Prometheus – Film review
STARRING: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Logan Marshall-Green, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce
DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott
STUDIOS: Scott Free Productions, Brandywine Productions
RUN TIME: 124 min
RELEASED: June 8, 2012
By Stephen McCarthy
Staff Writer, Evil Genius
Prometheus is the long awaited prequel to Ridley Scott’s Alien. But somewhere along the path of development, it broke free and now the only connections to the original are in references such as the corporation Weyland Industries. So if Prometheus is not truly an Alien prequel then what is it? The answer seems to be that it doesn’t know what it exactly wants to be and lacks focus.
The story begins just as the trailers have shown. A pair of archeologists, Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway (Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green) discover an ancient cave drawing that point to the stars. Before you know it we are on the space research vessel Prometheus journeying through the emptiness of space. The goal of this expedition is to attempt to meet those who may have had a hand in creating life on Earth, and to discover the questions as to ask many questions one would ask their creator.
Before we know it, the crew wakes up. We get the mission laid out for us and we are exploring ancient ruins and a distant planet and this all seems to happen way too quickly. At this point, he crew has barely been introduced. There are so many of them that it is all of bit of a mess. We get to know all the main characters well enough as things move on. But before we know it we get thrown out into the world before we can capture our breath.
Add to this that some horror tropes come into play such as people leaving the group, and you know nothing good can come from this. This is also what I mean when I say the movie lacks focus. It doesn’t really want to be a horror movie like Alien. It wants to be an epic science fiction story about the discovery and purpose of existence more like 2001 or Blade Runner. For the most part it is the latter. But it never fully succeeds in accomplishing that goal due to its lack of focus.
It is even more evident that it wants to be that sort of movie with the sorts of parallels that the android David provides. Humanity is searching for answers from their creator, but we have already created life with this android. Are the whys really so different? David is played Michael Fassbender, and he steals the show. His performance is perfectly unsettling. Just when you think he is acting human he acts or reacts in an eerily unnatural way. It is as if the humanity has overcome the uncanny valley in terms of looks but there is still a great valley in terms of personality.
This is to say nothing of the incredible visuals and attention to detail within this film. The space suits, the alien atmosphere, the holographic technology, etc., is all brought to life with beautiful clarity. The detail gets down to the level of the Weyland corporate logo as David’s finger print. A lot of great care has been taken to create this universe with as much eye candy as possible and it succeeds on all levels.
Overall, the question seems to come down to if the rocky, uneven start and whether the horror elements detract enough from the characters, story and visual splendor to be had. I think that the furious pace of this film makes these things disappear in the grand scale and minimize what would be a larger problem in other films. Here they do not seem like a big deal and tend to go unnoticed until you start to sit down and really analyze the movie. While Prometheus seems to fall short of what it wants to be, it is still a good ride that is unlikely to disappoint.
PS: I saw this in IMAX 3D. The huge screen was awesome and engrossing but the 3D is forgettable.
Images from rottentomatoes.com.