A few years back my doppelgänger watched Ridley Scott’s 1979 hit film Alien at the behest of some SI readers.
Oh, what a disappointment it turned out to be.
Maybe, my doppelgänger was smarter than the rabble that went aah and ooh over the movie or perhaps its DNA is too warped to appreciate the Hollywood and Bollywood gems.
If you ask me, the answer’s more likely to be the former.
After watching countless films over the last seven years, my doppelgänger and I’ve reached the nirvanic beatitude that no movie should be made costing over a million dollars.
That way, you’re compelled to meticulously think through and rigorously map out every step of the movie-making process.
With the exception of Avatar (and even that only on the visual side), I’ve rarely ever been impressed by these mega-budget movies.
Big money is invariably the harbinger, nay the kiss of death for the art of storytelling in movies because gee-whiz trumps narrative.
Made on a lavish budget of about $120 million, Prometheus follows the same depressing trajectory, so much sound and fury but signifying little in the end.
Fire Rarely Burns Bright
After seeing the 3D version of Prometheus at a mid-Atlantic theatre this evening, all I could think of was Yogi Berra’s timeless quote, it’s déjà vu all over again.
Yet again, I found myself dejectedly trudging out into the bright sun of the parking lot at the end.
Set in the final decade of the 21st century, Prometheus has archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) along with a crew of 15 others embarking on a lengthy space-voyage to find the “Engineers” who created man and uncover the purpose.
Borrowing from Greek mythology of the legendary fire-stealing hero for its title, assembling a talented cast of the likes of Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender and helming the science fiction space voyage under the Ridley Scott, Prometheus promises extraordinary adventures, rare vistas and a grand spectacle.
Alas, the spectacle of the space journey to a distant planet and the aftermath does not live up to the promise and is anything but a thrill-ride.
The fire is mostly in the title.
Admittedly, there were a few moments, like when I saw those vase-like things or that snake-like creature in the dimly-lit cavernous structure, that made me tighten the grip on my pen but overall I felt little excitement and seldom an adrenaline rush.
Au contraire, what I felt more often was irritation.
Tell me, which bunch of Earthly explorers, after a years-long voyage on a trillion dollar space expedition, gets close to weird-looking, snake-like creatures in the dark on a distant planet muttering, Hey Baby, Hey Baby.
Only those with an insanely stupid desire to meet a quick gory end.
As the above silliness attests, Prometheus fumbles, and in a mighty big way, in the quality of its writing.
Too sloppy to deliver anything like edge-of-the-seat terror or gripping entertainment, the narrative never rises above the sub-mediocre.
The characters in Prometheus raise big questions like the who created us, where do we come from, what is our purpose, where do we go when we die blah blah blah.
But what follows these momentous queries is mundane, run-of-the-mill stuff built around hackneyed dialogs that ultimately collapses in a big let-down.
Hell, even the romance between the two ‘doctors’ on the spaceship Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway lacks fire.
When even an intimate sex scene lacks a spark, you wonder if it can get any worse.
Now if you want to vent your spleen, Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof are the cretinous duo that mangled up the script.
Not as visually arresting a la Avatar, Prometheus, even in 3D, is rarely ever compelling.
Be it inside the spaceship Prometheus, in the dimly-lit, huge structure on the distant planet, the initial dust storm or the final kamikaze attack on the alien spaceship, I was never blown away.
It’s hard to quibble about the choice of Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, who played Lisbeth Salander in the Millennium series, or Irish-German actor Michael Fassbender for the key roles in Prometheus.
Rapace and Fassbender (cast as the robot David) have earned their acting spurs and are deservedly hailed for the quality of their work.
Despite the mediocre script they have to plow through, Fassbender and Rapace do a creditable job.
If Rapace’s best moment in the film comes in the frantic turmoil and stress of the Cesarean surgery, Fassbender’s fine performance is evident all through the film.
Charlize Theron has a small role that does little credit to her stature.
Even if our protagonist Elizabeth’s decision at the end is surprising, the way it unfolds had as little pizazz as the 120-minutes that preceded it.
Prometheus, its grand title notwithstanding, is at the end a movie without fire.
$10 saved. Thanks!
I was planning on watching it this weekend.
I saw Contraband *ing Mark Wahlberg in the evening. Run of the mill thriller.
You write: I saw Contraband *ing Mark Wahlberg in the evening….
I saw Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya (Riteish Deshmukh, Genelia) on NFLX Instant last night….lost my sanity.
Well, I happened to catch I am Legend a few days back. But couldn’t watch it completely thanks to the wave of power cuts in TN.
Must have seen about 45 mins of the movie. Loved it. It’s showing again today. Hope I can watch it fully atleast today.
Will Smith is one of the best actors I’ve seen. A delight to watch on the screen.
Btw, have u seen Pursuit of Happyness? a damn slow movie but kept me engrossed till the end. Yet another powerful performance from Will.
Yes, seen Pursuit of Happyness on DVD.
Both Will and his kid did a nice job plus there was the offbeat story.
Listen to it from the mouth of Barry osbourne!
Will Viswaroopam finally take Indian cinema to Hollywood standards!!??
Ha ha ha ha.
Until 5-minutes back the 1.2 billion mosquitoes in India had not the foggiest idea who/what Barrie Osborne is and now he’s being trotted out as publiShitty for Vishwaroopam.
In my not-so-humble-opinion, a desperate Ulaga Madayan (Kamal Haasan) is behind all this publiShitty given the miserable fate of his last few outings.
Ulaga Madayan knows the fascination White skin holds for his dark-skinned Indian savages and how anything that drops from White lips is avidly lapped up as gospel by the natives.
Will all these publiShitty stunts work in Kamal’s favor?
Never underestimate the stupidity of Indians, particularly Tamils.
Troglodytes worshiping at the altar of Vijay, Ajith, Simbhu, Vombhu, Kombhu and Khushboo can easily turn any shit into a hit.
“Until 5-minutes back the 1.2 billion mosquitoes in India had not the foggiest idea who/what Barrie Osborne is and now he’s being trotted out as publiShitty for Vishwaroopam.”
As far as I’ve observed, no one gives a flying F about Barrie Osborne and his collaboration with Kamal..!! 😛
If it was for publicity, then it’s an EPIC FAIL.. 😛
well.. you should have watched ‘Aliens’, on par with T2 and helmed by Cameron.
Will watch soon…in the last few days watched three decent films Boy Wonder (a vigilante film), La Liste (French), Fire of Conscience (Cantonese) and one ugh movie Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya.
Ridley Scott made a mistake by attempting to morph two sub genres within the space faring theme- one dealing with “who are we?” type existential questions in the “2001: A Space Odyssey” mold and the other about meeting hostile aliens in… well, the “Alien” mold.
He should have stuck to the former (since he had already done the latter) and explored it a bit more. They are not too many films which have done that and in any case, who hasn’t sat on their thrones in the morning and asked themselves the biggest question of them all 🙂 ?
Btw, I would take vjcool’s advise and watch James Cameron’s “Aliens” at some point.
JC is at his peak here, before he convinced himself that movies should only be made on the grandest scale possible. While the special effects are very good- they are not overdone like today’s CGI porn- the strength of the movie lies in its story, character development and narrative.
But right now, I’m beri beri bijee with my Foster’s ale.
Terribly hot here! Only an ice-cold beer can provide relief. 😉
By the way if anyone is interested in “Who we are?” question then an answer is coming soon. It seems to be the subject of Kamal Haasan’s hollywood venture! 🙂
watch from 2:15 to 2:50
Watched your entire video.
I don’t for a moment believe that this Thirutu Lavadaikabal Kamal Hassan is capable of doing something ‘incredible’ or ‘irresistible.’
As I‘ve said on countless occasions, only by the lowly Indian standards is Kamal Hassan a film star/film maker of repute, on the global stage he’s a f*king joker.
Kamal Thirutu Lavadaikabal Haasan is engaging in a massive publiShitty stunt to drum up publiShitty for his Vishwaroopam.
But Indians are stupid f*cks and will swallow any shit!
Has SI seen “2001: A Space Odyssey”?
What is/was your opinion?
For a while I remained glued to the nothingness that was shown but beyond a point I found it intolerable.
No….the only thing we’re seeing right now is our legs moving of their own accord to the fridge for more liquor.
Candy is dandy, sweetie, but as Ogden Nash rightly said, liquor is quicker. 😉
Right now, watching Japanese move Sonatine on Netflix Instant.
I am really keen on SI’s opinion on Space Odyssey when you find time.
It was available in Netflix streaming when I had subscription. Read the user comments and then watch it.
Don’t blame me if you feel like jumping off a cliff after watching it. 🙂
Just searched NFLX for 2001 A Space Odyssey…not sure if it’s still available.
The search results throw up all kinds of shit.
Will try to watch it soon.
“No….the only thing we’re seeing right now is our legs moving of their own accord to the fridge for more liquor.”
I thought you had eliminated the old hag 😛 with extreme prejudice..!!!
Or is it a case of multiple personality??
Associative dissociative hyper-kinetic personality.
2001 Space Odyssey, is a must watch for the nothingness of the first hour and what was that of the ending.
This inspired the first 40 mins of Wall-E that had no spoken part.
I was impressed, but can’t say i understood anything of 2001 space odyssey.
But it made me watch ‘A clock work orange‘, that’s one good movie.
Yours ‘drunken’ truly is quarter-way through your recommendation – the Japanese movie Sonatine.
Not bad, so far.
thanx for Sonatine.
I’m on hyper recommendation spree once again and feel you’ll skip many and miss them till someone recommends again.
I think I’ll try to stop and wait to read your reviews and stuff and recommend later. The link above was a pleasant surprise and a beautiful film.
Yes, that’s Takashi Miike of ‘Audition’ but got nothing of the gore he’s famous for.