I’m’a attempt to make this shorter than my usual. Just want to get a theory out there.
I sawPrometheusrecently. I thought it was okay. Grade of C, by way of a mix of A- and D-. I thought it was admirable for reaching for lofty ideas, was gorgeous to watch, but overreached some in its themes, and – my main mark against it – often forced its characters to act like plot devices, doing utterly stupid and unbelievable things (I won’t spoil it) just to move the story where the writers wanted. (GO LEFT, CHARLIZE!)
Other people who have seen it have liked it. Even liked it a lot. This article describes the breadth of reactions pretty well (although it’s clearly biased in favor, and can’t comprehend someone finding the themes to be cliched and poorly realized.)
Anyways. My theory is: how much you are able to like, and follow a story, even when its characters act stupid, inhuman or unrealistically, depends on your ability to forgive.
You can watch a typical character in a horror movie, who explores the basement instead of calling the cops when the killer has just killed three people in front of them, and have a reaction somewhere between two extremes:
1) People don’t act like that! That’s an unbelievable level of stupidity! I can’t buy this as anything but shlock cheese, if that!
2) Oh no! Not the basement! Oh god, you’re going to get hurt! NOOO!
Neither one is inherently better than the other in any way. For people who react on the 1) end of the extreme – call them Demandists – you can say in their favor that they demand the characters they see to behave in a reasonable consistent and natural way, instead of just being moved around like pawns to make plot elements happen. They want a higher standard.
For people who react on the 2) end of the extreme – call them Acceptists – you can say in their favor that they don’t make judgments of onscreen behavior or second-guess what they see go on. Those actors, playing those characters, they did those things. They went in that basement, they got lost in that pyramid. It happened, it was right there on screen. Accept it and go with it. It’s silly to wish it was another way when you just saw what happened.
Thus, when it comes to Prometheus, I think a high level of forgiveness is required to enjoy it. The film tests the Demandist’s suspension of disbelief hard. But if you’re an Acceptist, it has plenty to offer around the margins.
Neither way is better. It’s just a matter of how you’re wired.