I was one of a number of sci-fi fans obsessed with the release of Prometheus, as a long time fan of (at least the first two) Alien movies, I was excited by the prospect of this prequel/re-boot
and the return of Ridley Scott to this storytelling universe. The movie itself ended up being not everything I had hoped for: the dialogue in particular was often cringe-worthy. As a disgruntled former LOST fan, I noted that once again Damon Lindelof can’t seem to put a woman in his stories without having her get pregnant, but this didn’t seem to bug others as much as it did me.
Still, I found Prometheus entertaining nonetheless, I came away with lots to discuss with sci-fi/geek compatriots: the intersection of science and religion in Dr. Elizabeth Shaw’s (Noomi Rapace) quest to discover human origins, she’s a woman of science but equally a woman of faith – she maintains steadfast in her beliefs in both. Meanwhile android David’s (Michael Fassbender) with his artificial “humanity” (or is it?) acts her foil. Shaw’s belief and trust in a higher power seems to motivate her to continue her quest, David’s seeming resentment of his creator – perhaps knowing that he is in many ways, superior – seems to drive his need to be a constant disruptor.
In general, I’m interested to see how Prometheus extends the Alien universe further, but I’d love to see another writer’s take on this story (the Nolan brothers maybe?) I put out a call to my fangirl friends and relations to get their thoughts on the film. Here’s what a few people responded with, starting with TLF contributor Laura Fletcher:
There were clunky, too-goofy moments, and it felt like maybe there were too many cooks in the kitchen? I think throwing Damon Lindelof at sci-fi is the new hot thing to do, but either stick with him and his usual colleagues or don’t hire him. I mean, I know this was originally pitched as two films (a two-part Alien prequel – can’t remember where I read this but I can find a source if you want), and I know I’ve seen Lindelof BFF J.J. Abrams’ projects employ clunky exposition (*ahem* Super 8), but COME ON with the defrost scene between Fifield and the biologist (Millburn; he’s so unremarkable I had to look him up).
I was wowed by the sheer number of parallels between this film and Alien. All that talk about not making it a prequel was spot on, because it was almost a reboot! From the opening title and the ship’s intro, to the evil corporate British android, to the heroine-in-underwear fighting for her life…whoa.
Let’s talk about the underwear scene in THIS film versus Alien, shall we? (This is where I started with the whole “pulp” idea.) Ripley strips down to bear her humanity, to represent finally letting down her guard and getting ready to go all fetal-slash-maternal with Jonesy in the stasis chamber…but then ALIEN BOOGA BOOGA and that plan is shot. She literally has to get dressed again to deal with that penis-headed asshole. Now, compare to Shaw, who ran into the alien issue in the first place thanks to nude sexytimes with her infected spouse…but then, to defeat it, had to take OFF her clothes and have an ABORTION. I know she told the computer it was a C-section, but hey, this was a preternaturally fast-growing alien and that was the most logical way to tell the robot-doctor to get it the fuck out of her. Also, Noomi Rapace is amazing and I want to see her way more. (She was the way better Lisbeth Salander, too.)
As someone who doesn’t really go to many sci-fi movies, my twitter review of Prometheus was “Girl w/Dragon Tattoo and others make bad decisions in space. Hilarity ensues.”
So many bad decisions! Do you think that actual scientists would touch something if they didn’t know what it was? The biologist and geologists (the first two guys to die) looked like they’d be more at home as pizza delivery guys in a stoner comedy than as scientists in an existential sci-fi movie.
That said, the movie was entertaining and beautifully shot. I wonder if I’d have been so picky about the characters had I seen the movie in 3-D.
Prometheus was a good film, but not a great one. I loved the cinematography and the performances are very good (especially Noomi Rapace). But there were moments in which the dialogue felt pedestrian, which seems to be a common complaint about the film from others.
I appreciated the science vs. religion (more specifically, faith) struggle that was illuminated in Prometheus. Keidra is more articulate and passionate on that point so I won’t go into it here. The main thing I took away from the film was the growth of Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace), from idealistic explorer to literal soul (and sole!) survivor. Shaw was not dependent or flighty in any sense; it was obvious that she was intelligent and centered, and that she and her colleague/beau Holloway were equals. In fact I enjoyed her wide-eyed curiosity and her belief that she would find the answers to her burning question: “Where did we really come from?” But why she thought a multinational conglomerate would be the guardian angel in obtaining those answers, that’s where her idealism (or naivete, depending on how rough a person wants to be on her) comes in. Maybe Shaw could give a TED talk to the Tea Party!
I loved the “alien abortion” scene. In addition to being scary as hell it was a direct homage to Alien (Veronica Cartwright would be proud of Rapace’s freak-out). It also cemented her doubt–leading to what I thought was the pivotal and most ironic point of the film (and I have to think the irony was intentional). Shaw warns Peter Weyland,–who was on the ship all along–that the “answers” were not the ones they were seeking, and that he should not go to meet the final Engineers. But it was Weyland, her egotist benefactor, who flippantly throws Shaw’s faith back in her face, daring her to basically pick herself up… dust herself off … and start all over again. And she does, with a vengeance.
The very last scene of Prometheus is interpreted by some as the origins of the Alien xenomorph but I personally think it’s just a bit of an in-joke for fans. This is certainly a prequel to Alien in the sense that events happen earlier in the same universe. (If you’re wondering, Alien and Aliens are superior films, but we’re mostly dealing with apples and oranges here anyway.) The ending also sets up a sequel that I’m sure I’ll show up for, being a sucker for more Giger imagery and Bava-inspired alien humanoids. Prometheus is filled with inexplicable, illogical, and silly things, but like Michael Mann’s The Keep , there are equally wonderful moments that make it worth the trip.