Pissing On The Promethean Bonfire


In the lead up to one of the big releases of the summer, JIM ROSS pisses on the Promethean bonfire

Are you excited about Prometheus? If not, why not?

A ridiculous marketing campaign has attempted to ensure that you are. Like most moviegoers, I’m looking forward to Ridley Scott’s return to a genre he helped define; I’ll be delivering my verdict on these pages very soon. But it’s worth keeping expectations in check. The name comes from the Titan who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to man. I would prefer to call it ‘sounding a note of caution’, but I’m now going to piss on that Promethean bonfire.

It’s worth remembering several things about the conception of Prometheus, its journey to the screen, and Scott’s own track record. To give a potential blueprint for Prometheus’s journey, let’s take Robin Hood – Scott’s 2010 take on the classic character starring Russell Crowe. In initial drafts of the script, titled Nottingham, Robin Hood was essentially to be the villain, – albeit a morally ambiguous one – with The Sheriff of Nottingham portrayed in a more endearing light. After numerous reworks and the hiring of Crowe, however, it eventually became a rather more traditional (and crap) take with an aging, grumpy and weirdly accented Hood.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9PNTIZeJzY

Why is this relevant? Prometheus has taken a similar route. It began life first as an Alien sequel, before abandonment in the wake of the Alien vs Predator sub-franchise. It then became a prequel, and finally seen as ‘parallel’ to the franchise. Why the muddle? Why the need to ride on the coattails of Scott’s previous successes? At times the team have been at pains to distance the film from Alien, so why have the association at all? Perhaps that is the only truly compelling thing it has to offer.

I have a theory that Ridley Scott makes one genuinely brilliant film a decade. In the 70s this was Alien; the 80s Blade Runner; the 90s Thelma & Louise; the 2000s Gladiator. This is more than thousands of directors will make in a lifetime, but in between we have some weapons-grade guff like A Good Year, Robin Hood and the simply dreadful Hannibal. It’s too early to tell if Prometheus will be his piece for this decade, but a number of these things make it sensible to keep expectations in check.

Damon Lindelof is the primary standard bearer for the writing of the script (even though the concept originates with Jon Spaihts, a writer with little track record). It is worth remembering that LOST was a show that disappeared up its pompous metaphysical arse quite early in its run. Although some of the best sci-fi comes from creators ‘pompously’ pondering on the grand themes and the human condition (2001, Scott’s own Blade Runner, Solaris), Lindelof’s previous swishes of the sci-fi pen gave us last year’s Cowboys & Aliens – a turgid CGI bore of a film, and hardly thematically consistent.

Do not read this as judging the film before I’ve clapped eyes on it – it is quite the opposite. With the numerous trailers, viral marketing and hype, Prometheus has become an ‘event’ movie. I want to like it, I hope to love it, but there is little reason to believe the publicity fire ignited by Prometheus is anything more than a flash in the pan.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWmbqH_z7jM

  • letsgotonarnia

    I do a few market research surveys, and I had to review the Prometheus proposed trailer. There were LOTS of questions asking whether I would be more inclined to see the film if it was considered part of the Alien franchise, and how the movie should fit in. Seems they couldn't decide what kind of beast it should be either.

  • David

    just don't diss prometheus

  • some bonfire?

    No one actually cares about Prometheus.

    • yes, a big one

      Do you live on planet earth? The cinemas are fucking packed out. If you go more than once a decade you want to see this film.

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