists discovering cave paintings of tall humanoid aliens pointing to a group of stars. Cut to couple of years later and the archaeologists are on a spacecraft, billions of kilometres from earth. They have gone to the stars in the painting hoping to find the aliens who they think engineered earth and humanity.
The film is being marketed as a prequel to Alien, but it is not like Alien; it is not horror science fiction, although there are a few scares. It is more a thriller. It is a film that challenges the viewer to work out the answers, so I suspect that those who like everything explained to them will say it had a lot of loose ends.
I saw the movie in 3D, which added depth to the images. The special effects looked real instead of like a computer game. One problem is there are too many characters for the movie to develop effectively. And the second most interesting character died too early in the movie.
(spoiler alert) This is what I think the film was suggesting: an alien either intentionally or accidentally seeded created modern humans when it killed itself and its DNA mixed in with that of the Neanderthal. Millennia later the rest of the aliens, in an effort to enforce their version of the Prime Directive of non-interference in other worlds, set out to fix that seeding of modern man by destroying it. But they are prevented from doing so when they accidentally infect the spawn of other aliens who attack and destroy their base. It seems their attempts to explore the universe have backfired badly on them.
I think where the film ended would make the beginning of a great sequel. As the Prometheus survivors take off in an alien spacecraft heading towards the alien home world to ask them why they created humanity. In a lot of ways God could have been substituted for the aliens.
So if you want to see more movies made that make you speculate, go and see Prometheus. Otherwise we will just get more comic book crap masquerading as science fiction.