Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
June 12, 2012
Kim Hollis: Did you watch Prometheus? If so, what did you think of it?
Bruce Hall: Ridley Scott famously reassured us that the "DNA" of Alien would still be there, and he wasn't lying. Fans will spot familiar things right away. But despite some obvious aesthetic and structural similarities, I find them to be very different films. The original asked a lot of questions, like "What the hell is this thing?", "How do we kill it?" and "Is it determination or compassion that best defines the human condition?" All important things, but mostly window dressing for a really good monster movie in space.
But Prometheus attempts to illuminate the journey of self discovery in a way that is very true to the core purpose of classic science fiction. "Is this all I am, is there nothing more?" was the first Star Trek film's unwritten tag line. Prometheus also attempts to address two similarly huge philosophical concerns - that is there a God, and if there is, does He even care anymore? But despite stunning visuals, sweeping vistas and equally big ideas, both films swung for the fence and missed.
At times, Prometheus feels like so much philosophical wanking, infused with flame throwers and xenomorphs. It grapples with concepts it's not really equipped to address. It fails to answer enough of its own questions to feel entirely worthwhile. It stumbles over itself trying to be clever. It often seems to wander, like a head injury patient who can't remember why he walked into the room. The kinds of questions Prometheus poses are entirely rhetorical, and it's hard to go there without looking a little self-serving.
And yet there's an engaging sincerity to Prometheus that makes it impossible to look away, despite these flaws. I can't say if it lives up to its ambition because it's not entirely clear what those ambitions were. But having the courage to seek knowledge is often more important than knowledge itself, and that is the part of Prometheus that will stick with you long after you've left the theater.
Shalimar Sahota: I've been reading and hearing a few criticisms about how Prometheus is not at all like Alien. I can't believe people are making such comparisons. I went in expecting a standalone film that just happened to be set in the same universe as Alien. However, my disappointment came from the film being happy to skirt around big issues rather than delving deep into them. By the end I would have preferred it if the film had an answer (even a wrong answer) rather than more questions. Yet Prometheus is by no means a bad film. It manages to make an incredibly silly premise look polished and spectacular.
Max Braden: I saw it on IMAX 3D. Apart from the spectacular visuals (particularly the map room scene), I spent pretty much all weekend being pissed at the movie every time I thought about it more and more. The most immediate problem I had was the idea that some corporation would spend a trillion dollars (and even 75 years from now, that's still tens of billions in today's dollars) on basically a one-shot mission without vetting the people involved.