Sci-fi junkies can be some of the most forgiving people when it comes to bad dialogue, corny circumstances and poorly executed character acting. However, they can also be the most cut throat and critical lot to ever screen a movie. Prometheus had high expectations, there is absolutely no denying that. Ridley Scott hadn’t given us a sci-fi flick since the 1980s, and those were legendary movies that remain icons of the genre. So, flash forward to 2012 and we’re suddenly presented with a film that, for all intents and purposes, is in the same universe as Alien. Reception for this movie was mostly positive, but there is a large group of people that were severely disappointed. It receives flak for a number of reasons, namely the, often times idiotic, actions of the characters in the film. Bare in mind, this is a movie about scientists traveling further than humanity has ever gone in an effort to find aliens that could have potentially started life on earth. That is a premise that’s perfectly accepted, but the actions of those on the team are what ruined the movie.
First of all, lets talk about the crew that’s been recruited for this mission. Astronauts they are not. The majority of the personnel aboard are experts in very specific scientific fields, few, if any of them had careers in terraforming and/or space exploration. It’s frustrating how stupid some of their actions come across, but guess what? humans aren’t nearly as bright as we’d like to let on. Sure these are educated individuals, but they’re fresh out of their cryo-tanks and rip roaring and ready to get exploring! A mixture of excitement and wonder is more than enough to convince me that their mistakes, as dire as they were, could happen within the scope of the movie. By the reading on all their fancy instruments, everything was A-ok, and remember, they’re scientists, they live by their instruments. People found themselves frustrated with David, the human like robot that attempted to blend in perfectly with the rest of the crew. Gripes are often made about him doing things that didn’t make logical sense. I chalk this up to his AI being set to camouflage itself with the rest of the crew. He can only do what he’s programmed to do.
Another problem was with the alien race itself. Apparently a large portion of the moviegoing audience found the aliens that created humanity to be pretty dumb. It baffles me that this is even a problem, not because I agree that the aliens are dumb, but the fact that they are an entirely different race of beings that operate on a vastly different plane of cultural and physical existence. I could understand if we were dealing with another culture of humanity, but to gripe about the fact that the actions of an alien race doesn’t make sense to you to the extent that it “ruins the movie” is a bit far fetched. Not enough exposition is in the film for the audience to fully grasp that reasoning behind the aliens actions, nor is there enough for us to know why they reacted the way they did. Honestly, I’m glad for the lack of information, it would have been a much longer movie if they had attempted to explain the fine details of alien reasoning and technology. Some things are best taken at face value, this certainly was one of them.
While Prometheus isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, no movie is. The biggest complaint on my end is why two character attempt to run from a rolling disk-shaped crashed spacecraft by running directly away from it when a few steps to the left or right would have done the trick. While the problems are there, they aren’t glaring. Prometheus more than delivers on the visuals. We’re talking one of the most breathtaking films to look at in recent memory, building worlds that are equally frightening and beautiful. Perhaps those that were disappointed were so because of a standard they expected to be met. While Alien and Blade Runner had decades to soak into the public consciousness, the expectations for this film was for it to do the same. This was a poor use of expectations when going into a movie, one that more often than not sets you up for disappointment.