Prometheus—the Review

Ridley Scott made a bloody good movie once. It’s name was “Alien”. Scary cat-face. A terrifying ship-horn. A sense of impending doom. Claustrophobia. Excellent use of light. And of silence. Icky jumping cauliflowers that eat faces. Organic dildos that penetrate. But from inside. More gooey stuff splattering in two minutes than two hours of a Japanese bukkake video.

“Alien” scared the shit out of me, each time I saw it. It affected me in such a visceral way that everytime I ate a egg-mutton roll during Durga Pujo at Maddox Square, I expected that alien head to come bursting out of my stomach and say “Guess whose meat it was that you ate. And guess who that egg batter came from.” Yes it was that scary. The food that is.

Then James Cameron took the Alien mythology and did something miraculous. A sequel almost as good as the original. It was the second most scary thing he would give us, after of course Celine Dion’s “I just got castrated” warbling that made my heart want to stop immediately. Okay make it the third scariest thing. Titanic was quite the devil too.

After that, things went downhill for those slimy things with elongated helmets. Two more sequels were made whose sole reason for existence was to puncture the wallets of devoted fans with their famous alien dollar-hunting claw. Finally, the franchise reached a nadir with Aliens vs Predators, when the mighty Aliens were humiliated, depicted as they were as dumb hunting targets used by Predators, those Robin-Uthappa-like things with Yannick Noah dreadlocks. I never bought the premise. Not for a second. These Predators were such dumbasses that they got out-witted by Arnold through the simple expedient of him taking a mud-bath. Them hunting those super-porn-stars that were the Aliens. Baah. This is like Ravindra Jadeja hitting six sixes off a Dennis Lilee over in Perth. Impossible.

So when I heard that Ridley Scott was “rebooting” the franchise, I was excited. After all, he would not pee on his own baby. Especially when that baby could pee back acid.

Of course he wouldn’t.

No. I was wrong. He would.

The movie goes off-kilter in the first scene itself. After two minutes of “Look it’s 3 D panoramic” shots, we are shown a really muscular male mermaid drinking some black liquid that looks like hair-extract from Hirsute Mission Impossible Kapoor. Nothing good happens to people who drink black stuff in a opening sequence of a horror movie. This we know.

Things never get going after that tepid opening. Fassbender mopes around like a officious butler but that glint in his eyes surely makes him the best thing about “Prometheus”. Charlize Theron’s character is horribly written and one of her sequences with the ship’s captain (she picks him up for some sexy-time) seems to have been crafted by the same guy who wrote the script for Rajesh Khanna’s “Wafaa”. Every set-piece is predictable. You know who is going to die and in which order.

And finally, the “twist”. Which is as surprising as finding that the Congress Party has elected a person with the surname Gandhi as its leader.

Yes yes I got it. “Prometheus” is supposed to be deep. But Tarkvosky, Ridley Scott is not. Neither is he Kubrick.

Here is the thing. He need not have been.

Ridley Scott is a pretty awesome director. He gave the world the iconic “Thelma and Loise” ending. He brought to screen the visionary “Blade Runner”, whose “All these memories will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die” Rutger Haur death sequence still brings a lump to my throat. So did the “I am home” ending of “Gladiator” till Zee squeezed out every bit of pathos out of the background score by playing it for every time someone got eliminated in one of their reality shows.

You see, Ridley Scott knew how things worked. Once upon a time.

Which is perhaps why, as a long-standing fan-boy of those drooling bastards, I expected the world from the Alien reboot. What instead I got was a patchwork of philosophical “themes”—-Man’s search for answers, the essence of humanity, man’s desire to create in its own image, (Shelly used “Modern Prometheus” as the sub-title of “Frankenstein, kind of like Baaz–a Bird in Danger) and Charlize Theron’s behind, none of which were fledged out enough to elevate “Prometheus” to the grandeur its name engenders.

Prometheus you Greek hunk. The Gods didnt punish you for bringing fire to the humans. They punished you for putting your name to this legacy-destroyer.

I hope your stomach gets penetrated by an Alien-mini-head. Woh bhi peeche se. Angootha lagake.


30 thoughts on “Prometheus—the Review

  1. First am I?

  2. You seem lukewarm about it. Disappointed? I was hoping to watch it this weekend. Go or no go?

  3. Greatly disappointed. This would have been a decent Michael Bay flick. But from Ridley Scott and considering that the Aliens are the subject, I expected something much much better.

  4. May be, just may be, when you watched Alien, you were younger, more impressionable and had seen fewer movies of this kind. In the next few years, you have seen a number of movies. You know most of the tricks a horror movie can pull. The Star Wars special effects that were so amazing in the 80s are routine fare now. May be that’s why Prometheus doesn’t leave any imprint on you like Alien did. Just like I wouldn’t adore Tehkikaat’s Sam DeSilva if it was made today.
    I saw Alien and Aliens in 2010. Good fun, but just another space movie. Didn’t scare me because I’ve gotten used to this. So is Prometheus. Just another space movie.

  5. Finally a nice read after such a long time. It was funny and easy to read. Please write more of film reviews. Love you for your film reviews, especially when they are so originally funny. They have become very rare though !

  6. What????!! Tell me this is not true! This cannot be true!

    I got tickets for today as well as tomorrow! The shitty sequels were made by crappy directors, but why would ridley scott do this? I waited 15 years for this movie!

    Kill me! Kill me!

  7. Swamy, I saw Alien and Aliens not more than a year ago. Again. When I saw it in the 80s, I was not old enough to appreciate why I found them scary. Now the shock of the narrative having worn off, I can analyze the reasons—the camera work, the use of sound, lighting, tight close-ups etc. If you want to re-do the Alien mythology effectively, you have to bring something new in terms of “scares”. Scott does not. Why would I see the same things I saw decades ago, except now in 3D?

  8. Fair enough. When franchises are rebooted years later, either they do the same things again, which seem out of place, or they do a complete make over like the Bond series. And either of these may be over done

  9. Having seen the movie yesterday,I can not agree more with your review…I guess great minds think alike…

  10. True,

    It really seemed like Scott wrote a cheque called Alien 30 years back and decided to cash it now with Pro–metheus. It almost seemed like he opened too many loose ends and then deliberately forgot to tie them up so that the obvious sequel would be widely watched. Personally, I am not against sequels, but this is disappointing, especially from Scott.

    The movie has a lot of ambition, but doesn’t seem interested in matching up to the it.


  11. Very well written,indeed,destroying all my excitement effectively. Am able to connect with most of the parts. Being an Alien fan boy since schooldays, went around jumping when the first news of Prometheus came out, explaining to the ignorant junta that it doesn’t mean Jaadu or E.T. like sequences or a big curvy alien wielding guns and saying, “Surrender humans, we are here to conquer Earth or anal probe you or both”.
    Now, it seems like yet another death porn sequences with few twists thrown here and there involving distrust and back-stabbing in a typical panic scenario.
    Still, going to see the movie tomorrow. As you have said earlier, there are here to make holes in pockets of the fans. Just this time, they are doing it with a style.

  12. I’m not very happy at the tone with which you mention wafaa.

  13. Frankly, I feel your review does not do justice to the movie. I agree that it is not similar to Alien; however, it does not have to be. Alien dealt with a particular incident whereas this movie deals with a wider range of questions.

    I am quite glad that Ridley Scott didn’t make this movie too similar to Alien while still retaining the essence of the series. If he had done so, it would have been an insult to a classic.

    Here’s my point of view

  14. I think you have a better experience if you don’t look for an “Alien” reboot, hard though it is. On its own (non-Ripley-Hicks-Bishop-Queen) terms, the movie’s very interesting, despite its flaws.

  15. So why was Dr Holloway infected anyway?

  16. Arnab. What happened to IPL postmartem post.

  17. plz review shanghai .

  18. @Sadaf: David infected his drink with the spores

  19. @Ronit: not how… why?

  20. Seriously?? Are people actually watching Prometheus etc, when all they should be doing is revelling in Khiladi Kumar’s, sorry, Rowdy Kumar’s latest box-office scorcher??? Arnab, you being a fellow lover of Masala potboilers, would love to hear your thoughts on RR!!
    It was a fantastic treat for die-hard Akki fans!!!

  21. @Sadaf: Maybe he had developed curiosity. He wanted to know how the spores infect humans and what the effects are. Maybe he had orders from the company. We may never know. The company has been known to be evil. Remember in Aliens, the company had asked for a crew member to be infected and brought back?

  22. MumbaiMeriJaan June 12, 2012 — 5:33 am

    For those who want to enjoy prometheus, i suggest watching MIB3 before it..
    Its so disappointing u’ll definitely think prometheus is an epic.

    but srsly its not that bad a movie, i think bong’s been a bit too harsh just bcoz its ridley scott. enjoyable still i think.

  23. Saw the movie finally today and can’t agree more with GB. However, there is certain eeriness in the first half ,which was awesome Ridley Scott style, which it really couldn’t carry to the 2nd half.How disappointing
    Well now, to describe the movie in a very layman’s term:

    Take a fresh Alien franchise, mash it up with Bible and creationist theory and sprinkle it with a little of Chariots of Gods, and you have got a hot and ready to serve sleep-fest called PROMETHEUS.

    and there are ppl in reddit fighting over hidden messages in the movie

  24. Hilarious review :))

  25. Bad movie. Good review (as usual). The critics were comparing this to Spielberg’s AI and Kubrick’s 2001 – which is as close to a diagnosis of insanity as I can gather.

    This was super-pretentious bile of the first order – and as you said, it was a patchwork of super-pretentious meta-physics interleaved with tremendous amounts of beyond-insane idiocy.

  26. Good movie, unfair review. Well, maybe its not upto the mark when looked through the eye of someone who is familiar with the Alien series. But as a stand-alone movie, its decent.

  27. Prometheus Unbound: What The Movie Was Actually About –

  28. Don’t really agree with you on this one….I think this is a very well made movie, and I like it that many questions are not answered. I agree with the point that the peripheral characters are one dimensional, but the basic story has a lot of depth to it. I dont mean the lofty questions of where we come from etc, but it does have the effect of keeping people excited and glued to the screen.
    I think it will be appreciated once the sequels come out, and we get to see more of David.

  29. I agree with Soham, Can’t wait to see more of David in the sequel. Michael Fassbender did such an excellent job as an android, he makes the previous androids look like actors from Gunda. I am eagerly awaiting the DVD release for the director commentary and other tidbits. I thoroughly enjoyed the acting in this movie – especially Noomi Rapace and Fassbender. I was disappointed with the movie in regards to the script but I think this movie is of the type that gets better with repeated viewings.

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