Review: Prometheus 3D
I get it, David is Dr Smith!And not the movie Dr Smith, but the prissy 1960s Dr Smith from the Lost in Space TV series, only younger, better looking, still of dubious sexual orientation and still up to no good.
Dr Smith wasn't the only reference to spot throughout this movie. The older Wellend looked uncannily similar to Keir Dullea's Dave character at the end of 2001. In fact, the 2001 referencing was noticeable throughout this film, from the scattered landscape panoramas of the opening to the video calls home to the exercise sequences and the trip to the monolith.
More amusingly, there was a direct Moebius connection with regard to the look of the "creators" and the somewhat hilarious struggle at the end between the humanoid and many-tentacled alien was a swipe from a Moebius strip in which a hot woman turns out to be... a many-tentacled alien! It's not surprising, since Moebius contributed concepts to original Alien movie of 1979. Perhaps this was Scott's homage to the late Jean Giraud.
Apart from referencing 2001 and his earlier Alien project, Scott seems to have been influenced by Forbidden Planet (again), the Quatermass films, those two Mars movies and Contact... There was a moment before the captain decides to ram the alien spacecraft when I thought of Star Trek, in particular Scotty, though that was probably just me!
I don't mind guessing - or viewing - all these influences, real or imagined, but what annoyed the hell out of me were the poorly written characters (and for such good actors). Not since George Lucas introduced mind-numbing woodeness to Star Wars 1,2 and 3 have I seen characters I couldn't care less about! Oh, the biologist is dead! Good thing, too! What biologist approaches a completely unknown alien life form as if it's a cute kitten? Idiot!
The geologist? Why was he even there? Oh, right; to die.
And the set up once they had all regurgitated themselves out of cryo-sleep was absurd - an improbable rehash of the Nostromo crew without any back story to make it credible. Irascible, unco-operative, dysfunctional... this is not how one picks a top crew for a major undertaking worth trillions of future bucks.
There were plot holes you could drive battalions through. No explanation as to what the "creators" were running from or how they came to be decapitated. Not by our favourite aliens, they hadn't been birthed yet.
Oh, and Ridley? Evolution is a SLOW process - it takes a little longer than twenty or thirty minutes!
The Theme: nothing new, but interestingly put forward and it would have been even more interesting if all the above nonsense had been put to one side to allow a deeper exploration. Sometimes exposition gets in the way of a good movie but in this case exposition would have helped immensely.
So what was good about this film? Surprisingly, quite a lot. Notably Fassbender's David. He was almost a movie in himself. In fact, he could probably sustain one. The clip "Happy Birthday David" was brilliant and scary! Charlise Theron makes a delightful Ice Queen, yet still remains delightfully hot!
What engaged me most of all was the visuals. Sumptuous landscapes, stunning sets, excellent CGI, satisfying use of 3D, and a gritty feel that involves the viewer. There were moments of pure poetry - the Prometheus in orbit around the giant planet, and the holographic star chart in the chamber are two that sit in my memory. When it worked, it worked brilliantly.
Unfortunately, the "horror" sequences were just slapstick.
BUT.... it's the first science fiction movie deserving of the name in a long time. That's worth 3 stars in itself.