Way back in the mists of endless time (June 2012, actually) we went to the cinema to watch the legendary Ridley Scott’s return to sci-fi. The excellently titled Prometheus was the film on offer, and after seeing some very positive reviews (TotalFilm gave it 4/5) we hoisted up our diapers and waddled on into the movie theatre with a great sense of excitement. You see, we love Blade Runner and Alien. Even his underrated Matchstick Men is a must. So, he’s a great director!
Two hours later Professional Moron’s Mr. Wapojif had to be dragged from the cinema by office pet Beans the Chinese Dwarf Hamster. The other members of the Professional Moron staff had already been rushed to hospital. Oh my crikey, it really was a bit rubbish. We’ve all seen naff films, but the shockingly inept piece of sci-fi that is Prometheus completely bowled us over. Now, half a year on, we return to the film to take it all in again. We approach it with an open mind. So, is it better than we remember?
Sort of. It’s still a bizarre mishmash of all sorts of strange things. BUT! Whilst its colossal flaws are ever-present, it wasn’t quite as mind crushingly dreadful on this occasion. Perhaps as we were prepared for it… but, whatever, the script is still horrific. Cinematography? Glorious! Scott is a genius. Script? What!?
Being literary minded sorts here at Professional Moron, we were particularly offended by how idiotic the script in Prometheus is. The whole thing was written by Damon Lindelhof and Jon Spaihts who, my word, must have graduated from the University of Below Average Quality Novel Reading. The dialogue is horrendous from start to finish. Here are some of the best worst moments!
Dr. Holloway: "It's Christmas Captain, and I want to open my presents!" Vickers: "How we doing?" Captain Janek:"Great!" Dr. Holloway: "This is just one small step for mankind!" Dr. Shaw: *with condemnation* "Seriously?" Dr. Shaw: "You crazy bastard [said in a disastrous British accent]." Fifeld: "Congratulations on meeting your maker." Dr. Shaw: *with defiance* "Thank you." Dr. Holloway: *to Fifeld* "Pull yourself together!"
The geologist Fifeld also refers to his sophisticated terrain mapping devices as “pups”. Quite cute, yes? When he releases them into an alien ship he promptly howls like a dog. Bare in mind he also looks like some sort of merger between a rat and a wolf thanks to a punk hairdo and hippy beard.
Vickers: "That thing sounds like a dying cat." (in reference to an organ player) Dr. Shaw: (to really hammer home the British roots) "There's no bloody way I'm three months pregnant!" Tally bally ho! Weyland: "Anything else?" Vickers: "No... father." (This may seem like some dramatic development, but in the context of Prometheus it's completely irrelevant as it doesn't add anything to the story. Ridley Scott might as well have rolled in Arnold Schwarzenegger for a song and dance number. "The hills are alive, with the sound of music", perhaps.) The android David: "I didn't think you had it in you! Sorry, poor choice of words." After Dr. Shaw's operation to remove an alien from her stomach. Captain Janek: "It's a ship!" Vickers: "Jesus Christ!" Captain Janek: "It's a goddamn ship!"
To be fair to the film it’s alright, but there are some very weird inconsistencies in the plot. For one example amongst many, protagonist Dr. Shaw (the new, much, MUCH more irritating version of the lovable Ripley) has to cut a squid monster out of her stomach. To do this she knocks out two crew members who were trying to do evil things for no reason (there’s a lot of this in Prometheus). Later on they all meet up again and nothing is said of the earlier issues. At all. Really, no burning resentment in either of the parties? Oh well.
Other weird stuff includes peripheral characters who are almost completely non-existent. For a ship with a crew of 17 (most of whom are wiped out an hour in), there are still a number who crop up out of the blue. In the final few moments (almost 2 solid hours in) one bloke turns up with a shotgun and is almost immediately killed. A few minutes later two of the ship’s navigators spontaneously decide to commit suicide with the incredible good cheer of mates heading off to the pub. Despite there being plenty of escape pods for everyone. Maybe they were manic depressives.
Then, of course, there’s the intensely stupid ending. Vickers (the dumb one, remember?) dies through a dense inability to understand running in a different direction than dead ahead. And the squid monster inexplicably grows into an alien engulfing maniac, despite being locked in a room with no food. And we’ve not even mentioned the moments of crushing boredom, the banality, the unintentional comedy (hissy fit Fifeld and his mortified biologist mate Milburn bumble about in the wilderness lost.
Despite knowing the layout of the entire ship they’re in. And with a crew back at Prometheus to guide them out. Any help there? Nope. So they wander about for an eternity complaining about stuff and being scared.) Add in Captain Janek’s intent on “getting laid” with Vickers (Charlize Theron), a number of other sexual references, some disturbing religious undertones, some of the strangest accents ever recorded on film, and Dr. Holloway’s sudden descent into binge drinking for no reason, and you have one disappointing film.
The more we sit here thinking about Prometheus the more idiotic we realise it is, yet the film’s fans we have talked to online praise its intelligence and innovation. It is, h’actually, terribly clichéd and rehashes a number of the tricks Scott used in Alien back in 1979. There’s progress for you.