This Ship is Ridley-culous!
No Seriously, Prometheus REALLY Sucked…Miss Priscilla von Keenan got into an exchange of verbal fisticuffs over who was going to review Ridley Scott’s new “epic masterpiece” Prometheus. Rather than have to foot the bill for extensive reconstructive surgery (funds that of course need to go to my next facelift and Ivyy’s next abortion) we decided to send our newly swaddled babes out into the woods to make peace and watch it together. Unfortunately, instead of bonding over their love of a good movie, they became a united front against cinematic fuckery. Peace at the Manse was restored… but at what cost? Enjoy, and you’re welcome:
I’ll start by stating it plainly: I didn’t like Prometheus. It’s not that uncommon of an opinion but maybe unlike some (cough, cough, Miss von Keenan), I grew up as a real live, pasty nerd-child. Actually, I’m still one at heart—the only point being that Ridley Scott really didn’t have to do much here to make me happy. As long as there were aliens snapping people off at the neck and hapless humans being infected with their spacey spawn, I would be squirming with glee and rubbing my sweaty palms on my pants at the sight of pretty space girls.
So it was with good reason that I took my seat at a half-full Prometheus matinee somewhat filled with excitement for what was about to happen. After all, this movie had been advertised out the ass for months: Ridley Scott had returned to claim his mother-effing throne and resurrect the franchise so recently pooped upon by Alien vs. Predator spinoffs. Fortunately for me, I long ago took the advice of the most sage Flava Flav, and agreed to never ever “believe the hype”. I say fortunate because if I had brought some real excitement for this film into the theatre, I probably would have hung myself with my shoelaces ten minutes in.
The problems with Prometheus began the moment the movie did, with an opening shot so thoroughly ripped from 2001: A Space Odyssey that I had an acid flashback. And I’ve never even done LSD. 2001 is the most cliché place you could steal from in the Sci-fi genre, so we can safely assume from the get-go that Scott has zero respect for his audience. This is actually a good thing because it explains the next ten minutes (read: lifetime) of helicopter flyovers of steaming volcanic landscape: a truly impressive, Tree of Life-scale display of blowhardness.
Fortunately for the masochistic, Scott manages to top his questionable taste at every turn, and for the next two hours takes the pleasure of a sadist in unfolding his big orgy of bumbles. Oh, this movie has everything: plot holes, unnecessarily in-love scientists crying over cave paintings, and enough whining over the meaning of existence to satisfy even the most stoned teenager in the room.
It’s that last thing that truly set me off: I can handle bad movies; I even like them on occasion. But Prometheus is so damn full of itself that it’s unbearable. Scott delivers ham-fisted swings at the big philosophical questions of life again and again: deity, religion, the origins of mankind and faith, all via sickeningly obvious iconography, farcical conversation, and flashbacks that can only be described as distracting. It really is as if someone used every trick in a director’s book to show an audience how not to make a movie. All the tools to create deeper meaning are technically there… they’re just handled so clumsily that they sink any point before it gets going.
The winner for most sterling example, however, goes to the downright awful theme that Marc Streitenfeld pulls out of his ass and blares in the soundtrack at every chance he gets. Key scenes, minor conversations—it doesn’t matter for this Ridley Scott lifer, he’s gonna blow your fucking ears off with it. And even if it wasn’t manhandled into every aural crevice of that film, it still sounds schlocky and borrowed from the first draft of a Star Trek score.
It seems that Scott has forgotten his roots entirely with Prometheus. No one went to see this movie because they wanted to get preached at on the meaning of life or to have the kind of mega cinematic experience he keeps (trying) to create. Audiences came to watch aliens latch onto people’s faces and explode out of their chests. In fact, the few redeeming moments of this movie occur when Scott gives in and shows viewers what they wanted to see in the first place. Forget temporally the incorrect technology or weapons: when I see an alien kill someone by ramming its phallic self a foot down their throat, I’m a happy man.
Two other bits that save Prometheus from being thrown directly into the depths of movie hell are Idris Elba and Michael Fassbender. Both of these gents acted the bejeezus out of this movie, and if there’s any reason at all to watch Prometheus it’s simply to see these guys do their thing.
At the end I hoped Scott was bringing all his lame musings to some kind of orgasmic moment of clarity, but it never came. I walked out of the theatre confused just enough by Scott’s choices to spend the afternoon restlessly reexamining the plot, and accidentally unearthing even more holes than I originally thought were there. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
To sum it up, Prometheus just kind of blows. It’s not bad enough to deserve a walkout, but then again not good enough to ever be worth seeing twice. Maybe not even worth seeing in theatres at all. It’s currently resting at a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is probably the perfect score since it definitely is the new favorite movie of “C” philosophy students everywhere. If there’s anyone out there who wants to see Ridley Scott take himself down a few pegs, feel better about their home movie direction, or bolster their hopes of becoming famous in Hollywood, I say they rush out and see Prometheus right now. As for the rest of us…isn’t Mars Attacks playing on cable somewhere?