The main problem with Prometheus is that it tried to do too much on too many levels.
Prometheus is an ambitious, entertaining film from Ridley Scott that ultimately falls flat due to an overextended plot that becomes convoluted in the second half of the film. The film is set in the same universe as Alien (1979), which Scott also directed, and contains many similarities (female lead, untrustworthy androids) but is more of a stand-alone film than a direct prequel. With expectations sky-high due to an intense trailer and Ridley Scott’s track record with science-fiction, Prometheus aimed to reach those expectations with a philosophical story that has potential, but is marred by an incomplete story, and uneven pacing.
Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) are archeologists that have recently concluded that a variety of different cave drawing portraying humans worshipping God-like figures pointing to the stars is a map to the home planet of some sort of alien race. Enter the dubious corporation of Weyland Enterprises to fund the voyage to the mysterious planet under questionable premises.
Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) is the corporate stooge who questions the point of the mission. It’s hard to describe too much more of the plot without giving anything away, but there are several plot twists (some interesting, some not) and, believe it or not, there are in fact aliens on this planet.
The main problem with Prometheus is that it tried to do too much on too many levels. It tries to tow the line of an entertaining thriller while still being taken seriously as an exploration of the deeper questions of life. Many pivotal scenes feel rushed and several plot points are unresolved in order to bring the film running time in at a marketable two hours.
Characters drift in and out, and there is no real connection. Michael Fassbender gives an excellent, interesting portrayal of David the android, but most of the other actors didn’t really get a chance to flesh out their characters. The existential parts of the plot, while interesting, seem forced and unsatisfying, it just never reaches that point where the film really drives home an interesting, original concept.
Prometheus is a good film, and definitely worth a watch if you are any sort of a science fiction fan. It does not meet the lofty expectations but still brings enough of the table to leave the viewer thinking about the film afterwards. I am really hoping there is an extended Directors Cut that possibly develops out the plot and characters a little more completely, but until that happens, this film gets a mediocre review.
Disclaimer: I am a huge Ridley Scott fan, and my expectations were through the roof for this film.