Ever since James Cameron laid his name on the Alien franchise with his more action-oriented sequel, Aliens, I’ve only grown less fond of the direction that the series has moved for. The very idea behind Alien was always one that I enjoyed most when it was confined, and although a fantastic sequel in itself, Aliens was also home to what would eventually become one of the biggest problems with the Alien franchise as a whole: the universe ended up becoming far too big for its own good. With Prometheus it feels nice that Ridley Scott wants to return the franchise back to the roots of where it all had begun, yet it still suffers what’s plagued the universe ever since Aliens had come along. The success of the original Alien was clear from how little we knew about how the creature worked before it started killing off its victims, but as more films come by, said approach has become worn out and lost.
Being a prequel to the Alien series, Prometheus tells the story of the ill-fated crew of Prometheus as a means of finding clues to what would have become the origins of mankind, but on this planet what they soon find themselves in is a greater danger. Although it’s nice to see where the Alien series would have found an origin for the monster that we all knew and love, I’ve already found myself coming to a point where the appearance of the monster has already become tiring because at this point we have already been explained so much about how the alien works, only taking away from what allowed the originals to remain as suspenseful as they were. That’s not to say it makes Prometheus bad, because most of it actually works extremely well – even if it’s still riddled with only some of the most fundamental grievances one would ever have with what’s happened since Aliens.
It’s nice to see that in Prometheus a grasp on the confinement that defined the original film has made its return now that Ridley Scott has returned behind the director’s chair. But unlike the Alien sequels it finds its own success in how it feels like it has its very own sense of identity while retaining what it is that was most loved about the original film. Whether it be the teasing of imagery for what’s set to come forth, highlighting the great mystery behind the origins of a universe we have already come to love – Prometheus feels like a nice return back to form. But maybe it isn’t a complete one in that sense because of the expansions that have already been made to the Alien universe as a result of the sequels, for it still expands itself all the more within a new setting. Not to say it isn’t exciting, but among many of my biggest gripes with this expansion comes from how the ideas have only become far too broad for their own good, among a few issues Prometheus carries.
Moments where I really like Prometheus come out from what this film is teasing at, only giving the film a strong thematic resonance of its own. But for as much as I also love what Prometheus is doing with leaving mystery in the unanswered questions more of my own gripes come aboard, because the film’s ideals are so scattershot and there are far too few puzzle pieces to put together. But Damon Lindelof isn’t the one to blame in this case scenario, rather instead it’s from Jon Spaihts. The ideas that Prometheus has the confidence to show are indeed what help in forming something thematically interesting, but there’s an overbearing philosophical approach coming from the writing that only leaves evidence of a ridiculously aimless script – one that doesn’t seem to explore what it’s about in such a sense rather than just spout out.
At its very best, however, Prometheus is still a sight for one’s own eyes because of the breathtaking visuals as left behind by the broad canvas that the film has set up for itself. But because of the large scale of this production there’s an extent to where it overwhelms its own characters and rarely do any of them make a landing minus Michael Fassbender as David, where the biggest mark is left behind. I’ve always found Noomi Rapace extremely bland (that also includes the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series) and she’s no better here, but that’s the worst part of Prometheus‘s characterization, forgettable cutout characters that only lead the way with other empty relationships only for the sake of presenting ideals that never go further from where they lay within. Yet Fassbender’s role still carries its own presence because of how perfectly his character arc is established.
Prometheus is far from great but a number of good qualities in its own blood outweigh the bad, because it still feels like a nice return to the mystery that we have always loved from the original Alien. Sadly it’s all just dampened by what happened to the franchise since, because its own universe has only gotten so big to that point that the ideas have only become too broad to leave an impact. Ridley Scott’s direction is always pleasing to see on the film’s own behalf, because his own flair for visuals is astounding. For all the answers to questions we still would be asking after Prometheus, I’d rather they just stay open because in the sense of the first Alien film, it’s where it always worked best.
Watch the trailer right here.
All images via Fox.
Directed by Ridley Scott
Screenplay by Damon Lindelof, Jon Spaihts
Produced by Ridley Scott, David Giler, Walter Hill
Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron
Release Year: 2012
Running Time: 124 minutes