I went to see Prometheus last night. Absolutely stunning design. I particularly liked the use of yellows. No, seriously!
But it was slightly let down by some other factors which I always find amazing once you compare the different elements.
I mean why spend gazillions on set design and special fx, and get them so stunningly brilliant and perfect, and then cast an archaeologist who’s enough of a douchebag, to really detract from the whole movie’s authenticity? I could all too easily picture this guy being smarmy at Hollywood after-parties, not chiseling away at rocks in the middle of nowhere.
So here’s the thing. WHY pay so little attention to casting and such fine attention to design? They might as well have a cabbage pop up for the flight controls instead of a nicely designed control panel. That’s the design equivalent of some of the casting.
If they had a douche playing Deckard, or a bimbo type playing Ripley, both Bladerunner and Alien would have been completely different movies.
You know that other sci-fi classic The Thing? One of the things I loved about it was the casting of a bunch of old guys, who were quite plausible as weather-beaten arctic scientists. I can remember saying to someone years ago. “I guarantee you if they remade The Thing, they’d cast young pretty things, and it’d be total pants“. And then they fucking well did it! A cast of pretty young things, and by all accounts, it’s pants.
That’s all casting seems to be these days: the gathering young pretty things. “Come to me my pretty, Mwahahahahahahaha“.
The plot, dialogue and script in Prometheus have some issues as well (Ok I’ll say it: the religious guff is a fucking joke, gimme a break) but not quite as distracting as the main casting. Though Fassbender was perfect, as were some of the minor characters. Even less excuses to fuck around with the other casting.
But here’s another one. WHY have Guy Pearce made up to look like and old guy, and looking exactly like Biff from back to the future? There’s good reason to have a young guy made up as an old guy in Back To The Future (tip: he also had to play a young guy) but no good reason in Prometheus. Just cast a fucking old guy!
Anyway, all that aside – it’s still well worth seeing, and worth seeing on a big screen.
p.s. I thought the same about Lord of the Rings. But the issue with that wasn’t the cast, but the utterly dire and sickly twee soundtrack which all but ruined it.
p.p.s. You know this issues with the plot? See this brilliant video asking all the right questions:
p.p.p.s In retrospect I think a much better dialogue may have hidden the bad casting a lot better.