‘Prometheus’ Delivers Thrills, Mystery to Chew On

by Eric Melin on June 8, 2012

in Reviews,Video Reviews

This review originally appeared in shorter form on KSNT-NBC, KTKA-ABC, and KTMJ-FOX, Kansas First News.

Prometheus-movie-Poster-2012The most anticipated sci-fi movie of the summer hits theaters today with the film studio keeping its plot under a shroud of secrecy.

Although director Ridley Scott is being coy about his new movie’s relationship to his classic 1979 sci-fi horror picture Alien, I am here to tell you that Prometheus takes place in the same universe some years earlier.

Co-written by Lost’s Damon Lindelhof, Prometheus uses some unexplained beings and abandoned spaceships from the original Alien as a jumping off point. If you are familiar with the term “space jockey,” you’re probably a big Alien fan, and you’re ready to find out—after 33 years— exactly what that is. If your expectations are not so lofty, Prometheus might work a little better for you.

A crew of scientists (including Noomi Rapace, the Swedish Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) are sponsored by the same corporation that employed Sigourney Weaver and her crew of space miners.  A theory leads them to a distant moon to discover the key to the history of humans on Earth. Because this is a contemporary big-budgeted movie, there’s not as much silence or as much left to the imagination in Prometheus as there was in Alien.

The art direction updates the cold, sinister look of Alien perfectly and the cinematography is beautiful, but actors like Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender, who turn in fine performances, sometimes have to deliver dialogue that’s pretty clunky and obvious.

prometheus-space-suitsThe bigger-picture story is intriguing, however, and the mystery develops skillfully while Scott ratchets up some familiar Alien horror scares. The ending feels unsatisfying mostly because it seems to exist solely to save more mystery for a sequel.

Still, Prometheus is an adult sci-fi film about ancient Greek myths (check the legend of Prometheus to understand what happens when Gods meddle with human affairs) and the origin of human life on Earth. It’s the kind of big-idea movie you don’t get much of in the summer, and it’s a welcome sight.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jim June 11, 2012 at 3:44 am

Really boring movie. Another “Hugo”, if you will. People want to be entertained when they go see a movie–on this point alone Prometheus fails miserably.

The worst part of this movie is that the story is so stupid and riddled with plotholes that it insults your intelligence and just kills your suspension of disbelief.

Ridley Scott hasn’t made a good movie since Black Hawk Down. I think part of the problem is that he has not chosen good scripts lately. Visually, Ridley Scott is a genius but movie audiences want a story and characters they can relate to–Prometheus is such a huge disappointment in this respect. Nice visuals but no heart. Prometheus never connects with the audience at any point, and this is a real problem. Even the corny Dances with Smurfs by James Cameron was miles better than Prometheus because audiences could relate to some aspects of the story and characters.

Honestly, since 1986′s Aliens, there hasn’t been a truly great sci-fi movie. Aliens just hit all the right buttons–great characters, solid plot, great suspense and thrills, and great action. Who can forget Ripley in mum mode kicking the alien queen’s ass? It just connects instantly with audiences–there was no need for tons of meaningless semi-mysterious dialogue like in Prometheus. Everyone understands how ferocious a mum can get when defending her child, people get this instantly. There is nothing like this in Prometheus, just emotionless dialogue and characters doing stupid irrational things.

Wish that movie directors in general would study Aliens and get back to basics. Seriously folks, this is not rocket science–people just want to be entertained. If you’re going to spend hundreds of millions on a movie, (1)don’t insult the audience’s intelligence and (2)make sure the movie is entertaining. Look at Avengers 2012, not a classic by any means but entertaining and it cleaned out at the box-office.

Heck, even The Artist 2011 was way more entertaining and thought-provoking than Prometheus–and it was made on a $15 million budget in black and white! If Blade Runner 2 is going to be more drivel like Prometheus, seriously Scott–don’t bother.

The best science fiction movie in the past 3 years remains District 9–made on a small budget yet was superbly entertaining and thought-provoking. Even “Moon” by Duncan Jones (another sci-fi movie made on a small budget) kicks Prometheus’ ass bigtime.


2 Eric Melin June 11, 2012 at 10:12 pm

So many things to respond to here, Jim–thanks for the comments!

1. I loved ‘Hugo.’ Saw it 3 times in the theater in 3D and was deeply moved each time.
2. Agreed. ‘Prometheus’ is densely plotted and tries to explain some of its plot holes away too easily.
3. There were a lot of things to like in ‘American Gangster’ and ‘Body of Lies,’ but his bst movies are more open to interpretation and visually-oriented for sure.
4. I think of ‘Aliens’ as a pure action movie. Sci-fi has more ideas. ‘Promethus,’ like it or not, is PURE sci-fi. Sci-fi movies are supposed to deal with ideas, not just be westerns in space (I’m looking at you, ‘Star Wars’!)
5. I too, am worried about the ‘Blade Runner’ “sequel.”
6. ‘District 9′ and ‘Moon’ were excellent examples of modern sci-fi that probed the mind and both are superior to ‘Prometheus.’


3 Matthew Jerome June 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm

After seeing Prometheus, I went out and bought Alien and Aliens on blu-ray for an HD re-watch.

First point of order, Alien was made 33 years ago! I rank this as the second greatest science fiction movie of all time behind 2001. (Sorry, Blade Runner falters because there are like five different versions, and whatever version I tried to watch put me to sleep.)

Prometheus is no Alien. I didn’t really “connect” with the lead female character. And we are all expecting the ending to line up with the pre-existing universe/history that Alien gave us… except that it doesn’t, and the movie doesn’t explain why. Scott is telling us in interviews… it’s a prequel story that takes place in a parallel/similar universe, or something like that. Whatever.

The Star Trek reboot worked because it explained how the alternate timeline came to be and worked it into the story. Prometheus is confusing because we are expecting one thing, but get another and we don’t know why. To be answered by future sequels? Not if Prometheus doesn’t make money!


4 Eric Melin June 11, 2012 at 10:16 pm

I respect Scott, Lindelof, & company for taking a wider approach to the ‘Alien’ mythology. When it comes down to it, ‘Alien’ is really a horror movie with a lot left open for interpretation. In 1979, they could get away with that. ‘Prometheus’ is a little plot-heavy, I think, and then for the story not to pay off at the end was frustrating for sure. But I liked the way it deepened the universe and asked some of those fundamental questions about belief. I’m willing to give a sequel a shot, and from the box office this weekend, it looks like we’ll probably get one…


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