Friday, June 8, 2012


Dir. Ridley Scott (2012)

A team of explorers journey to a distant planet where they hope to unlock the secrets to the origins of mankind. It is not long after they arrive when they discover more than they had hoped; leading to a horrifying realization forcing them to fight for not only their own survival but for that of the entire human race. 

Director Ridley Scott who is of course most famous for giving us the terrifying deep space masterpiece Alien, delivers an ultra modern, thought provoking, science fiction epic. There is no denying that the long unanswered question of where we came from is nothing short of fascinating and makes for brilliant subject matter; which is what had hooked me into seeing this film since first hearing about it last year. While watching the film I felt a great sense of intrigue that remained consistent throughout most of the film. The overall vibe of Prometheus is extremely unsettling, especially the scenes inside the labyrinth like alien structure. It felt so hostile way before it even became evident. 

The plot is kind of erratic; it’s not hard to follow but it goes in multiple directions far too quickly. It also raises more questions than it actually answers which many may view as a negative but for me I found it to be simply more food for thought, it’s stimulating. I like to speculate and I think it’s important to leave some things to the imagination. There are some very intense moments throughout the film which is real edge of your seat stuff. One scene, let’s call it the “surgery” was just crazy, I was actually starting to twitch because I was so nervous. 

The viral campaign leading up to the release of Prometheus has been massive to say the least. There have been countless trailers, TV spots and a number of viral video clips, none of which actually appear in the film. This promotional blitz has undeniably worked in the film’s favour but I think it also has been a little misleading; giving many people, myself included the impression that it’s an all out prequel to the original Alien. There is an obvious strong connection between the two films but Prometheus clearly sets out to be a stand alone film, which it manages to do quite well.

Quite a few characters are not very likeable at all. There wasn’t a whole lot of dimension to them and there is a clear lack of development. Much to my relief my least favourite character was killed off quite early. I felt that they were just your generic scientist type characters with that same old vocabulary, that observant, curious nature and the lack of any real personality.

Performances however are overall very good. Noomi Rapace is very strong in the lead role as archaeologist Elizabeth Shaw. Charlize Theron is very restrained as the mission director and corporate bitch Meredith Vickers; and of course Michael Fassbender as the very human-like robot David who is outstanding, he’s steals the show. Fassbender is truly a phenomenal actor. I’ve heard a lot of people say that his performance is very creepy but I personally found him to be very pleasant despite a couple of negative elements to his character. Other supporting cast include Logan Marshall-Green, Idris Elba and a make-up heavy Guy Pearce who are all very good.

Art design and visual effects are very impressive; we would expect nothing less from a film by Ridley Scott. The sets on board the space craft are very detailed and not overly futuristic. The alien sets have that very mechanical, organic and grotesque look much like the original Alien film, there is almost a haunting beauty about them.
The use of CGI in Prometheus is so good it’s difficult to tell when it begins and ends.
It’s a near seamless visual spectacle on a grand scale.

The cinematography to me is one of the film’s strong points; it captures and very much enhances the overall tone of the film. The many wide panning shots of the dull desolate alien landscape create great sense of isolation, you feel almost stranded. Scott wanted to shoot the film in 3D to enhance the sense of depth which it does tremendously, however I don’t think it’s really necessary to see Prometheus in 3D. It is a visually spectacular treat for the eyes, but I think it would still have most of the desired effect without it. Plus the 3D effect didn’t hold up well for me; after about 40 minutes I failed to even notice it. However it could be just me not being very physically compatible with the 3D technology. It’s a tricky one to call sometimes as we are all different. 

Prometheus isn’t the masterpiece a lot of us were hoping for but it’s an intelligent, entertaining, frightening and visual impressive contribution to the genre of science fiction. And a film that simply must be seen on the big screen to experience its full effect and sheer scale. I’m very much looking forward to seeing it again upon its eventual release on Blu-ray which I have no doubt will be a must own title for us film fanatics. 4/5

1 comment:

  1. The promotion for this film made it look freakin’ awesome but also, a lot like Alien and I think that’s the big problem with the film. It’s pretty much the same formula used over again and even though Scott tries his hardest to get our heads past that, it’s too obvious, too quick. Good review Kevin.