I went to see Prometheus expecting to be disappointed – it’s a sad fact that directors getting on in years seldom manage to live up to the standard of their earlier work. It turned out I had calibrated my expectations correctly.
Prometheus is an unmatched technical achievement – the 3D is lush and immersive, the design, sense of scale and sound are literally awesome. It is a shame the makers of such a technically ambitious film were so unambitious about its story.
I’m not going to tell you about any of the plot, because sadly there are few enough surprises, even if you don’t know what’s coming. The entire first half is utterly predictable and could comfortably be summarised in one line.
In this latest in the rash of inferior prequels (*cough* Star Wars *cough*), it feels as if the filmmakers came up with the idea for the film, and then navigated the story in the most risk-free manner possible from that point to the point where Alien begins. There is little new mythology invented, no sense of discovery, just the dull realisation that that’s how that bit feeds into Alien, and that’s how that bit does.
Scott manages to turn a stellar (and very beautiful, thank you Idris, Michael and Logan) cast into a set of pretty unlikeable characters, whom I never rooted for, and didn’t care about. Since I didn’t care about the characters, there was no suspense, or sense of jeopardy, and it didn’t really matter to me what happened to them.
As an audience, we want a story that interests us, characters we love, immersion, discovery, excitement, a new world. Not fancy effects, although they don’t hurt. But here Scott has tried to replace quality with spectacle. Hats off to the crew – highly skilled and talented people that anyone with enough money can hire.
Prometheus’ tagline should be: ‘Not As Good As Alien’. Ridley: must try harder.
Words: Julia Hilliard