Ah Prometheus. The movie has been hinted and teased for months. Many are damn excited, including me, about the possibilities of visiting the Alien universe again. And by god does Prometheus deliver in expanding the universe. While not flawless, Prometheus is a very entertaining film that Alien fans will love, and fans of film should enjoy just as much.
Ridley Scott hasn’t been timid about saying Prometheus has the same DNA as Alien. The plot takes place about thirty years before the seminal 1979 sci-fi/horror film, but shares a lot of similarities. You have a rag tag group of people who aren’t sure what they are getting into. The couple of stereotypes who are destined to die. And an evil corporation who wants to use whatever they find as a weapon. That’s damn similar to Alien. But once the movie starts to get going, the similarities end. Prometheus is more of a psychological thriller than horror or action/adventure. The audience never is sure what is attacking the crew. The plot uses some good metaphors about humans and how they always kill themselves. The characters are developed well enough, with the aforementioned stereotypical crew members not receiving much. While they could have been explored more, the audience does care for them when the, pardon my expression, sucker hits the face.
One of the flaws of Prometheus is that the audience knows the movie ties into Alien before they walk into the theater. When the final act starts, I kept thinking to myself, “…..so when will this start tying into Alien?” Damon Lindelof, the screenwriter, is one of the best sci-fi writers of this generation, but he has a bitch of a time with delivering on what he sets up. The entire movie is set up for a big ending, but the movie feels pidgin-held on tying into Alien. Since it takes place well before Alien, why did he feel the need to tie it in so much? Couldn’t we have seen a couple of hints of what was to come, but have the big tie-in come in the sequel? Don’t think for a second the ending isn’t entertaining, and when everything starts to tie-in, it’s hard to not get a little fanboy excited about hearing the all-to-familiar siren start to go off. And while the marketing department needed to let everyone know that the movie is a prequel, the ending would have worked better if the audience DIDN’T know that the movie tied into Alien. My mouth would have dropped at the ending, but instead I kind of expected it to happen. It’s a double edged sword. The general movie going audience wouldn’t see this movie if they didn’t know it tied into Alien, but once the movie ends, they wish they didn’t know. A good amount of questions are raised about the mythology of this universe, with only a few of them answered. Prometheus does prove that the Alien franchise still has plenty of life left.
Lindelof and Jon Spaihts, the other screenwriter, write a good script. As said before, characters are well developed, but could have used more. The dialogue never goes into cliche territory, even when the stereotypical characters are in the spotlight. The production value is rather high, as you have seen in the trailers. The sets look great, with many of them giving subtle nods to Alien. Most of the ship Prometheus has an design similar to the Nostromo.
The acting is one of the high points of Prometheus. Noomi Rapace is great as the lead, as we can really feel the terror of what she has discovered sweeping over her. There is one very brutal birthing scene that made me squirm in my seat (and I laugh at the Saw movies). She handles it masterfully, and it adds to the uneasiness the the audience is feeling the entire time. Charlize Theron is somewhat bland, but also somewhat interesting as the head of the ship. The same goes for Idris Elba as the captain of the ship. These two are the characters that needed more development, considering how much their characters are in the movie. Guy Pearce is unrecognizable as the head of Weyland Corporation. The rest of the cast is good, but most are there as cannon fodder or for comic relief. They might as well be wearing red shirts at the beginning.
But Michael Fassbender steals the show as David. Is there anything this guy isn’t brilliant in? His role as an android who is borderline human is beautifully done. One scene in particular, has one crew member insulting him and saying he has no soul. Fassbender keeps the same expression on his face, but does these two slight eye twitches that show how hurt he is by the comments. And throughout the film, it’s easy to think that Fassbender is a robot, by the hard movements and manner of speaking. They never go into hammy territory, with these robot movements being every so slight. It makes the audience question if he is actually a robot or just a human playing the part.
Prometheus is a very entertaining movie that sadly has to deal with some bad marketing choices. It’s one to see a couple of times, and own on Blu-Ray.
Prometheus gets 4/5.
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