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Monday, June 4, 2012

Movie Review: Prometheus

(Note: This review is on the IMAX 3D version of the film. Spoilers contained.)

Prometheus is a film that generated an insane amount of hype amongst film geeks, especially us Alien fans who have watched again and again all 4 films and have been so disappointing with the AVP monstrosities. When Ridley Scott finally announced that he would be returning to the world he first created so many years ago, expectations ran high, especially as he was given an unprecedented amount of money and resources for essentially a sci-fi thriller. The excellent ad campaign with these great viral videos (see them at http://www.projectprometheus.com/) generated huge amount of enthusiasm and confidence that Sir Ridley would be creating a masterpiece.

So, as it perhaps inevitably turned out, the end product is somewhat disappointing. Prometheus is an overambitious film, filled with strong visuals, good performances, which however has a somewhat weak script. It starts out strong, with an excellent prologue depicting the beginning of life on Earth, which might however give out more than it should have. Flash forward some million years, where a scientific expedition on a spaceship called Prometheus aims to meet the creators of life, aka the Engineers. After an amazing sequence showing the life of an android called David (Michael Fassbender - the best performance by far) during the two years of this trip, the crew lands on a planet which might contain the answers they are looking for. Then again, it might not.

The main problem of the film is perhaps that it was scripted by Damon Lindelof, who in true Lost fashion, for every answer he gives he asks two more questions. Also, the fact that the movie shifts from epic sci-fi to Alien-type thriller in the third act sort of undermines the efforts of the characters in the first two reels, leading to an unsatisfying confrontation between the lead (Noomi Rapace) and a muscular Engineer, which frankly makes little sense. Having said that, perhaps the best scene in the movie is a gore-filled one, containing an automatic caesarian on Noomi's character. The scene is incredibly well-shot and as gory as it needs to be, and is perhaps event better than the famous chest-bursting scene of the original Alien. Finally, some weak characterization does not help things - the second lead (Logan Marshall-Green) is especially weak, and the movie is filled with several non-existent characters waiting to die. Perhaps the only secondary character with an interesting story arc is Charlize Theron's company representative, who might have several agendas, some not as obvious. Finally, the 3D is not used very much, and in a dark film like this it's a bit useless, since it just keeps the viewer from experiencing the sets in full detail.

So in the end Prometheus is a decent film with extremely strong visuals (the DP needs an Oscar right now and the sets are amazing), which is hampered by an aimless script. It's obviously miles better than the AVP movies (and perhaps Alien3 and Alien: Resurrection) and the fact that the movie does not rely on the Alien franchise but instead tries to create something new is commendable. But it could have been so much more...

1 comment:

mastorak said...

Overall I think I agree with your assessment. However, I was not disappointed at all with the film. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Yes, most of the characters are not developed and you think of them more as extras waiting to be killed, but the real protagonist of the film is the back-story. I would like it to have been more explored though.
David was by far the most interesting character and again I would like him to be more developed, as his motives were not clear to me even at the finale. I did not mind the alien-sation of the film in the end as it gave us some exciting sequences.