Let start by saying that while I was watching, I quite enjoyed Prometheus. It was gorgeous, beautifully directed and especially the performances given by Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron were fabulous. The 3D did exactly what it was supposed to do; enhanced the immersion into the story without being obvious or glaring.
I worked hard during the viral promotion campaign to keep my expectations in check; I resisted the urge to watch the previous movies in the franchise again and did my best to mentally separate the the awe-inspiring teasers from the movie I was going to see and yet I still ultimately came away disappointed. And every time I think about the movie I just get more annoyed with it.
I think that it all comes down to one thing and one thing only; I really HATE the script. Chuck Wendig already wrote brilliantly about the character agency problem that it has and you should absolutely read it. But I think it goes even further than the script denying its characters agency in the face of the almighty plot. I never got into Lost for the same reason; the writer, Damon Lindeloff, keeps building absolutely fabulous conflict but also absolutely refuses to pay off any of it. And by this point I have to assume it’s a refusal and not ineptitude because he’s done it so many times by now.
On top of all this, Lindeloff has been in all kinds of interviews trying to convince everyone that he’s not anti-science. He keeps using that word. I don’t think it means what he thinks it means. Prometheus is rife with the simplest of science mistakes (such as the fact that according to Vickers’ estimation they’re barely beyond Jupiter) and in the crew of 10+ scientists not a one of them displays even the most basic requirement of a scientist; curiosity toward the world that surrounds them. Unless the plot happens to require it even though it has been previously established that the character would in no way feel curious in that instance. In fact no one would, but the first instinct of everyone and anyone in the situation apparently does not apply to the two characters who were scared shitless just five minutes before. But I’m digressing.
Everytime some part of the story begins to shine, the script moves on and pretends it never happened. And while it didn’t bother me while I was watching it’s really annoying me after-the-fact. Prometheus was a movie full of incredible potential. I mean Alien was a genre-defining, heart-stopping mother of all movies. Ridley Scott KNOWS how to build tension and scare people even when they’re sitting in the comfort of their own sofa with all the lights on. But this one was… lukewarm. Yes, there were moments where I looked away but that was purely because I absolutely knew was going to be gory and yucky. And I was right. But there was no terror there. Ultimately the whole thing ended up a bit muddy for me.
On the whole it’s a movie that you should absolutely see just don’t think of it as Ridley Scott returning to the Alien franchise.