I saw Prometheus once in the theater. Picked up the Blu-Ray day one. But I wanted to save watching it with by brother's who hadn't seen it. Finally last night got together with my bro, a big Ridley Scott fan.
I enjoyed Prometheus in the movie theater, but also agreed with most of the criticisms concerning the laziness of the writing and ludicrous actions of the characters. I'd wondered whether viewing it at home I'd like it more, or less
than in the theater. Sometimes when I really like some aspects of a movie but not others, I go into subsequent viewings already having the disappointments behind me, expecting them, and with lowered expectations the better parts of the movie grow on me. That happened with BladeRunner, actually. In the theaters I was originally amazed by the visuals and atmosphere, but felt let down by a lax and somewhat awkward pace, distanced feeling to the characters, and somewhat "flat" feeling to the movie. Going back to re-experience the visuals had me get more and more into the movie until, like many others, it became one of my favorites.
Having now watched Prometheus again at my place, I don't see it happening with this movie. Rather than idiotic parts being forgiven and fading into the background, it's like the more I saw, the more WTF this is ridiculous moments I experienced. They stuck out even MORE and more often in repeated viewing, not less. In Bladerunner there was in fact some depth to sink into in the performances and script. Prometheus...nothing (with the huge exception of Fassbender). I couldn't care even remotely about a single character. All surface, all speaking groan-inducing lines, and often just irritating (those sequences with the lost biologist and geologist can be excruciating). So there's nothing there that hints to me of hidden rewards, or depths to be plumbed.
And although there are a few cool sequences, the medi-pod sequence is fun, Ridley seems to have utterly lost his mojo for producing any scares. (And he'd promised to "scare the sh#t" out of us in movie promo interviews). One may object that ultimately Prometheus isn't supposed to be flat out horror/sci-fi like Alien. But even when it is clearly TRYING to be scary, it's not remotely scary or threatening. And the generally awful striking-the-wrong-tone score hardly helps.
Yup, love those Ridley Visuals. But even here it doesn't offer as much for me to love as Alien did. The original Alien planet was truly freaky, weird, made out of odd and threatening shapes, emerging from darkness, ever blasted by hellacious winds - truly "alien" and thus always fascinating. The Prometheus planet looked more like regular-old remote areas from earth cobbled together by CGI. It just didn't feel nearly as fascinating or alien. (Although there were some gorgeous shots approaching the planet).
And while I do love much of the cinematography in general, and many of the visuals, it's one of those movies that make me bummed out about current editing styles. While the PACE of the film in terms of drama is slow to build, which is nice, the pace of the actual cutting of shots doesn't let me drink in Ridley's visuals the way the older films do. It's just cut too fast to really sink into any particular shot. It's like "hey, look at this beautiful shot of the spaceship going through cloud...whoops...gone...hey cool shot and...damn, gone again. Cut..cut..cut.
The quality of the sound recording, FX and sound mix are utterly superb. So natural, and you can hear the space in which all the scenes occur. Just gorgeous sound design. That said, even though the technical quality of the sound is superior to the old Alien, I find the actual sound FX and mix of Alien to be superior - in that it is much more memorable, and more evocative. The sounds of the harsh howling alien winds, the chattering analogue blips and bleeps of the ship, the water dripping on Bret's hat, the coarse scrape of the air ducts closing, etc. The sound FX have really strong, memorable character and the mix in Alien. Not so much in Prometheus, though that's par for the course in most modern sci-fi movies.
My brother had plugged his ears and sung "la, la, la" for the whole Prometheus build up, and after it came to theaters, so he didn't here any of the controversy (he and his wife had a kid recently, so he didn't get out to see it).
Anyway, my bro had the same reaction. Right off the bat when the score started he said it just signaled a wrong vibe, like he was watching an episode of cosmos, or some soul-souring family adventure film, rather an an ominous or dark feeling. And, he found the characters cliches, unbelievable, the whole shebang. He was pretty disappointed (and actually had to leave a little before the movie ended, but by that time he didn't care that much).
Prometheus was still fun to watch in a sort of mindless way (bummer to say that about what could have been intelligent sci-fi), and beautiful to watch, and it does have ONE great performance by Fassbender which I really admire. If it even had a great music score it would probably up it's re-watch potential.
But, man what a missed opportunity that movie is. Though, I'm not sure Ridley has it in him any more to do the type of serious or quality sci-fi/horror he once pulled off. I guess we'll see in the sequel.
Edited by R Harkness - 12/16/12 at 6:27pm