Ridley Scott is a particular filmmaker in that his films are just not all that character driven. Scott typically interests himself more in convoluted plots, big idea premises, intricate settings and thematically deep stories. This leads people to dismiss his films as tedious when in actuality they’re meant more for the mind rather than the heart (pardon the phrasing).
Prometheus, which has reached a critical consensus of “disappointing”, has a script that seems to be more geared for modern audiences’ desires for character driven stories. Unfortunately, it goes about this by creating half-baked arcs and underwhelming pay-offs to interesting set-ups. Scott’s more methodic style of directing is a major benefit here. While a director like J.J. Abrams might linger on the weak character beats to create a false sense of empathy, Scott plows through them showing more of a concern for the big ideas at play and visually impressive set pieces. With a more complex story this might have made the film feel rushed but with the actually story being as thin as it is, the film moves at a solid pace and never wallows in its dull faith-through-a-crisis theme.
While the trailer and involvement of Scott gave us all hope that this was a more pure science fiction movie, the end result is disappointingly simple. The first act is certainly full of intrigue and flirts with some large-scale concepts, but the rest of the film fails to follow up. It instead devolves into a fairly standard creature feature with blockbuster action scenes. Think Paul W.S. Anderson’s Event Horizon but more polished and less stupid. After a decade of bad knock-offs, it’s nice to see H.R. Giger’s set design done right.
At the end, we’re left with a pretty good science fiction/horror hybrid that doesn’t live up to the hype.
- Rated: R
- Horror, Science Fiction
- Release Date: 6/8/2012
- Directed by: Ridley Scott
- Starring: Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace
- Produced by: David Giler, Ridley Scott, Walter Hill
- Written by: Damon Lindelof, Jon Spaihts
- Studio: 20th Century Fox, Brandywine Productions, Scott Free Productions