In this week’s column, I’m going to do something that few men have ever attempted. I’m going to follow in the footsteps of The Glenn (http://uberfriendship.com/wednesdaysglennsdays/3200). I want to discuss Prometheus, the recent Ridley Scott Alien prequel.
I didn’t think that any movie would be able to match the pre-release internet buzz of The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers, but Prometheus damn near did it. It had a cool cast, a legendary director, and a campaign that only hinted at the ties to Alien. They also had some of the best viral promotional videos I’ve ever seen. (Particularly the one advertising the David Android http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaJD8cGfZCQ.) Everything about it was definitely intriguing, but there was always the fear that it would be a by-the-numbers sci-fi action film like Danny Boyle’s Sunshine.
When I went to see it, though, I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, it had some flaws. Why did were the biologist and geologist so unabashedly stupid? Why did the two people running from the giant object rolling at them in a straight line never try to dodge? What’s the deal with the casting of Patrick Wilson and Guy Pearce? But, the one thing it did very well was to leave a lot of plot questions unanswered.
Some people have seen this as a flaw, but I think it’s what saved the movie from being a total mess. Stuff like, why does the black goo affect different people differently? Why do the ‘Engineers’ do all the stuff they do? Why is David such a dick? Is David a dick? I’ve seen the movie twice now with different people each time. Afterwards, we discussed what happened for at least an hour. When I run into people who have seen it, we have our own little discussions about what this and that meant. So, whether the movie is good or not, I like it purely on the level that it gives the audience something to talk about.
Take The Avengers, for example. Don’t get me wrong – I love me some Avengers. It’s a great movie and I will watch it again and again. But, I did not leave the theatre arguing about what Loki’s motivations were. Or, if Iron Man is really as smart as he seems. No, all said was, “I loved it when Thor and Hulk fought,” or “Wasn’t that Galaga joke funny?” And the discussion ended there.
Even The Dark Knight, probably the most intelligent super-hero movie ever made, doesn’t provoke a heck of a lot of discussion. Sure, there are some interesting questions about privacy and terrorism, but they are mostly subtextual. The movie wraps up pretty neatly, and the biggest question you’re left with is, “How long is The Joker’s prison sentence going to be?”
The thing is, if Prometheus had spelled everything out to the audience I think it could have only lead to more disappointment. Instead of websites overflowing with theories on what this or that means, you’d just have a lot of gripping about how simplistic everything is. This way, everyone makes up their own answers and if they don’t like them they have only themselves to blame.
And so ends another Graham’s Grumbles. I’m sorry if this one was a little light on details, but I was trying to avoid spoilers ‘cause I know some people who are going to read this without having seen the movie first. To them I say, “Go see it! We can grab a beer afterwards and try and figure this shit out!”
Graham Becksted’s biggest question is about Elizabeth Shaw’s nationality. Is she supposed to be British or what? He is the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 67th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.