Monday, June 25, 2012
JACK VS. PROMETHEUS (2012)
It is very hard to write a review of this movie. That's why this post is coming now: a solid three or four weeks since I saw it the first time. I liked it. And I hated it. I've spoken to two of the smartest people I know when it comes to film. One loved it. The other loathed it. As of right now, I'm of the camp that is not a fan. Me and Lauren don't differ much movie-wise, but we differ on this one. And yet, that hasn't stopped me from giving my money to it... three times. I've seen it multiple times because I want to know what other people think. I've seen it because my questions are still not answered, and I hope that maybe I just wasn't paying attention. But they never are.
Prometheus tells the story of a group of people (scientists, industrialists, your standard spaceship crew and a robot) who travel to a distant moon because they think the first humans came from there and left messages on Earth to go visit. Of course, things don't turn out as they seem, and stuff goes wild. My review after the break...
There is a lot of good. There is near universal praise for the look of the movie. Prometheus is visually gorgeous. The CGI and special effects are flawless. It is one of those rare movies where the visual effects totally enhance the viewing experience, and there is never a moment where you think something is fake. The colors, the set designs, everything is really pretty. In 3D (at the IMAX), it's enhanced even more.
The acting is really great. Casting was excellent. There were no phoned-in performances, and you always felt like you were seeing living, breathing characters and not actors pretending Special recognition to Michael Fassbender's android "David," Noomi Rapace (the girl that used to have a dragon tattoo) as a great leading lady, and the always brilliant Idris Elba who grounds the movie while giving it the most fun performance.
The dialogue-less prologue was awesome. It was mysterious and strange. It set the stage for something fantastic.
But it's just not finished. I think that's where I stand with my review. I can't hate this movie completely because it's just so unfinished and unfocused. Shit was kept ambiguous with the inference that it would all be explained later. Damon Lindeloff went full LOST on this script which made it wonderfully compelling at times and confusing and unfulfilling at others. Prometheus is made like a great TV series pilot: it sets up a lot of stuff, introduces a fun cast who all have their own, unknown agendas, and give them some weighty shit to deal with... But as a standalone movie, it leaves too much unexplained.
I've read arguments that some of the big questions are answered and supported with evidence... but some of these explanations start reaching to the point of bad fan fiction. Take, for instance, the black goo. I've read that it changes depending on who comes in contact with. Yes, the evidence supports that as considering all the different things it does. But if that's true, it's a terrible explanation and bad writing. After repeated viewings, I still think that the black goo does whatever the plot needs it to at any given moment. And that's just as bad.
The Alien part at the end was unnecessary and made shit make even less sense. I know that everyone wanted a link to those movies, but... okay, let's follow where this alien came from. Black liquid is put into in Dr. Holloway. Holloway has sex with Shaw and gets her preggers. Shaw does a mid-term c-section (which was both cool and ridiculous... but RIDICULOUS) which creates a GIANT face hugger. Which then hugs the face of one of the engineers. Bam. Alien. Earlier, it made a worm into a bigger worm, turned a dude into a pissed off zombie guy and made another dude disintegrate... Ugh...
This write up changed me from flat out hating this movie to thinking that there is a well thought-out story here that just hasn't been told yet.
Maybe explanations are being saved for the sequel, but until the sequel comes out, Prometheus feels unfinished and unfocused. I'll say this, of all the movies I've seen this year, Prometheus kept me the most interested in a bigger story, but it's the film that left me the least satisfied.
I gave it an Incomplete.