Wednesday, June 13, 2012

FILM REVIEW: Prometheus (2012)


The level of enjoyment that you will experience for the new Ridley Scott-directed Sci-Fi epic Prometheus will greatly depend on the expectations that you've built up for yourself ever since this project was first announced many years ago.

I wasn't expecting much more than a good science fiction film from a masterful director who has had epic strides within the genre. Of course, I'm what one would call a casual fan of the Alien  franchise...so, I wasn't particularly cheesed to see this film...other than the prospect of being entertained. I mean...I absolutely loved everything that I've seen in the trailers and got pumped like everyone else did. But, I didn't think this was going to be an epic display of filmmaking. So, I had a good time.

Having said all of that, I can fully appreciate the disappointment a true hardcore fan of the Alien  films would feel after the credits rolled. It isn't going to satisfy that select audience. Unless, of course, you treat this experience as sort of an alternate reality to the universe that Sir Ridley Scott has already established. There are just so many things wrong with Prometheus that will ultimately keep it from satiating those expecting a true prequel offering to Alien. We'll discuss those "things" in a bit. For now...let us remember the good that Ridley Scott has created for us...shall we?

The premise centers around the crew of a spaceship called Prometheus in search of mankind's makers. They fly off for two years towards the distant moon LV-223 where they land near a structure that looks to be made by some sort of being. The team heads off to explore these artificial structures only to come into contact with something that may or may not destroy the existence of mankind.

Ok...two things.


First off...Michael Fassbender is quickly cementing his place as one of the greatest actors of this generation. The man can act his ass off (Cam Gigandet should pay attention). Here he takes on the role of David, an android much like Lance Henriksen and Ian Holm were androids in the earlier films. Only, Fassbender steals the entire fucking show with his portrayal of David. He plays the character with such ambiguity, you never know what his true intentions are and it's funny to see his superiority complex when compared to "mortals". Fassbender deserves some Academy hardware for his performance in Prometheus.

Second thing...this film NEEDS to be seen in 3D IMAX. It is Ridley Scott at his best in terms of spectacle and visual brilliance. The REAL 3D takes full advantage of its other-worldly environments. And the landscapes and Giger-inspired set designs are simply breath-taking on a 76 X 97 foot screen. While the film suffers from script issues and crater-sized plot holes, Prometheus really is a beautiful film to behold. Perhaps the best-looking film I've experienced in quite some time.

Now, about them script issues. At some point the filmmakers had to have realized that they didn't have a fully realized screenplay. There are certain points in the film where characters just sort of hang out and not really do anything relevant to what is going on around them. We realize that downtime in any film is a necessity to concentrate on character development and plot reinforcement. However, in this film, characters just meander around without any real cause or effect and stupid things happen for convenience rather than a strongly written script. For instance, when a character is dispatched in the film because of a poorly made decision on their part...it's met with a certain..."that sucks for that person"...as opposed to..."damn, I really liked that character, too". Had the writers actually cared to put more substance into each character, we might've actually given a fuck about the casualties instead of just wondering who is going to perish next.


Also, another detriment to the writing in the film...the ending. I won't give it away...don't worry. However, something happens at the very end that ties the film to the Alien franchise in such a forced way. It's as if Ridley was like..."FUCK! We gotta insert this part to tie this into the mythos that I've already created! Let's throw this scene in here!" I could've forgiven this particular scene had the rest of the film been great. But, sadly, the epicness of the moment is kind of wrenched out in favor for last minute desperation.

That same sentiment is prevalent throughout the film in terms of stuff they just sort of plugged in just to satisfy the diehard Alien fans. The "space jockey", or engineer, suffers from this same fate. I remember watching Alien long ago imagining to myself what sort of being the "space jockey" might have been. Here, the film quickly solves that thought for you in the form of a translucent body building basketball player in a diaper. Disappointing.

It's a shame, too...because Prometheus really had the potential to be a masterpiece instead of just being something to marvel at during a drought of true horror offerings that will ultimately be forgotten.


Speaking of horror, there's enough gore and body horror in the film to make one squirm throughout. And the FX is really top notch stuff that only a mega-budgeted film of this caliber can employ. In our humble opinion, the film stands out as a science fiction wonder more so than a masterpiece of filmmaking.

The talent associated with the film is also top notch. Fan favorites, Noomi Rapace, Idris Elba, Guy Pierce and Charlize Theron are all great in the film, despite the lack of material given to their respective characters. Which also adds a bit of a "what if" mentality had the writers actually fleshed out a masterful screenplay instead of the dreck they happened to pass off as a script.

In the end, if you're in the mood for a thrilling science fiction film full of spectacle and beauty, Prometheus will surely provide an entertaining theatrical experience at your local 3D IMAX. However, if you're expecting an amazingly complex trip back into the Alien world that Ripley Scott created, then you may be left feeling cheated.



Thanks for reading,

bryan.




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