AEOS Double Review: Prometheus and Rock of Ages

I suppose I couldn’t pick two more different movies to be reviewing together, but having seen both this past weekend and having each fresh in my mind, I decided to double up on this review.

Prometheus

Well, I think I’ll always be catching up on movies. I have never seen any of the Alien films until last Friday, when my best friend sat me down and said, “You have to at least see the first Alien before seeing Prometheus.” So we did just that — and I was amazed at how cool a sci-fi film could be made, even in the late 1970s. Sigourney Weaver was the sole survivor and hero of the film. I was a big fan.

So going into Prometheus, I felt slightly more prepared and that much more excited to be able to make comparisons or relate similar ideas and characters if need be. For one, let me just say that I was a big fan of the cast of Prometheus. Both Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace have been making names for themselves in the U.S., especially within the past couple years. Charlize Theron is still a pro at playing a cold character, and the others worked out their roles as any other nonessential supporting characters would.

Ridley Scott also brought us stunning visuals, which comes as no surprise to anyone who even caught a preview of the film. It really was a dazzling film to view on the big screen, especially the scenes within the caves.

There’s been a lot of hubbub and analyzing over all the open-endedness of the film. My personal take is that the questions were intentionally left open in order for audiences to discuss, arrive at their own conclusions, or just appreciate the complex beauty of the film and take it for what it is–pure science fiction at its core. Many have made comparisons to that of Tree of Life, or people give their own take from an atheistic or Christian perspective.

Yes, I’m a Christian, but I view the film from a fictional perspective. Perhaps if I had seen the other Alien films and revisit Prometheus a time or two, and read various articles on the film, I would give my own deeper explanation for my own lack of explanation and analyzation of the film. Sorry for anyone I might disappoint. The biggest movie comparison for me was Inception. Do I have your attention now? 🙂

The only comparison I make of the two films is that Inception also closes with an ending that is a question: did the top fall over, did it not? Was Cobb still dreaming?

In Prometheus, I’m thinking, did Shaw find her answers? I suppose she still chooses to believe in God when she puts the cross necklace back on, but she’s still searching. Will she find the answers she’s looking for? Will she survive long enough to find the answers? Are there even answers for her to find, given her limits as a human being?

The answer to all those questions is I don’t know. A gloriously blissful ignorant I DON’T KNOW. And I enjoy not knowing, because I think that’s the point of the open-ended questions that close the films. It’s an intentional choice on the end of the writers/directors to let the audience decide and arrive at their own conclusions.

Rock of Ages

On the complete other end of the movie genre spectrum is a little musical called the Rock of Ages. From many of the reviews I’ve read (and agree with), Rock of Ages can be summed up as a string of awesome ’80s music videos featuring some crazy big stars, from Tom Cruise and Catherine Zeta-Jones to Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand and newcomer Diego Boneta.

It was an average film at best. My biggest complaint is that I think Julianne Hough, who nailed her role, should stick to dancing instead of singing. This will sound petty to people who are less OCD than I am, but when you make a musical and the main role is sung by someone who’s voice is not only recognizable as highly edited throughout the film, but who clearly doesn’t possess the vocal range necessary to sing, and oftentimes, lead many of the huge vocal numbers, it’s frustrating as a viewer.

That being said, newbie Diego Boneta rocked the music and the role, and Tom Cruise was easily the most entertaining and best part of Rock of Ages. Some scenes with him are beyond funny, and make the film worth rental price just to watch him act like a rock star. I almost wish Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand would have had larger roles, because they were hilarious and enjoyable to watch interacting as well.

The problem with Adam Shankman’s latest musical wasn’t the casting or the acting, and certainly not the music selection, but the terrible screenplay. No doubt the story works better on stage than onscreen. I recently saw Jersey Boys at Broadway in Chicago, and I loved it. But I couldn’t imagine seeing a screen version of it turn out well. I assume it’s the same concept for stories like Rock of Ages.

What did you think of Prometheus? I’m open for discussion, so throw yourself out there if you have an opinion. Did you see Rock of Ages? Did you did the film, or were underwhelmed like me? Share your thoughts below!

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21 thoughts on “AEOS Double Review: Prometheus and Rock of Ages

  1. Yeah I liked the open ending of Prometheus but there was a lot of questions during it that I had that I felt needed clearing up. Some bits just didn’t quite make sense to me but I still enjoyed it a hell of a lot! Does this mean you’re going to watch Aliens next? It’s freaking awesome!

    Not at all looking forward to Rock of Ages. The trailer just doesn’t sell it to me. The music sounds cool and I like Brand and Baldwin but if you wished for bogger roles from them, I’m not going to rush to the cinema!

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    • Haha, that’s pretty much exactly how I felt, Pete – I really enjoyed it, but there were definitely several parts I didn’t quite “get.” Haha, yes, I hope so – that’s good news. I didn’t realize Ridley Scott didn’t direct Aliens, but that James Cameron did. That’s bizarre. I will have to let you know what I think kof it when I see it!

      Yeah, definitely rent Rock of Ages if you plan to see it. I’m a big fan of musicals, so it was right up my alley, but I was disappointed with the film.

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    • Ya know, Andy, usually I would agree with the “some who say” that because oftentimes, I get annoyed at an open end. I don’t feel like it works with many films. But with Prometheus, and it being a prequel and all somewhat, I feel like it really worked. I appreciated it!

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  2. Hi Kris, I think it’s cool that you picked two VERY different movies to review together 🙂 Well you know my thoughts on Prometheus. I share your worldview about God and Him being our creator, so on that front I find this movie to be intriguing. Of course it’s preposterous to think we were created by aliens, ahah, but hey it’s a sci-fi right, someone’s fantasy. I have more issues about the plot, not just the ending, and if we were to compare to Inception, I think that Nolan movie holds up much better because it’s not dealing with something so profound as human existential origins. With that said, I still enjoyed it for what it is and indeed the visuals are amazing!

    As for Rock of the Ages, I think I’ll save that for rental. I was initially looking forward to it, but with all kinds of new movies coming out now, I’m not that excited for it anymore. Btw, what do you think of the baboon as Cruise’s sidekick? 😀

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    • Thanks! And thank you so much for the linkage love on your post – sorry, I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been able to do much online besides tweet on occasion. I sincerely appreciate the shout out!

      It’s great to have a friend online here who shares the same worldview 🙂 Haha, yes, it IS quite preposterous, but that’s the point I share with you too – it’s science fiction. It’s fantasy. I wish more Christians could separate the two. I’ve known a lot of Christians who have problems with science fiction films, even Star Wars! My old high school science teacher was so offended with the idea of the “force” taking the place of God. Sigh. I wish more Christians could separate the two better.

      I would definitely agree that Inception’s ending holds up far better than Prometheus’s in terms of just an ending that really satisfying closes and wraps up the film. It was definitely consistent with the film as a whole. I would agree Prometheus has more holes – the difference for me going into it, I think, is that I have so little background knowledge/understanding of the whole Alien/Prometheus thing is lacking, so I went it thinking . . . “Prometheus, entertain me!” Usually I like to do a bit more research, or at least have a little knowledge of the book/comic/etc a film is based off of, but in this case, I’m kind of an ignorant dummy 🙂 I would agree with you on the visuals, though, definitely – I can’t imagine not seeing it on the big screen. Gorgeous!

      That’s a good call on Rock of Ages, Ruth 🙂 Yeah, there have been so many great films coming out this summer, especially this month (or is that just me?)! Oh my word – “Heyman,” the name of the baboon – absolutely HILARIOUS! Tom Cruise was stellar and so funny in the movie. Rent it just to see him being a rockstar. Loved him in it!

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  3. Prometheus had its problems, actually, very big problems but I was still entertained and I can only wonder what Scott has planned for the sequel. The sequel that I will not go see on opening day, like I already did for Prometheus. Rock of Ages was fun but nothing too entirely special, except for a kick-ass performance from Cruise. He’s always great, then again, that’s pretty much a given. Good reviews Kristin.

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    • Yeah, Dan, I would definitely agree – Prometheus had issues, but I had a pretty easy time overlooking them, especially given my lack of knowledge on the story of it all. I tend to wonder how many sequels/prequels/___quels are going to be in the “series” of Alien and Prometheus.

      I’m with you there 100% on Rock of Ages – Cruise was very kickass and easily the best part of the film in my opinion. *Places hand on Julianne Hough’s breast* – “You have such a perky . . . heart.” LOL! Yep, I haven’t seen Cruise in a film where he wasn’t great. Thanks, Dan!

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  4. Prometheus was one of those films that had so many hopes riding on it. I for one really enjoyed it. It does have a lot of questions and characters who do questionably stupid things, but overall, it’s a beautiful bit of space sci-fi, well crafted and has a fair bit of depth to it.

    I have no intention of seeing Rock of Ages. Well, if it’s on TV in a few years, but yeah… rather go see the stage version!

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    • I did as well! Haha, I would agree – a lot of the characters do some stupid things, and sometimes I feel like they have to make characters do that in order to move the plot along. Kind of annoying, but not difficult to overlook when you take into account the great performances and stunning visuals.

      Haha – not a big musical fan, I take it, Jaina? I love the music and Tom Cruise, so those were my reasons for seeing it! Although the stage version is currently running here in Chicago . . . maybe I should go see it and then compare? 🙂

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  5. Glad you enjoyed these films Kristin. As you know from my review of Prometheus, I felt the movie had a very poor script which really hampered what Scott was trying to convey. I realize that Scott, as a mere human, doesn’t have any real answer to the questions the movie raises but the poorly drawn characters and plethora of plot coincidences that exist only to advance the narrative, were disappointing to me.

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    • Yes, and believe it or not, Castor, I was actually pretty surprised at how much you didn’t enjoy Prometheus! Then again, I have a different set of eyes going in since I don’t know much about the whole story. I saw it for the mere sake of being entertained. I would wholly agree that the film had a number of plot issues/coincidences, and that the characters could have been better.

      I think it’s interesting to take the idea of science FICTION and surround it with real questions we humans ask. I believe, as a human, that you can have the answers – no, not in aliens, but have faith in God. But in terms of the film, I feel like Scott is asking questions within the sci-fi realm that will never actually have concrete answers, as opposed to asking questions in the REAL world.

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  6. While not destined to be anything more than distracting, Rock of Ages is actually kind of mesmerizing simply because of Cruise. He’s over-the-top but in a very reserved way. I guess taking a laugh at himself in Tropic Thunder was a start to his more off the wall roles.

    I wasn’t over the Moon about Prometheus, but it’s something that will take a little while, plot holes and ambiguous content not withstanding, to really catch on. Pity is that I liked it when I wanted to love it.

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    • I would completely agree with you there! I’m happy Cruise is taking on different types of roles. He was genuinely hilarious in the role.

      Ahh, I hate it when I go into film fully expecting to love it and end up “just liking” it. Sorry you didn’t dig Prometheus that much. I didn’t mind it so much, but I didn’t have great expectations for it either. Thanks for commenting!

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  7. I haven’t seen RoA, but from what I have seen trailer and so on, I think it was one that should have been left on the STAGE.

    Prometheus I liked more than most, but still it had flaws. I look forward to the Directors Cut!!

    Great work matey

    Sorry for my absence since Wednesday, I have been on a little holiday!!

    Back now.

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    • Scott, I think you’re definitely right in saying that it would be better left on stage than having joined the film world. Oh well! At least I got to see Tom Cruise be a hilarious rockstar.

      Ohh, there’s a director’s cut? I’ll be looking forward to that too then! Thanks for the heads up on that. Thanks – and no need to apologize; I’ve been way worse than most people in staying up to date. Welcome back!!

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  8. Hey Kristin, You should really check out Aliens when you get a chance. For my two cents that is the best film in the franchise. Not that Alien was not really great as well.
    What format did you watch Prometheus in? This was one of the few films that I thought the extra $ spent on 3D IMAX, especially when it was my brothers turn to pay. The spectacle of the the film was really something and I liked the cast and the overall themes of the film. The script itself, not so much in that, Lindelof consistantly relied upon crew stupiditiy to advance the plot.
    I have not seen Rock of Ages, but from the reviews I have read, yours among them, I think I will wait to check this out when it’s streaming at some point. I will go into the film expecting it to be a cheese fest.
    Enjoyed your double review format 🙂

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    • Hey there! I will definitely do that — I’ve certainly wanted to. Good to know! I will have to let you know what I think of it when I see it. I saw Prometheus just in a regular theater — no 3D or IMAX. I’m sure that was a smart move to see it like that, especially given how beautiful the visuals were!

      Yeah, there have been a lot of complaints about how the script moved forward because of stupid decisions on the parts of the characters. I would agree.

      I would definitely recommend waiting until Rock of Ages is a rental. Definitely a cheese fest, but entertaining nonetheless.

      Thanks!

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  9. Great reviews! I have no interest in seeing Rock of Ages but I absolutely loved Prometheus – I am a huge fan of Alien – I really hope the initial negative response will wind down and the movie will be appreciated because it really deserves to be, it’s one of the finest, most thought provoking sci fi movies I’ve seen.

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