Movie review: In space, nobody can hear you scream for your money back

By Ben Kendall

Imagine you’re sitting at a fancy dinner party. The table is remarkably set; after all, you’ve been waiting 33 years for the host to have a dinner party like he did back in 1979. Drinks are served, and sure, you get a little buzzed. Then the main course comes out in a large covered silver serving tray. The lid is lifted off, and you see what you’ve been waiting for all this time: a steaming pile of dog shit. That’s exactly what “Prometheus” was. Presented well, and yet it couldn’t get away from its nature.

I admit that I was stoked to see Ridley Scott at the helm of this one. He did “Alien” so well that maybe he might be able to lend some of his magic to the new iteration of the series. All “Prometheus” shows us is that he has lost his way in the churning gears of time, and no amount of wishes or sacrifices to the film gods will ever give us back what we had before.

The film begins with what we learn is how humankind was introduced on earth via alien tampering. Then we get introduced to two archeologists who uncover further evidence as to the origin of our species. This is the beginning of the bad science that the movie hinges on. “Screw proper excavation techniques! We need to get the plot piece that sends us to LV-426 (the planet where the aliens that we’re all familiar with are found in the first film).” I have no idea why they changed the name of the planet to LV-224. Like hardcore sci-fi nerds wouldn’t pick that up? It’s not at all important. I didn’t care that they changed the name, I’m just saying, why the hell do it? This question will never be answered. But it sets the tone for the film nicely: nothing anybody does ever makes sense. Not that it matters. It doesn’t matter because the plot is nearly non-existent.

Then they go to the planet with a team of unhinged scientists. Since when do people with obvious personality disorders get cleared to go on deep space missions? The geologist is a mohawk-wearing, tattoo-bearing psychopath who does no geology at all. All he does is release some stupid barking floating mapping devices that map the alien ship out. I guess in the year 2093, jobs are so abundant that they can’t give ‘em away. This is the most significant discovery in the history of mankind, and yet, they get the D-stringers from the science team. I guess education continues to take a tumble future-historically.

The geologist goes fooling around in the ruins with the equally useless and dumb biologist, who, when he encounters an alien life-form he does what every good scientist does: he tries to pet it. Pet it? Seriously? He calls it pretty. The thing looks like a cobra-vagina-penis (yes, it looked like all of those things at once) and is obviously posturing aggressively, and he wants to pet it? This does not make sense. Like many other things in the film, they do not make sense! Doesn’t anybody watch any movies in the future? It defies rational behavior! Let’s make a leap and say that yes, there are still films in 2093. Creepy space cobra-vagina-penises kill people in movies, and have for the better part of the history of film. Oh yeah, and those guys die in a horrible fashion. When it happened I couldn’t help but laugh out loud because I couldn’t care less anymore.

Characters? What are those? I would love to call these characters two-dimensional, but that indicates at least two planes of detail. They’re lifeless bags of flesh saying lines that are vapid, empty and devoid of any meaning. I disliked most of them (when I had a reason to feel any emotion for them), but usually they were just there to be killed.

The whole reason they showed up is to find who created the human race, but that plot gets so distant to what is actually going on, that it doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Even the terrifying monsters don’t even show up until maybe the last 10 minutes of the film. You can’t show the monsters, and if you do, you need to use them after you show them. But they just seem to be forgotten after they make an appearance. “Oh, look at those alien skeletons. I wonder what they were running away from. Do you feel like playing Tetris? This science thing is hard!” Where’s the story?

There was far too much “running away from the thing that was going to fall on/open up beneath/away from” in the movie. I thought this was a sci-fi horror film with undertones of xenophobia and isolation. Nope. I don’t even think Ridley Scott could tell you what kind of a film this is without lying his ass off.

The pacing was abysmal. The film seemed to have been mangled while trying to cross the plot superhighway and still tried to drag itself to the other side of the road. It wasn’t until after the two “scientists” died that the movie got the least bit interesting, and that was after about an hour.

It was pretty to look at. That does not even come close to making things OK.

“Prometheus” is a studio-produced betrayal of the original subject matter. Ridley Scott straight up pulled a “Star Wars: Episode One” on the “Alien” franchise.

If you must see it, go ahead. But you may be better off just seeing “Alien” and “Aliens” over again and consider everything that came out afterward as a bad dream.

Congratulations “The Devil Inside,” you were bumped down to second place for the worst film of the year award.

Grade: F

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