Because from the opening sequence’s mystery through the explosive final clash via enormous faces, shifting murals and star maps Prometheus is a feast of pure spectacle. Not deafening bombast like the risible Transformers series but a world that the audience can get lost in. It’s to his great credit that Ridley Scott insisted on using physical sets and location work wherever possible. No CGI could create the same sense of space inside the ‘face room’ or the sinister beauty of the waterfall. Similar to the Nostromo (the spaceship from Alien) the Prometheus itself feels like a real ship with geography and function. When David walks around it alone, we feel how he is connected to it and see that this is where he is happiest; before all those pesky humans woke up.
David is, of course, the other great reason to watch Prometheus. Michael Fassbender acts like he is in a completely different film; when he acts with unclear motivation he sells it so well that it seems consistent rather than bad writing. Each line of dialogue coming out of his mouth feels nuanced and precise as opposed to the blunt, on-the-nose speeches of his human crewmates. The most satisfying aspect of the film is undoubtedly David’s attempts to discover what it is to be human, in that respect Prometheus perhaps has more in common with Scott’s other great science fiction film Blade Runner.
I’ve spoken to people who can’t watch a film unless it has a compelling plot and sparkling dialogue. How great was the plot and dialogue in 2001? When I first saw Kubrick’s epic it was on a tiny portable TV and I was bored out of my mind. Come the cinematic re-release I was dragged to watch it in the cinema and was transfixed, completely absorbed by its power. Prometheus isn’t on that level or even near but it has the same sense of transportation and, with Michael Fassbender’s David, an artificial intelligence far more intriguing than any of the flesh and blood characters.
So see it in the cinema, maybe with a set or earplugs (the dialogue is appalling) and enjoy the most literally awesome blockbuster for decades.