Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Prometheus ***½

In 2089, a team of scientists led by Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover cave drawings that appear to form a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth. Shaw believes that the beings indicated on the paintings have visited Earth and are inviting us to their planet. Cut to 2093, on board the spaceship Prometheus (named after the Greek god who gave fire to mortal man), the scientists and small crew are heading towards the distant star system. As the crew awake from hyper sleep we are introduced to Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), the chief executive of the Weyland Corp., the mega-corporation funding the mission, Janek (Idris Elba), the ship’s captain, and other token crew members. Vickers is the corporate face of Weyland Corp., she’s remote, cold and dismissive, mainly of the Shaw and Holloways theory.

The other crew member is David (Michael Fassbender), an android with a penchant for Peter O’Toole’s Lawrence of Arabia, a quick, dry wit and more unnervingly, a hidden agenda.

Shaw and Holloway disagree on precisely where we came from and how, they believe these visitors hold the key. At stake is the origin of human creation itself.

When they arrive at moon LV-233 they find a huge alien labyrinthine construction in which they hope to find answers… however, they must fight to save the future of the human race.

Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Blade Runner, returns to the genre he helped define with those early landmark films. With Prometheus, he creates another beautifully rendered near future. The cinematography, sets, props and costumes are all superb and set a new bench mark, as do the exemplary special effects which blend beautifully .

Its Scott’s best movie since American Gangster (2007), however it doesn’t quite manage to reach the heights achieved by his breakthrough original. Having said that, Prometheus came pre-loaded with so much hype and expectation, partially tempered by Ridley denying this was a direct prequel to Alien, that it would be almost impossible for the film to deliver on all fronts. There are a few incredible set-pieces unlike anything you’ve ever seen before that have to be seen to be believed. No spoilers here.

The cast are good, Noomi Rapace is a strong, believable lead, Theron is suitably cold, however Michael Fassbender steals the movie, his android is not as cold as HAL (2001), or Ash (Alien) or as likeable as Bishop (Aliens), he reminded me more of David from Spielberg’s Artificial Intelligence, I can’t recall him blinking. After the film ended I wondered how his character would/could fare in Scotts proposed Blade Runner sequel.

The script was reworked from a direct Alien prequel into a standalone effort that remains firmly within the same universe. This is the film’s smartest idea, as it immediately removes the usual prequel shortcomings of your audience knowing exactly how it’s going to end. However, while striving for its own identity, it still references to both Alien and James Camerons sequel Aliens. The screenplay, credited to both Jon Spaihts (who apparently wrote the first, more prequel-like draft) and Damon Lindelof (who revised the story and mythology), is an uneven affair. The general plot structure is solid, but some characters are underdeveloped and given some poor dialogue. Not all bad, however, as Scott is so adept at creating incredible imagery that it is easy to ‘go along for the ride’ and enjoy the film as a visual spectacle.

Big ideas are thrown around, the creation of human life, God, Darwinism and more; there are more questions posed than answered, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although I’d expect answers from the inevitable sequel, to the not-direct-prequel.

I can see it annoying some viewers, I really enjoyed it and overall I loved it as a spectacle; it’s not as smart as it set out to be, but it’s still better than most of the other sci-fi we’ve seen lately, and the 3rd best Alien movie of the franchise.

Quality: 3 Stars

Any Good: 4 Stars

6 responses

  1. Mark Sonntag

    Loved it. Of course more questions raised, extended cut on Blu-ray? I reckon so.

    June 7, 2012 at 8:16 pm

  2. Steve

    What is the real meaning of the cave cryptogram? If it was an invitation why did the ‘aliens’ want to destroy us? Had they realised their mistake in creating us but lose the ability to destroy humanity- then- wait until we had the technology to reach them in order to use us as a means to transport armageddon style antibodies back to earth? Did they actually have a plan at all? It seems their previous attempt was met with abject failure.
    Why did they hate us? See previous question…
    Why was no one on board Promethius the least bit shocked/surprised/in awe of the initial reveal of the fact that there was life out there other than our own? Why was the mission seen as a failure by the scientists when it was thought that all the ‘life’ on the planet had expired? None of these depressive fuckers had seen ‘life’ outside of earth before… chin up guys… this shit should be AWESOME!
    How did the ship land precisely where it needed to? A planet as large as Earth, they come in to the atmosphere on a straight line… bank a little… hey presto… a neat line of MOUNDS with ROADS smooth enuff for their MOTORBIKES… They were sooo overwhelmed that wormy eye guy says (in an understated way) “Nature doesn’t build in straight lines”… OK- I would have asked for a few more superlatives there about A: “We landed in the right place, what are the odds?” B: “HOLY FUCK WHAT THE FUCK ARE THOSE THINGS?” C: “WE JUST ANSWERED THE BIG QUESTION FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HUMAN HISTORY! THERE IS LIFE OUT THERE!”
    What was the relevance of the wormy things in his eye? What was happening to him? I dig that the black oily stuff was some kind of DNA poison weapon (or was it) and therefor small enough to penetrate on a cellular level- so why wasn’t everyone affected? They were all exposed to some degree…
    Why did David do any of the stuff he did? Experimental curiosity? Jealousy? Hatred? Under instruction?
    What the fuck was the squid creature?
    What was the point of A: The geologists B: The oily snaky thingies C:The super powered geologist bent over like a crab D: Charlize Theron?
    Operating the alien craft… ?? OK, I get that David can do stuff… why did the recording bring the last plan of the craft to life… really ham fisted exposition…. cheesy reveal that the plan was to go to earth. Was the last remaining alien part of some grand plan? Very convenient that he was A: There B:Alive C: They were able to resurrect him. Weyland was a smart guy to prophesise that stuff… and programme his android (who is 200 years older than Ash BTW) to have the ability to ‘learn’ everything he needed to.
    The barely believable operation sequence where our heroine was able to reconfigure a med pod made for men to somehow perform a caesarian on an alien life form and hold it long enough so she could escape. How the FUCK was she even able to move after the operation that virtually cut her belly, uterus, womb and muscles completely open?… oh wait… STAPLES!! (the comp FX of her belly opening were fucking terrible).
    Not one but TWO life pods hit stuff or malfunctioned and happened to land within walking (holding a sore belly) distance from the crashing ships that were travelling FUCKING fast away from the launch sites. It took the ground craft several minutes to go from Promethius to mound yet Charlie and Noomi got to the crash site in no time flat. How did the alien craft land anywhere near them??? Why didn’t they both run sideways as the craft crashed to earth? Apparently rolling sideways is faster.
    The Captain’s bridge control bench looked like a casio keyboard from the front.
    I see a swathe of really bad sequels following this.
    Maybe I need to see it again to get some more of the subtleties.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm

  3. Amy

    I’m not seeing it for the development of characters, I’m seeing it for the visuals, FX, aliens and killings.

    June 12, 2012 at 5:04 pm

  4. Pingback: Prometheus – NECA Figurines « socialpsychol

  5. Pingback: Prometheus – NECA Figurines « socialpsychol

  6. Brad Greenwood

    enough (I’m referring to Steve’s spelling, as well as the rant)

    June 12, 2012 at 6:54 pm

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