This review will contain spoilers. You've been warned.
I saw this movie in theatres last night. Over all it was very entertaining. Visually it's a very stunning film. Plot-wise though, there are several holes I would like to address. There are also a couple elements of misogyny I'd like to address.
First I'll start with the good. The movie was well cast. Michael Fassbender plays an excellent role as the android David. Its setting in the year 2093 is also pretty convincing, although IMO the creators were a little too optimistic about humanity's future -- but I digress. It tied ancient mythos about the 'engineers' (that fossilized alien pilot from the first movie, also known as "Space Jockeys") into the movie, as well as a sense of proportion about humanity's place in the time line of creation. It built a lot of anticipation about the crew's arrival at LV-223, as it could answer a lot of questions about humanity's existence. In short, the beginning created a sense of awe and wonder.
My problems with this movie are numerous though...
They made the Engineers evil. Seriously? After showing us the map of the galaxy and all of the planets that the Engineers seeded with life (including Earth), the producers turned around and made the first living Engineer/Human interaction involve a killing spree? Surely a civilization so advanced would be a tad more enlightened, and less hasty than that? Not to mention, the cave drawings on earth portrayed positive interactions with humans in the past. This was a big contradiction in the plot.
Next... the crew is filled with incompetent idiots who can't even be called scientists. I think of the kind of training, preparation (psychological, physical, academic, etc.) that scientists have to go through just to go to the International Space Station, and then I look at the team on Prometheus. Most of them don't even seem to KNOW one another. So... were they just put into cryo-sleep without an introduction or something? The hierarchy of this "one trillion dollar operation" is loosely established. People frequently disobey orders, complain, and are mouthy, even as they are setting foot into alien ruins for the first time in human history. The part where one of the scientists calls a live worm-alien that emerged from stasis "cute" and tries to pet it, but is then attacked and implanted, is probably the height of the stupidity in this film.
The one person of colour on the cast drives the ship, and is crude. There are some Asians in the cockpit too, but only the white smart folk get to leave the ship and explore ruins. I'm surprised they didn't make the one black guy have a ghettofabulous tone on top of it. He does little but sit around the whole movie, making crude comments, and self-identifies as the muscle behind the operation. In other words, not a real thinker. Although they did make him a kamikaze hero at the end which is something, I suppose.
The most intense sub-plot in the movie is the alien impregnation of Elizabeth Shaw. Almost simultaneously lamenting over her infertility and showing emotional torment about it, she gets a sexually transmitted infection from her husband who was infected with alien proto-life goop. Yes, that's right, they did it again... used a woman's uterus to make a point. She demands an abortion but they won't give her one, claiming insufficient medical facilities (meanwhile they can do research on alien civilizations? I don't get it).
For those who've seen it... remember that medical life pod the captain has stashed in her quarters? Ok, so why does the life pod tell Shaw that she can't have a c-section because the medical pod is not "configured to female anatomy". I guess that means the company fucked over the captain too when they gave it to her for personal use -- oops! So shaw opts to select the option for "foreign body removal" and it slices through her uterus, pulling out an alien tentacle baby. Keep in mind that the tentacle baby is a primitive version of the face sucker, so being trapped in the life pod with it was the equivalent to being threatened with impregnation AGAIN after just having aborted one. Alien pregnancy is such an overdone trope, but this portrayal was particularly grusome and victimizing on every level, repeating the rape aspect several times over. Thanks Ridley Scott.
I give this movie 3/5 /
A lot of reviewers are singing this movie's praises but I feel it came up short. It repeated a lot of the same character tropes of the other films while adding some new grotesque elements to them, it totally obliterated any hope that the Engineers would care about their human creations, and it left us with more questions than it really answered. The creation of the alien environment and ancient ruins were top notch, but the plot was poorly developed. Not enough focus was given to individual characters aside from building them up to knock them down, which made me not really care when most of them died.
Worth seeing, but the pre-production hopes were too high.