“Disappointed”. “Boring”. “Let down”. The nerds on my Facebook are pissed off, and I trust my nerds, because when they’re not watching movie trailers and hacking into mainframes, they’re spending hours calmly debating on message boards, dissecting a film until all minute details are analysed and judged appropriately. Surely they can just appreciate a film for what it is. “Ridley Scott ruined my life” – bit of an overreaction, but there does seem to be a scent of frustration surrounding the response to Prometheus.
Perhaps the film is a victim of its own captivating viral marketing campaign, which invited us to raised expectations to an unattainable level. Or, perhaps, nerds can shut the fuck up, because Prometheus left me dazzled. The film is a visual splendour, an enthralling turkey slap of ocular majesty across one’s 3D glasses. Set in 2093, the premise – centring on a crew that discover a star map to a distant civilisation believed to have created life on Earth but in the journey instead uncover a violent threat to the human race – is not necessarily innovative. However, its weaving of suspense, stunning visuals and heavy philosophical themes is masterfully executed. At its core, it explores the dangers that can arise from a search of our origins, and the film is rich in religious overtones of confronting our maker in our human yearn to discover meaning.
Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner was widely-admired for its set design, and its visual wizardry enticed the viewer into its dystopian world. Much like Blade Runner, from its opening scene at a crushingly commanding waterfall in Iceland, Prometheus is awe-inspiring in its scenery and visual effects; it is here where its strengths are found. Viewing the film in 3D at IMAX is a speechless experience. The 3D, for once, actually suited the film and invited you into the voyage with its wonderful realism. That being said, perhaps the abortion scene could’ve been in 2D, eh Ridley? Or like, not at all.
Much criticism and dissatisfaction of Prometheus stems from its narrative, and that many threads are left open, begging to be answered in a sequel. Regardless, the film still stands on its own, and fits nicely within the Alien universe. Sometimes Prometheus sloppily glides over details – such as how the story challenges “300 years” of evolution via natural selection, something science has firmly established as a fact (unless you’re a Creationist, in which case, how are you reading this?). It is an understandable frustration to have such important details hastily touched upon, but it’s difficult for a film to answer all these miniscule particulars and still maintain an interesting and continuous narrative.
The film stars Michael Fassbender, who is very quickly becoming one of my favourite actors, and his brilliantly cold, emotionless performance as android David conjured eeriness not felt since 2001: A Space Odyssey’s Hal. Charlize Theron’s performance as just an all-round general bitch also conjured an eeriness not felt since my ex-girlfriend.
Overall, Prometheus does have its flaws, but sometimes you’ve gotta ignore the bird shit on your seat to enjoy the ride.
BY NICK TARAS
Prometheus is currently screening nationwide distributed through 20th Century Fox. You catch it in 3D on the world's third largest screen at IMAX Melbourne.