Director: Ridley Scott
Genre: 3D, Horror, Thriller, Sci-Fi,
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Rafe Spall and Michael Fassbender
Review by: Allan
“In space no-one can hear you make a very obvious film reference.”
Upon discovering a series of ancient symbols that apparently offer an open invitation to anyone that decrypts the code, a group of scientists led by Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) and financed by Peter Weyland (Pearce) head out for a two year long trip to the far end of the universe in search of answers. While the crew are cryogenically sleeping on their long journey David (Fassbender), a synthetic human, ensures their slumber is a peaceful one inbetween watching Lawrence of Arabia and doing his hair. When the ship reaches its destination they search the ruins of an ancient society and uncover long lost secrets that may hold the key to humanities creation and possibly its end.
Prometheus is a film about faith. Whether it is a belief in a higher power, a supreme creator, a scientific solution or the hope that this film will be even close to as tense a horror film as Alien. It has delusions of big question asking in the midst of a standard sci-fi B-movie plot. But aside from a sprinkling of references throughout and a tacked on ending there is really very little tying this flick to the universe featuring the legendary Xenomorphs.
It is evident that at its core this is a stand-alone film with Space Jockey’s, Weyland, duplicitous androids and Giger influenced images added during the numerous re-drafts. With a pre-existing fan-base and a desire to reinvigorate a stagnant franchise it makes sense for Scott to use the same world he so brilliantly created way back when. There is a reality to the film that is beautiful, believable but sadly by the final act becomes pedestrian and boring.
So taken on its own merits the movie has many visual strengths, but the unfocused story results in a half excellent, half ludicrous movie that is neither scary nor interesting enough. How many films have featured characters walking down mysterious darkened corridors only for bad stuff to happen to them the moment they sit back and relax? Far too many to mention probably and not all of them feature red Star Trek uniforms. One would have hoped the co-creator of Lost might have come up with a variation on the well worn concept but when a film reminds you of AvP that cannot be a good thing! The arrival of genetically modified beasties is a half hearted attempt at returning the movie to its haunted house in space origins and most criminally of all it stops feeling like a Ridley Scott epic.
Fassbender is unsurprisingly the real highlight and outside of the production values and nicely shot set-pieces the best reason to watch this film. His performance as the emotionless but single minded automaton adds an element of mystery to the already confused tale. Ice queen Meredith Vickers (Theron) is a different take on Aliens’ company man working to their own agenda seeing dollar signs where morality should be she spends most of her time standing in the shadows when she isn’t busy running for her life.
With a cast mostly (…mostly) filled with a bunch of doomed from the outset characters (Spall and company) designed to occasionally move the plot a smidge further before getting killed by death it is hard to care for anyone other than the leading lady. Not anywhere close to a Ripley-esque heroine, Rapace’s standout moment is a slightly gruesome piece of self surgery which adds a neat twist to the creation of the acid for blood creatures.
Ultimatley by the films end it is hard not to be underwhelmed by the entire experience. It actually harms what has been established in the pre-existing movie universe and fails to enhance it (see also The Phantom Menace). Leaps in logic, gaping plot holes, terrible old age make-up and bad storytelling come as a slight surprise from the creative minds behind Blade Runner and The Darkest Hour.
In conclusion, a vast improvement on the stupid AvP flicks, Prometheus will simultaneously entertain and irritate every fan of the Alien Saga and will probably motivate you to revisit atleast the first two flicks. In addition like all his other works the director’s cut of this should be significantly better.