Were expectations too high for Prometheus?

Posted by David Konow

Now that we’re in the new year, there are movie lists up everywhere, including here at TG, of the best, worst, most over-rated and under-rated genre flicks of 2012.

There have also been several lists of the biggest let downs of the year, and Prometheus made several of those lists.

 
Of course, expectations for it may have been far too high. It was Ridley Scott’s first trip back to science fiction since Blade Runner, and he was returning to the world of Alien, or an Alien-inspired world. Nobody was sure before the movie came out, and there was a lot of anticipation waiting to find out. 
 
First Cinema Blend listed Prometheus one of their big let downs of the year, along with Dark Shadows, Brave, John Carter, Flight, which got rave reviews, Looper, which many consider one of the most under-rated films of the year, and Les Miserables.

As Blend notes, "Prometheus was meant to be one of the best movies of the year…but what we got was simply a beautiful disaster. Unlike some of the other titles on this list that have a laundry list of major issues, this entry could have worked if it weren’t for the Swiss cheese-like script…At the end of the day most of the movie doesn’t make any sense and is so idled with plot holes that all the stuff that does seem clear ends up getting muddled." 

 

Veteran film critic Todd McCarthy also listed Prometheus on his "Most Disappointing Films of 2012" in the Hollywood Reporter. McCarthy made it clear that there are movies that are just too awful to watch, “Then there are the likes of John Carter, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Red Tails, Red Dawn which everyone can point ot as misfires but are closer to being just misguided or dull than truly and unforgivably awful.” 

 
McCarthy continues that Prometheus “is certainly watchable and intriguing for a while on first viewing but the deficits of which become blatantly clear on a second look…Expectations were monumental due to its predecessors and the three decades that had past since the director’s last trip to the future, so Scott faced long odds going in that he could match or top himself. You could sense the air running out of the tank as you watched.” 
 
In all fairness, in recent film rankings, we also saw the biggest movie of the year, The Avengers, up for the “Most Overrated Movie of 2012” poll at the L.A. Times. Whatever the critics and net pundits feel, Prometheus definitely has its fans, and it did well enough that there’s still great interest in getting the sequel up and running at Fox. Where Ridley Scott could take the world of Prometheus from here remains to be seen, and we’ll have to see down the road how audiences react to the film. 
 
As screenwriter / director Andrew Niccol (The Truman Show, The Host), has said, the real reviews for movies come out five to ten years after they’re first released, so it will be interesting to see if Prometheus becomes a true classic down the line that was mis-understood at first, a la The Shining.