Questions will be answered! That’s what the Prometheus Blu-ray box promises. If you want real answers to some of the more ambiguous elements of the film, you have to slip past the deleted and alternate scenes and dig deeper by listening to the commentary tracks, one by director Ridley Scott, the other by screenwriters Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. In those tracks you’ll hear the filmmakers discuss scenes that were written and not shot, scenes that provided more insight to the characters and their motivations. That’s where the answers are. However, knowing that raises another question altogether: Since most commentary tracks are recorded soon after the film is complete (in order to meet the quick turnaround between theatrical and home video release), it’s likely that Scott, Spaihts and Lindelof recorded their thoughts before the film was even in theaters. If that’s the case, they obviously knew, long before the audience did, that there were holes in their story. Why didn’t they fix them back when they had the chance? Now there’s one question I’d like an answer to.
Prometheus is one of those movies that frustrated me. On the one hand, it’s a gorgeous looking movie, shot in gorgeous 3D (though it still looks fantastic in 2D). Everything about the production value is immaculate, as you’d expect from Scott. I don’t even have a problem with Guy Pearce’s make-up effects, a gripe I heard many times when I spoke to people about Prometheus. Every single actor in the film is excellent, making this one of the best acted movies of the year. Noomi Rapace is remarkable, and Michael Fassbender continues his string of brilliant character work. Know what I’d like to see? Rapace and Fassbender together in a drama, just the two of them. I digress. Even the smaller roles, filled by the likes of Idris Elba and Logan Marshall-Green, are well done. The effects are top notch, as is the incredible score by Marc Streitenfeld.
What bothered me Prometheus is the inconsistency of the script. Oh, I know it’s science fiction, so the story of a crew of scientists traveling to a distant planet to find out if another race of beings has been beckoning mankind doesn’t have to be one hundred percent plausible. But Scott and his screenwriters spend a respectable amount of time grounding the characters and their actions in reality. Rapace is no Schwarzenegger super heroine. She’s tough, yes, but when she has barely left an operating table after an emergency c-section and is quick to don a space suit and do some more exploring, I didn’t buy it, no matter how good future pain killers may be. And what about that operating scene? Was there any real point to Rapace getting impregnated, other than to have the alien baby moment?
Marshall-Green’s character, Charlie, pouting and getting drunk because, despite making the discovery of the century, the engineer body they’ve uncovered isn’t alive. Really? That’s how a scientist reacts? Sex plays a part in the serious captain of the ship, played by Elba, a man who never leaves his deck, suddenly deciding he’s going to go get laid by Charlize Theron’s ice cold could be android. Down on the planet, two stranded men wait to return to the ship. Wouldn’t you just know it that at the exact moment Elba’s getting laid, all hell breaks loose on the planet?
Like many people, I wanted to like Prometheus more than I did. I was let down, and yet, I thought about the film regularly and discussed it with my friends for weeks after seeing it. Not to bitch, but to mull over the big questions posed by the filmmakers: Where do we come from and are we alone in the universe? Thought provoking questions you don’t normally find in a summer blockbuster. I guess that’s why the film frustrates me so much. This film made me think, even though parts are the movie were dumb as a brick.
Is a film a failure if so many of its elements work and it still has you thinking about it weeks, even months afterwards? I suppose it can’t be called a failure. However, I would call it a disappointment.
The Blu-ray features are excellent on the film. Besides the commentaries, there are many deleted scenes. Additionally, the bonus “Peter Weyland Files” promo videos that were shot and released on the Internet are included. These two to five minute short teasers are in some ways more provocative than Prometheus.