I think that Prometheus is the type of movie that sci-fi junkies will love and debate for a long time to come. There are giant ideas thrown out there. The problem is that we are left with more questions than answers.
Prometheus takes place about 80 years in the future. A team of scientists discover a star chart of sorts on earth, and believe it’s a sign to come and find the makers of humankind. They find something gigantic and amazing in scope and in discovery.
They find beings (called Engineers) that seem to match our DNA. But did they actually make humans? They seem like us, minus a tan and 50 years of fast food exposure. They also find that it's probably a good idea to take weapons with you on an alien planet. I found the surgery machine that operates like the coin operated claw game at the arcade to be my favorite discovery.
We eventually find out that Prometheus appears to be the prequel to Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise, which is fine. They’re not reinventing the story and adding floppy eared creatures that sound like they’re from Jamaica. Prometheus only adds depth to the mythos.
What I think was missing was the fright factor. 1979’s Alien had it right. A scary thing attaches to your face. Later it jumps out of the shadows to eat you. The potential threat to humankind was there in Prometheus. That audience terror was lacking.
The film does allow the mind to wonder about what all of these encounters mean. That's mostly because there's not a lot of explanation of them. It's just story driven by the human desire to ask questions.
Careful, spoilers ahead:
To get extra nerdy and critical, here’s what I choose to pick apart.
1. Why would the Engineers create humans, only to want to destroy them? Seems like waste of time.
2. Android technology in the original 1979 Alien seemed sketchy. That film took place in 2122. Prometheus takes place around 2090. The androids here seem to be operating fine, even contemplating complex human emotions like freedom. Did we take a step backwards in their tech?
3. Where was the DVR? While two crew members have to fend for themselves, the captain takes an, ahem, “break” with Charlize Theron. While they meet a horrible fate, with video cameras entact, the captain returns and wonders what happened to the two guys. Well…check the tape!
While hordes of acid-reflux inducing questions are asked, few answers are given. That left me with a bit of an empty feeling, like I just watched a setup for the next Prometheus film.
It's OK to tell a story from beginning to end in one film.