Director: Ridley Scott
Screenwriters: Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Benedict Wong, Kate Dickie
Prometheus (2012) has gone back to the roots of the Alien franchise and produced a summer blockbuster prequel that is sure to make huge profits over the coming months. So, were we right to believe the hype or was this just another disappointment to add to the ever growing list of horrific Alien spin-offs?
As a viewer, and one who thinks himself to be a fairly well educated critic of the cinema, my already pre-conceived idea’s of this film were both positive and negative – leaving plenty of room to be persuaded either way. The positive side of the argument was that Ridley Scott both directed and produced the picture, leaving me with the belief that it was possible for the magic of the 33 year old Alien (1979) picture to be recaptured in this format. Furthermore, the promised narrative of Prometheus being a ‘prequel’ was also something which had me interested. However, the negative side of the argument was that Aliens (1985), and every other Alien film since, failed to live up to the expectations set by the brilliantly tense sci-fi and horror mixture that was presented in the original film. Therefore, this picture was going to have a lot of work to do to impress. Luckily for all Alien fans out there, Prometheus delivered on all fronts.
At its base, Prometheus is a sci-fi prequel to the 1979 film, Alien, in which the crew of a space ship discover an alien race that uses their bodies as wombs and subsequently leads to the death of the vast majority of human characters in the film. In Prometheus the story follows a number of human and humanoid space shuttle members as they enter the atmosphere of a foreign planet in the attempt to contact those whom some of the crew believe to be the creators of the human species. When met by a seemingly abandoned structure, the crew put on their space suits and go on a mission to discover the whereabouts of the race they are searching for. Ultimately, they become entangled in a story bigger than all of the Alien films put together.
The narrative was simple to follow and was bulging with stereotypical good guy and bad guy character traits for each protagonist and antagonist, and it left a lot to be desired on the representation of the ‘other world’-like characters in the picture, but despite being a film that offered a series of mini-climaxes, the film still climaxed superbly with its most spectacular set piece. Incredibly, the writers also got the themes of the picture correct and presented them well – something which other films in the franchise have struggled with. Themes around ‘soul’, religion, money, and the ever present concern with androids, were well thought out and clearly made in reference to the themes of the universe that the rest of the Alien franchise has helped to create. This level of intelligence shown in the writing of the production was, no doubt, also helped by the wonders of Ridley Scott’s direction. The incredible amount of tension and suspense that he was able to create around each of the mini climaxes was astonishing given its themes. In fact, Prometheus could be offering the most tense cinema experience of the year.
The performances of the on-screen talent was another aspect of the film that was truly beneficial to the overall delivery of the narrative.
Michael Fassbender was truly magnificent in his role as David, the Wylam Corp’s cyber genetics representative for this particular instalment. His somewhat generic walking style and seemingly sudden movements were a great fit for his character. It really was a true transformation for the half Irish, half German actor.
Charlize Theron was also very good as the firm leader with a hidden agenda. Her performance was almost all about the look in her eyes, and she pulled it off effectively and was completely believable.
The support cast which included Benedict Wong and Idris Elba was also strong, but the lead role played by Noomi Rapace could have been stronger. Despite her well established background in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) and its sequels, she never fully established herself in the role.
Watching it in 2D, many were told that their viewing experience would be diminished from that of the 3D audience as the film was filmed entirely with 3D cameras with the intention to be shown in 3D. What was instead the case was a feast of magnificent visuals from the space ships to the titles. The shots were perfectly situated and moved at a pace that represented the ongoing development of the tension within the narrative. Furthermore the CGI, which accompanied a lot of the shots, was top class and unlike most other CGI work. It truly was a beautiful film which seemed like the idealised representation of a Ridley Scott dream filled with Easter eggs and commanding scenery.
Stunning visuals, a solid narrative, and some good acting really put any pre-conceived issues to bed and produced a very good feature which far outshines the rest of the Alien franchise bar its original. This is definitely one that children should avoid because of the blood and gore, but is a film worthy of recommending to all other cinema fans.
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