Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” raises some interesting questions, “where do we come from, how did we get here, and what future is there for mankind?” and other, unintended ones: can sharp, entertaining cinema ever thrive in an industry which allows this much money to be thrown at a failed film like this one? When so many filmmakers in need of funding abandon their ambitions it is dismaying that Mr. Scott can raise $130M. I also ask myself whether the sci-fi genre should not be retired forever from movie screens and be consigned exclusively to graphic novels and video games. Though it would be to my regret.
Ridley Scott has made an inelegant film, with nary a wisp of a story. “Prometheus” is tedious to watch and squirm-inducing, the gore of the film’s imagery overpowering any attempt at a serious discussion of the philosophical ideas we are confronted with.
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Granted, every story has already been told and filmmakers are obliged to continue telling them. Adding a veneer of prophetism, such as what science fiction often does, can, sometimes, buoy the storytelling (a great example is “1984” by George Orwell). But as stories are reused the sci-fi genre has gotten stale through its own cycle of regeneration because we’ve seen the special effects and know them. And so, the science-fiction genre as a whole is most of the time at risk of being leaden and annoyingly self-aware, and thus reverts to its initial B-movie status. “Prometheus” is no exception. If Ridley Scott wanted to distance himself from the “Alien” franchise as he’s said in the press, he did so by sacrificing creativity.
It doesn’t help that “Prometheus” was eye-soreingly miscast. On example is the character of Professor Charlie Holloway, Archeologist. Logan Marshall-Green, who plays him, looks more like a Calvin Klein underwear model in search of a tanning bed and a sandwich.
Moreover, Guy Pearce, whose career has finally soared and thankfully so, makes a moment’s appearance on “Prometheus” portraying a character whose older than him by at least four decades. I say, why not hire an actual older actor instead? Aging actors is an incredibly stupid mistake that casting directors and filmmakers keep on making, evidence of Hollywood favors being cashed out and paid up perhaps? An actor in aging makeup will not look like the character he intends to portray. He will look like an actor in aging makeup. This kind of error was on display in 2011’s “Jay Edgar,” when the character of Clyde Tolson played by Armie Hammer was aged. The make-up was so pronounced as to be painfully noticeable. He looked like a burn victim who’d been dipped in milk.
Bad decisions, unoriginality, and excessive compromises seem to be the order of the day in serious sci-fi moviemaking.
That “Prometheus” should have never been made into a movie will be argued. That it makes a strong case for the sci-fi genre being banned from studio film slates for good is evident.
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