Over the weekend, I got some shit (FROM NERDS) for not liking Prometheus enough and comparing it too directly to Alien in my review. To which I will say this: I went to see the film again, for two reasons:
1) To see if watching it as an Alien prequel did, if fact, do Prometheus a disservice.
2) To see if Prometheus was any less disappointing or nonsensical a second time.
In the case of 1) No. In fact, comparing it to Alien actually does the film a huge favor. Despite Ridley Scott's waffling on whether or not this thing's a prequel to Alien, it completely is; in fact, knowing what comes later in Alien is the only way a lot of stuff in Prometheus even remotely makes sense. Not only is it willfully obtuse to pretend Prometheus isn't an full-on Alien prequel, but doing so somehow makes the film, and the things that happen in it, even more silly and even less interesting. So while it might not be fair to compare a crappy movie like Prometheus to a great one like Alien, it is important to think about how a prequel relates to the film it's been spun-off from.
As for 2), I was really, desperately hoping this would be the case—as someone who finds the whole Alien series, both the good and the bad films, pretty fascinating, it's a foregone conclusion I'm going to be thinking about, and watching, Prometheus for a while yet. This would be a significantly more pleasant exercise if the film was smarter or more enjoyable. But it isn't: It is an astoundingly gorgeous thing to look at that and listen to, and it nobly tries to do a whole lot of very admirable things, but by the time its end credits finally roll, it's broken and bland and goofy. Via Mike Russell (who spent most of the weekend complaining about the film on Twitter, and I think liked it even less than I did), comes a pretty great explanation why the film, despite trying as hard as it does, fundamentally doesn't work. The relevant part starts about 3:30 in:
And then: I'd just like to point out the fact that our popular culture has arrived at a point where the South Park dudes are capable of schooling Ridley Scott. So that's something.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!