“Prometheus” is a great and gorgeous movie as long as you don’t think about it too hard. Which is the biggest issue you’ll have with Ridley Scott’s first science-fiction film since the overrated “Blade Runner”: It wants you to think too hard.
Filled with weighty questions like “Why are we here?,” “Where did we come from?” and “Who created us?” “Prometheus” pretends that it’s more than an action film. It’s really not. By the time the third act rolls around, everything is familiar and expected. Even the film’s scares feel routine: You know the two idiots left behind in the alien cave are going to get brutally murdered by some alien monster the minute they separate from the group. And so on. Besides, anything you can’t figure out from basic movie knowledge was spoiled for you by the film’s marketing campaign, which revealed many moments from the end of “Prometheus.” BUT NO SPOILERS, RIGHT GUYS?
Damon Lindelof co-wrote “Prometheus” (the other credited screenwriter, Jon Spaihts, turned in the initial script, which apparently was too close to an “Alien” prequel for Ridley Scott’s comfort — even though the film is an “Alien” prequel) and it winds up having a lot of the same issues that people had with “Lost.” Only “Lost” was much more satisfying, if only because it had developed characters and easily understood motivations.
Everyone in “Prometheus” is a cliche — the hard-ass, the seen-it-all pilot, the naive scientist, the hot dog, the scared scientist, and the dozen redshirts — and no one behaves in any way that makes sense. All those horror movie cliches that “The Cabin in the Woods” expertly mocked? They’re present in “Prometheus,” along with a ridiculous subplot involving the film’s resident android, David (Michael Fassbender, pure brilliance), that pretty much makes no sense. Not only does David know everything about everything, he also does things to both Logan Marshall-Green and Noomi Rapace (playing the de facto leads) that never get explained or discussed the minute after they’re done.
People telling you that “Prometheus” is great because it leaves the big questions unanswered are kinda fooling themselves. It leaves every question unanswered. Mystery is great; gaping plot holes are not. Lo for the days of the Hatch and the Numbers and “We have to go back!”