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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Prometheus", a sci-fi disaster


You have to be careful when you are going to review a sci-fi movie. The legions of genre fans are by far, the most passionate you can reach out there. Therefore, they are the toughest collective when you have to argue with them. If you are in front of a sci-fi frea.... sorry fan, it’s better to share his/her opinion. Personal worse moments: “The Lord ofthe Rings” trilogy (lamest dialogues in film history and equally lame plot), “Blade Runner” (sorry, fascinating aesthetics, but the film bores me to death) and “Alien”.

So after watching it, facing the review of “Prometheus” was a scary challenge to me, because I can only describe it as a wonderfully looking but amazingly empty, even silly film. Many sci-fi films are ok with just providing a futuristic landscape/looks, ultra-cool guns and “toys” and tones of action and special effects. While others promise a much deeper, usually existentialist experience. “Prometheus” tries both, but fails, miserably, on the second category.

I was deeply relieved when I read on the blogosphere (if you speak Spanish, don’t miss this overlong & relentless review) I’m not alone thinking “Prometheus” is a conceptual disaster. Many claim, as I do, the film is a just collection of scenes (mostly impressive in terms of visual experience) with very little/zero coherency. “Prometheus” should be used in script writing classes as one of the best possible examples of what’s an awful script, written by Damon Lindelof (“Lost” series) or at least one full of plot-holes. 

Examples are nearly infinite and can be divided in several categories. First, we have the “funny ones”, summarized on the shocking composition of the space mission crew and their absolutely ridiculous behaviour. A special “recognition” for the biologist and the geologist lost on the "labyrinth" (no spoiling). How on Earth (or planet LV-223) could they have been selected for such an important expedition when they aren't able to distinguish right from left? The amount of stupid mistakes is huge (without helmets, really?). They take incredible risks for being such a bunch of scientific experts. And the lack of communication or vigilance is puzzling (no matter how attractive some casual sex with Charlize Theron might sound).   

Second, we have the ones that can be labelled as “providers of some emotion and/or action”. Sci-fi can be cold, too cold sometimes, so I guess even a well-known director like Ridley Scott (or Lindelof) thought a few scenes of “personal motivations” would be needed for reaching a bigger audience. But they made me blush of embarrassment. The character played by Noomi Rapace is supposedly the best scientist, yet is faith (horrible flashbacks included) which moves her to discover what? That the Christian God was all a lie? Action/tension scenes are quite spectacular but are also quite dumb. The impact of the abortion scene is ruined why the not-so-advanced technology and the surreal behaviour post-surgery. I already mentioned our dumb & dumber (geologist and biologist) scenes. One of them even comes back. I could keep writing for long. Death among the expedition is (that’s a common fault on action films) treated poorly: on that scene I'm devastated because I lost my husband/boyfriend, next scene I'm kicking some ass. Some secondary roles are just there to add a silly joke (the captain assistants) to the film, but they don't make the spectator laugh much, they just add confusion and implausibility to a film that lacks tones of congruence.

And third, we have the “pretentious ones”. I'm using that word because I'm convinced either director or screenwriter put it there just for the sake of giving an aura of knowledge, relevance, message (won't go much further on it's Christian message) or a "coolness factor". Some could be interesting and intriguing, but while few are left behind, bizarrely, from scene to scene, others are simply forgotten during its development. So, at the end, are the engineers our Gods, they created us? What's the black liquid? Why the engineers behave that way? Why the aliens appear? Someone could explain the robot behaviour? I believe they tried to mix many things and offer two different directions for the movie: the existential plot about the origin of mankind with the action/horror/thriller film that is full of references to the "Alien" saga. The result is simply incoherent, and kills the potential of the film, or at least its capacity to be entertaining.

Only positive points on the film are the visuals, including planet designs and scenarios, and Michael Fassbender, again excellent and scary although his role is among the trickiest ones of the film. But that is not enough to save "Prometheus" from being a disaster. And sorry, but I won't buy the argument that everything will be revealed on the sequel, obviously announced on it. No, that's a despicable trick to justify the lack of ideas (or with the purpose of making more money). In my case at least, after such an awful film, I'm not interested in seeing what's coming next.

SCORE: 3/10

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