What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Review: 'Prometheus' comes up short

Posted June 11, 2012
Updated June 12, 2012

On Friday, one of the most anticipated films of the summer was released. "Prometheus" ushers the return of Ridley Scott to the realm of science fiction and to the universe of his first big Hollywood film “Alien.”

Is Scott’s return a triumphant return of the king?

While the film does swing for the fences, I feel that it comes up short in a couple of different areas. I am a huge fan of the Alien series and was looking forward to a kind of prequel to "Alien" and that is definitely not what this film is. I was disappointed by this at first and had to clear my mind of what I wanted the film to be and judge it on what the filmmakers had done.

The story follows the ship Prometheus as it travels to a distant world to investigate the theory of two scientists. The scientists believe that life was brought to earth millions of years ago by extraterrestrials who left behind ancient clues to find them. It is the search to learn where humanity comes from.

Along the way the crew discovers ancient alien ruins and an alien ooze that has some very dangerous and scary properties. The story leads to some very suspenseful moments and poses some interesting questions and thoughts, such as what if our makers don’t want to meet us?

Most of the film works really well, but a couple of scenes, like a seeming useless action sequence about two-thirds of the way through the film, just don’t seem to fit. A nod toward the film "Alien" at the end of "Prometheus" also seems tacked on as an afterthought.

The actors' performances are my favorite part of the film. Noomi Rapace, who plays the main character Elizabeth Shaw, did a good job of playing the strong female protagonist. She also gets some of the most exciting scenes.

While Elizabeth is the main character, David, an android played by Michael Fassbender, was my favorite part of the film. He is so fun to watch as he takes care of the ship and interacts with the humans who he is programed to help and is learning to understand. The feeling that he has a secret agenda that he isn’t telling anyone just makes the performance more enjoyable.

My other favorite character and the character with the most interesting arc through the film is the captain of the Prometheus, Janek. His name is pronounce with a silent J so is sounds like Yanek, and he was played by Idris Elba. While he just seems to just be interested in his self, in the end he gets to show off his intelligence and his heart.

Two actors who perform well but are not used to their full potential are Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce. Both play characters associated with the company financing the expensive space voyage but don’t really get to do much. Their actions aren’t always consistent either which bothered me.

The only other actor I will mention is Logan Marshall-Green who plays Elizabeth Shaw’s partner and love interest. The character was only there as a catalyst for certain parts of the film and was miscast in my opinion.

So after all that, is the film any good? I would say yes, but I have to add that I was disappointed the first time around.

I went and saw the film twice this weekend and had to get over the fact that the movie wasn’t what I was expecting. That’s when I was able to enjoy it for what it was. Even then it had its shortcomings. While it looked beautiful, the story didn’t always make sense and characters' decisions didn’t seem real. They seemed to be making decisions to move the plot forward.

In the end the film is good but fell short of what I wanted it to be.

3 of 5 stars

Did you see Prometheus this weekend? What did you think? 


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • renewfeuerlein Jun 12, 2012

    Seems you set your expectations to high, always a mistake. I am also an Alien fan, watching all of them about once a year, and saw it on the premiere night in IMAX and I conceived it as a direct prequel. What you expected an Alien creature from the previous movies to be in the first scene? Come on! I think the movie does well to providing an interesting scenario as to how the large spaceship and the Alien (as we know them) and it's eggs came to be in that place and I am looking forward to the sequel which now can go in several different directions.

  • 426X3 Jun 12, 2012

    I love Charlize. Unfortunatley this was not one of her better movies.

  • sidecutter Jun 12, 2012

    I think it was good but not great. The story line suffered and could have been better fleshed out.There was too many "what's and why's" left unanswered. The original Alien was very visceral in that it got you in the gut. This one did not. I'll see it again and maybe I'll pick up on some things I missed the first time.

  • joeBob Jun 11, 2012

    I think Robert nailed it. I was trying to form a concise sentence to sum up this movie and the best I could do was it asks more questions than it answers. It's pretty silly in spots. It has great visuals and CGI of course. As is with so many movies these days, the plot had potential but got lost along the way. It is definitely a big screen movie but after having seen it I could have waited for the Blu-ray on sale for $5 in a couple of years. Alien and Aliens it is not. I remember being spellbound by the first Alien movie while this movie was just merely interesting. Overall, disappointing.

  • Smart Alex Jun 11, 2012

    I was riveted! I could not believe Ridley Scott agreed to direct this! It was beyond stupid. I can find better drivel on the SyFy channel. The android was the only barely interesting character. I see why the aliens hated them so much. I did too. And OMG! The Ripley character, is she some kind of action hero or something? Especially after...well, you know. Megashark vs. Octo-pirhanna is more believable. Thank you for letting me get this out. I give it 1 star for the opening sequence with the android and 1 star because parts of it were visually interesting. That is the absolute BEST I can do.

  • pmck Jun 11, 2012

    I haven't laughed that hard at a movie in a long time. Boring. Ridiculous to the point of being silly. The story line made no sense whatsoever

  • ScheNoe Jun 11, 2012

    Hubby and I saw the movie this weekend. I WOULD give a 5 star rating IF I HAD NOT EXPECTED SO MUCH MORE!!! With that being said, I have to agree with Mr. Burleson. DON'T go into the movie thinking that you will come out with a better understanding of where ALIENS come from. Go in as though you have never seen any of the other movies, and you will be fine. Don't get me wrong it was a good movie. But I feel as though I was mislead by the trailers...OR MAYBE I was mislead by myself...