For years, Ridley Scott’s cinematic output has been lack-luster, to say the least. When he makes films, just to make films, they are mediocre and forgettable—think of Body of Lies and A Good Year. However, when he has a story he really wants to tell, the film is unforgettable. Prometheus is one of those unforgettable films, and while it is flawed, it is also one of the most ambitious and bizarre pieces of blockbuster filmmaking ever released.
The film is technically a prequel to his classic Alien, yet it is far more than that. It explores a single aspect of the first film and expands it into something else entirely. The film follows two scientists, played by Logan Marshall-Green and Noomi Rapace, as they attempt to find the answer to the biggest question of all: who created us. Of course, being at least vaguely related to the Alien films, things quickly become far more complicated and gory from there.
Watching the film, I realized that the early reviews were right; Damon Lindelof’s screenplay is a mess. Others have said it attempts to tackle too much, that the film is overly ambitious. My issues with the screenplay were not the ambition, but rather that it felt rushed. It is messy, and does not quite work as a whole.
That being said, as I laid in bed, unable to sleep after the midnight screening, I realized the film is far more deserving of praise than I initially thought. Blockbusters of this size, scope and ambition rarely come around. In fact, this film really stands on its own as a unique slice of summer filmmaking. From a technical standpoint, the film is outstanding. The performances are across the board great, including standouts Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender. Fassbender’s David is the most interesting and complex android of the series.
Beyond the performances, the cinematography, music and effects are topnotch. All of those add up to a terrifying and captivating film, one that will leave you nauseous and pensive at the same time. That is why it is frustrating that more care was not put into the screenplay.
Prometheus is so close to being brilliant, but falls short.
It is certainly a return to form for Scott, as it clearly shows a filmmaker who has a passion for the story he is telling. The film is flawed, but still great. The film does not make you afraid of what is under the bed, but of something far more terrifying. It makes you afraid to look up to the skies and wonder what is out there. It makes thinking about our beginnings as a life form and as a civilization something that brings fear not wonderment.
Prometheus is one Ridley Scott film that will be remembered.