Prometheus versus Alien: Out with the New and in with the Old
I remember watching Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) as a kid and being absolutely terrified. Granted I was probably only ten. But with the release of the long awaited Prometheus in 2012 I recently revisited the film, and found myself feeling perhaps not terror, but a great deal of anxiousness as the plot unfolded.
Now I doubt that any sane person would argue the cinematic merits of Aliens and beyond, but I was, and I don’t think I’m alone here, legitimately excited at the prospect of beingthrust back into the Alien universe after so many years. Prometheus had me excited as soon as the teasers started playing in theaters, months in advance. And I was positive that it was going to be just as thrilling as Alien. Rushing out to theaters to see it on opening weekend I was fairly disappointed by the whole experience. It was definitely not the movie I was expecting, and more importantly, hoping for. Honestly I pretty much forgot about the whole thing, until my second viewing via HBO. I’m sorry to report that my rewatch of Prometheus was even more disheartening than the first. Forgetting for a moment that the plot is completely unsatisfying, and all over the place, it is the absurd casting that takes the cake.
I know that Charlize Theron is so hot right now, but why was she in thismovie? She just seems completely out of place, as does her character. I’m not saying that she’s not an acceptable actor, but her character, Vickers, comes off like she’s the villain in a daytime drama. I thought they basically canceled all the soaps on TV? There are way too many shots of her just standing in front of things looking suspicious. I’ll bet there’s a deleted scene somewhereof her pushing one of the characters down a flight of stairs. And I get it. Logan Marshall-Green, who portrays Dr. Holloway, is super cute. But he doesn’t seem like a realistic scientist. He seems like a bro. Every time he was on screen it just took me out of the story completely. So when he dies about forty-five minutes in, I have to say the realism factor jumped significantly.
Perhaps the worst casting was Guy Pearce, as an old man, oh and apparently Rickers’ father, Weyland. He’s barely in the film, and surely they could have found an actual old guy to play this
part. It is completely unnecessary. If you haven’t seen it, it’s kind of akin to Winona Ryder playing Spock’s mother in Star Trek (2009), except way moreridiculous.
The one bright spot in regards to casting, and actually the entire movie is Michael Fassbender, who portrays David, who is an android, an apparent earlier modelthan those in Alien and Aliens. I tend to find Fassbender engaging in any part, and Prometheus was no exception. His interactions and scenes are fantastic, and although his character is not human, his thought process and objectives were the most clear out of the entire cast. My favorite scene in particular is actually within the first ten minutes of the film, as he roams the empty ship performing his daily routine while the others are in hibernation stasis.
Overall I was disappointed with the pacing of the film, as well as the lack of interesting information. It just seemed like a lot of “filler”exposition. There are entire plot points that didn’t need to be there. If, and by the way this a spoiler, Rickers and Weyland were going to die anyway did we really need to see the intimate details of their stories? I understand the point of giving plots to side characters like IdrisElba, who plays Janek, but we don’t get the chance to see any of them enough to really care. It just seems like they attempted to pack too much information into one film, and ended up not really saying anything.
I’ll get to my point, which is that Prometheus was not as good as I hoped it would be. And rewatching it solidified the fact that it really missed the mark. The best thing that I can say about it is that it was forgettable. It isn’t as if they didn’t have decent writers like Damon Lindelof working on the script, so I’m not really sure what happened. Basically I expected more. Maybe it’s simply a matter of trying to one-up something you’ve already done. Maybe we were never going to be happy with a sci-fi film in the Alien universe thirty years after the original. It’s hard to say, but I suppose from now on I’ll have to keep going going back to the original source from 1979.