I have been thinking about Prometheus off and on since I saw it with the Book God, Silvery Dude and his Good Lady Wife on a double date (if old married people can have such a think) at the beginning of June. I am going to try to set down what I think about it without spoiling it for people who haven’t seen it and still want to (though I would expect that most people with any interest in this film will have seen it or taken a view that they will never watched it based on the stuff they are picking up on Twitter or blogs like this one.

What I will say up front is that my view has probably mellowed in the three months since I saw it, and that I can acknowledge its shortcomings without it detracting from what was in many ways a beautiful and compelling film. What it wasn’t really was an Alien movie.

I suspect that a lot of people went into Prometheus with high expectations that its possible could never have been delivered. I’ve seen and enjoyed all four Alien films and enjoyed them to varying degrees and will say upfront that although it seemed that this was going to be a prequel and I didn’t expect anything other than that this would be an exciting film.

Top level view from me – much to enjoy but major narrative problems.

I like to think that I am reasonably intelligent and over many years of going to the movies am reasonably cine-literate. But there were bits of this film where I simply didn’t understand what on earth they were getting at.

And there were some things that really jarred with me – potential spoilers ahead:

  • Lawrence of Arabia – what was that all about?
  • Was that Earth at the beginning or somewhere else entirely?
  • If they were such experienced and intelligent scientists why on earth did they TAKE THEIR HELMETS OFF? (I was actually screaming this silently to myself during that scene – if I had been watching this at home I think I would definitely have been shouting out loud)
  • You are a biologist of sufficient standing that you have been invited to take part in one of the world’s greatest space expeditions; why do you then, when confronted with a living specimen you have never seen before STICK YOUR HAND OUT?
  • Why didn’t Charlize just roll out of the way?

On the plus side, Michael Fassbender was remarkable as the android David, and the casual bigotry towards him but at least one of the other crew members actually struck me as being quite realistic. And if I had to pick one of the crew to trust with my life it would be Idris Elba who is the only sensible person on the whole ship.

And the whole issue around Noomi Rapace’s testing of her faith was badly handled and actually dismissed in quite a perfunctory way. It was almost as if  the writers didn’t quite know where to go with it. Or maybe I just didn’t understand, again.

I don’t think I’ve seen a film in recent years that has ignited quite so much debate and disappointment. As I said earlier I don’t have the level of  almost betrayal that some friends have felt but I think this could have been a great film if the stuff the writer and director are explaining to us all in interviews now had actually been built into the film in a more accessible way.

And I haven’t even touched on any of the yucky bits.

I don’t know whether to watch it again (in the hopes I get more out of it on a second viewing) or not. But I do think this was a real missed opportunity.