Despite scattered script, ‘Prometheus’ proves visually stunning
Published: Friday, June 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, June 11, 2012 07:06
Ridley Scott, director of groundbreaking films such as “Bladerunner” and “Alien” completely missed the mark with the release of his latest film.
With underdeveloped characters, impractical scientific procedures and a forced religious agenda, “Prometheus” seemed like the first draft of a script rather than a completed film.
The film begins with archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discovering a promising star map, which they expect will lead them to the creators of the human race. Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), a wealthy corporation founder, sends Shaw, Holloway and over a dozen other scientists into space on the vessel Prometheus to find the location of these “engineers” of human DNA.
After two years in stasis, the crew of scientists is awakened by the ship’s android, David (Michael Fassbender), and expedition leader Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron). Following the path on the star map, ‘Prometheus’ lands on a distant moon near an eerie temple-like structure and the exploration begins.
With only five minutes between the beginning of the film and the distant moon landing, there isn’t much time for character development.
The most fleshed out character in the entire film is ironically the android, David. Fassbender’s superb acting was the highlight of the film. While Elizabeth Shaw is represented as the main protagonist, it was David who stole the spotlight and held the most emotional weight. The audience is given an explanation for why David is helping the crew and how he was created, while the rest of the characters in “Prometheus” are given little more than names and clichéd personalities.
The perfect opportunity comes for a glimpse into the thoughts of the ship’s geologist, Fifield(Sean Harris), when a fellow crew member tries to engage in conversation. Fifield says he did not come to make friends and is only “in it for the money”. His Mohawk and tattoos only add to the overplayed “outsider” stereotype. It is impossible for the audience to become emotionally invested in the lives of explorers that are less realistic than their robotic companion.
Since most of the members of the crew have doctorates in different scientific fields, it is hard to believe that they could put themselves in dangerous situations without reason. Within minutes of leaving ‘Prometheus’, Holloway decides the air inside the structure is safe, and everyone proceeds to remove their helmets.
If Sci-Fi films have stressed anything, it’s that space helmets should never be taken off.
There is no logical explanation for why the air is safe, and in most cases it might be possible for suspension of disbelief, but there is only so much one can overlook before being turned off by a film. Between the biologist trying to touch an alien life form and Elizabeth running into a massive storm, characters in the film constantly risk life in the name of childish curiosities rather than scientific research.
The religious symbolism injected in the film is elementary and unnecessary.
With a golden cross around her neck and a stressed “in the year of our Lord” log entry, Shaw randomly claims to have faith in God throughout the film. She explains early in the film that there must intelligent creators because she “believes it to be so.” Blind faith is proven to be the only way she stays alive in the film. But, when her faith is shaken, the cross is taken from her. It’s obvious the cross symbolizes her faith, but it is still explained thoroughly by the characters. Not only does this underestimate the intelligence of the audience, but it causes a disruption in the progression of the film. The point of the film then jumps between finding a way to understand why humans were created, fighting off unexpected life forms, and Shaw’s search for her faith. The true point of the voyage became hard to grasp.
The CGI effects, however, especially in landscapes, were very believable, especially during a moon storm scene. The team is racing to get back to the ship before the rolling clouds filled with shards of metallic material reach them.
The storm is well done and doesn't seem over the top even with the film's use of 3-D.
The effects of the holographic star map helped make up for the comical nature of the machine they were attached to, which looked like a Rubik's Cube covered in silver paint. The moments of gore are also believable due to the expert use of special effects. Many injuries were cringe worthy, not because there was any attachment to the characters, but because their attackers were so well designed.
But the amazing CGI special effects don’t make up for the plot problems in the film. The visual quality of “Prometheus” on its own is pleasing and definitely ready for the big screen, if only the same could be said for the rest of the film.