tek's rating:

Prometheus (R)
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This came out in 2012, but I didn't see it until 2023. The way I remember it, there was a lot of speculation before it came out as to whether or not it would be part of the "Alien" franchise. Well... I considered trying not to spoil that for you in this review (as late as it is), but I guess I might as well: it is. But it kind of didn't need to be. We don't actually see a xenomorph until the very end of the movie, literally the final seconds before the end credits. And I don't really consider it a sci-fi horror movie as I do the other movies in the franchise. Despite having some horror elements, I just see it as a sci-fi movie, and aside from those final few seconds, it could easily have been a standalone film. (Though I have no idea at this point how much or how little the events of this movie will influence the next movie in the franchise, "Alien: Covenant", which I expect is much more obviously a part of the franchise. And I have no idea when I might get around to seeing that.) Anyway, I want to mention that as part of the marketing campaign for this movie, there was a series of short films (or viral videos). I watched one of them, TED 2023, after watching the movie, and it wasn't bad, but I don't think I'll bother seeking out the others. While the movie is mostly set in 2093, the video I watched was set in 2023, so I find it an interesting coincidence that I just happened to first see it in 2023, eleven years after it was released. So now instead of being futuristic, I actually saw it about four months after it's set. (And it makes me realize, I can't remember when I first heard of TED Talks, whether it was before or after "Prometheus" came out.) I also want to say there's a fair amount of disdain for this movie, but I thought it was okay. Certainly one of the worst of the franchise, but that doesn't really make it bad. (Although I had waited years to read a review of the movie by Chris Brecheen on Writing About Writing, and that is so long that I only skimmed it, leaving lots unread. At least I read enough to know I didn't 100% agree with everything they said, but I agreed with most of it. And while I had noticed a few of the things they mentioned when I watched the film, most of it I hadn't noticed... and some of that, I still don't really mind about the film, but some of it does seem bothersome, in hindsight.)

Anyway, on to the plot. There's a brief scene set in the ancient past, followed by a scene set in 2089. In the latter scene, two scientists named Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Dr. Charlie Holloway discover a primitive star map, which is similar to ones found around the world, all created by different civilizations that had had no contact with one another. We then flash forward to 2093, when a spaceship called Prometheus arrives at its destination, the star system shown in the map Shaw and Holloway had discovered. The trip had taken two years, during which the only crew member who was awake was an android named David (Michael Fassbender). Now that they've arrived, the rest of the crew is awakened from cryostasis. That includes Shaw and Holloway, as well as a representative of the Weyland Corporation, which had funded the expedition, Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), and the ship's captain, Janek (Idris Elba), and a number of others of no particular interest. (Incidentally, the existence of Weyland Corp is a major early clue that this is set in the "Alien" universe.) They watch a video by the CEO of Weyland Corp, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), who explains a few things about the mission and introduces Shaw and Holloway to the crew. They believe aliens whom they call Engineers had seeded Earth with DNA that led to the creation of human beings, and they want to find the Engineers and ask them some Big Questions. What they find instead is that this is not the Engineers' home planet, and most of them are dead, aside from one who is eventually discovered in a cryostasis pod. They also find a whole lot of danger.

And... I guess that's all I want to say about the plot. There are plenty of things about the movie that don't make sense, and the Big Questions never get answered (or even really asked). I feel like cutting the movie some slack if it was just setting up a sequel that would answer the questions, but until I see the next movie (which came out in 2017), I won't know if that slack is justified or rewarded. I was able to overlook (or completely miss) the movie's flaws and just enjoy it for what it is. Despite those flaws, I think it's a reasonably interesting movie with at least a couple of decent characters (Shaw and David). It has received some praise for its visual effects, though it's harder for me to comment on those, since I just watched it on my laptop. But I will say it looked good enough, and it's probably better on big screens. It's certainly not a great movie, but like I said... I thought it was okay. I'm glad to have seen it, but I can't imagine I'd ever want to watch it again.

science fiction index

Alien franchise
Alien Anthology Wiki; TV Tropes; Wikipedia; Xenopedia

quadrilogy: Alien * Aliens * Alien3 * Alien: Resurrection
crossover (non-canon): Alien vs. Predator * Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
prequels: Prometheus * Alien: Covenant-Prologue (shorts) * Alien: Covenant