There is a reason why I have to get drunk to go to the movies these days and its name is Prometheus. Prometheus – now a mythological symbol for everything that is wrong with contemporary Hollywood filmmaking – is an over-hyped, over budgeted, unoriginal spin-off that proves Hollywood is becoming an irrelevant medium for powerful storytelling. In the words of Hudson from Aliens: GAME OVER, MAN. GAME OVER!
Just to be clear, I came into this movie with low expectations. I wasn’t expecting it to be a sci-fi masterpiece in the same league with Alien, Aliens or Blade Runner. However, I was looking forward to an above average film that would chill and thrill me. Maybe even make me think a little, like District 9 or Surrogates. Not mind-blowing. Just a nice ride from one of my all-time favorite directors. Boy, was I wrong. (Luckily, I remembered to bring four little bottles of Jack Daniels in my purse).
What’s wrong with Prometheus? Let me count the ways (WARNING: SPOILER ALERT)…
Prometheus is not an existential horror movie. Prometheus promised to be a scary, thrilling sci-fi film. It promised to at least entertain me for a couple of hours and, well, it didn’t. It wasn’t scary. It wasn’t intellectual. It was just… meh. Hey, honey, don’t promise me untold pleasures and then take me the Chucky Cheese. You will get no action.
The best thing about the movie was Michael Fassbender’s performance as an android full of more wonder and curiosity than his human counterparts. The entire movie would have been greatly improved if it had been told from his perspective. And I’m not just saying this because I think he’s as hot as the surface of the sun.
It’s not actually Prometheus. So, if you’re a keyboard warrior who’s up on all the Prometheus reviews, you’ve probably read Cavalorn’s Livejournal epic thesis on the film’s roots in mythology. I’d just like to say that I don’t give a shit about the movie’s symbolism. If anything, it was so weighed down with it that it bruised the story. Being pretentious, doesn’t make your shit not shit. Trust me, it’s still shit. Just piled higher and deeper.
In Greek mythology, Prometheus was a Titan and the creator of mankind. But, Prometheus is not just a myth about creation; it’s about humans receiving knowledge from the Gods. Prometheus showed man how to use fire and was punished by Zeus. He took us out of the dark and into the light. And at no point in this film, does one of our alien creators gift us with any kind of knowledge. They are just mean, giant brutes with nothing interesting to say to their children.
Yes, they look like Titans, but beyond that – they are basically less interesting versions of Kratos from the PS3 hit God of War.
Hollywood: if you are going to make a movie about based on Greek mythology and the ideas presented in “Chariot of the Gods,” please make it at least as good as the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens show – or a B sci-fi movie from the early 1990s like Stargate. Even Aliens vs. Predator is a better interpretation of the genre. Thank you.
Lazy Storytelling. From the very first scene, this movie failed. Why show Prometheus (our alien creator) right away? Ever heard of building a mystery? Building tension? Making the audience wait to discover who created us? I don’t care if the scene is taken from the Greek creation myth. It doesn’t serve the story. Toss it. Show some discipline. Put your craft before your need to show everyone how smart you are.
But that’s not even the start to this movie’s poor storytelling. Each scene failed to use the conflict it created in the previous scene (HUGE fail and a sign that the script was disjointed as if 10 different writers worked on it and there was no one checking to see if things made sense). The plot is illogical. It fails to create character arcs – and, well, the poor scene work and cringe-worthy dialogue makes you wonder if anyone cared if this movie was any good.
Weak Protagonist. So, who the hell is our hero? We spend a lot of useless time with other characters in scenes that do nothing to move character or story forward. After Dr. Elizabeth Shaw gets impregnated with facehugger/squid baby, we realize she is supposed to be our protagonist. But we have no emotional connection or investment in her. Why does she care about finding our alien creators? What drives her? Why do I care about her more than the hunky android played by Michael Fassbender?
Take a cue from Contact and show us why this scientist is so passionate about finding these alien beings. Show us what she’s been through to get to this point in her life. Show us her personal stakes. Because I do not understand… or care.
Everyone is stupid. All the characters in this movie are dumb as a facehugger – and just as suffocating. They keep doing stupid, illogical things like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (who are totally dead, btw) playing with menacing serpents slithering in black ooze. Yeah, don’t touch that, dude. If you were on an expedition in the jungle, you would bring a gun and you wouldn’t try to play with the black mamba.
A dying Weyland in really bad old man makeup secretly travels with the ship in order to meet his maker, before he meets his maker, just so he can get his brains bashed in by his maker. What did he expect? God to be a nice guy? Silly man.
But the most dumbass move of all comes from our so-called hero Dr. Shaw. At the very end, she decides not to return to Earth, but to find the home planet of our homicidal creators, so she can ask them why they wanted to destroy us. WHY IN THE HELL WOULD SHE WANT TO DO THAT?! They were planning on wiping out our planet. So, you want to remind them that they never got around to doing it? If this is the best example of human heroism in this sci-fi universe, we all deserve to die.
They think YOU are stupid too. So, a very, very misguided Dr. Elizabeth Shaw takes off with her handsome android head to find the home planet of the Titans, because she wants to know why they were going to destroy us.
This, of course, is to set-up a sequel (Ugh, enough already). Really? That’s your cliffhanger? Wow. The filmmakers must think we are as dumb as their cardboard characters.
We don’t need a sequel to realize why they were going to deliver a ship full of that black ooze to Earth. Let me explain with a simple equation:
The Titans + Facehugger / Squid Creature = Xenomorph.
Or more eloquently…
They created us to be genetically similar enough to them, so they could use our bodies to breed Xenomorphs. Duh (flips hair).
They were going back to Earth to impregnate the human population with Xenomorphs, probably because they are fighting a bigger intergalactic war and need a crap load of biological weapons.
You don’t need to waste your money (or time) watching the sequel. And don’t bother paying to watch the first movie either. You will see nothing new. You will experience no thrills. You will be barraged with a bunch of mythological imagery that does little for the actual story. And you will be wondering how such a legendary director got it so wrong.
If you’re into the whole “Chariot of the Gods” premise, re-watch Stargate (1994) for free on YouTube right here:
Your brain will be more satisfied. Plus, James Spader is nerdilicious.