Initially conceived as a prequel to the 1979 classic “Alien” but later transformed into a stand-alone project, “Prometheus” not only marks Ridley Scott's return to the genre he helped define and perfect, but also one of the most hotly anticipated releases of the year. Given the buzz around it, enjoying it is only a matter of knowing how high to set your expectations.
It's very easy to criticize “Prometheus” for what it is not than to appreciate it for what it is, so fans of the cult classic “Alien” franchise should probably be warned from the start that they're to leave their fond memories at the door.
This is a Ridley Scott movie in the truest sense of the word: it's epic, it's vast and overbearing, it's impressive and magnificent as nothing else. Unfortunately, it's also deeply flawed and hollow, soulless.
“Prometheus” opens with an otherworldly sequence that is arguably the best modern cinematography has to offer. Profound only upon later consideration and more original than all other ideas now circulated, it's downright stunning but menacing at the same time.
You just know you're in for the experience of a lifetime. For the better part of one hour, “Prometheus” delivers on that first promise.
Shortly, we meet the players who set the wheels of this giant machine in motion: Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), a scientist in search of God, and her boyfriend associate Dr. Charlie Halloway (Logan Marshall-Green), a strict Darwinist.
They believe they have found an “invitation” from alien creatures, the “Engineers,” who may or may have not created life on Earth.
With this bold theory, they convince Weyland Corporation boss Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce under layers of old-age makeup) to fund a trillion-dollar expedition on a distant planet, LV-223, once not much unlike our own, on board a ship aptly named Prometheus.
Prometheus, you might want to remember, is the god who stole the fire from the gods to bring it back to man, and was punished harshly for it.
By the time they get to set out for the planet, it's already 2093 and Weyland has died. However, he made sure the two scientists got their wish: by means of a hologram, he informs the rest of the Prometheus crew that these two are in charge.
Since this is basically a research mission, Prometheus doesn't carry impressive weaponry or expert soldiers: aside from the suit Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), android David (Michael Fassbender), and the ship's captain Janek (Idris Elba), the rest of the crew is made up of geologists, biologists and lab experts.
LV-223 is home to a labyrinthine pyramid structure, which our team of experts enters the instant they come across it. It holds the answers to some of their most burning questions but, as the trailers also promise, they might not like what they find.
Further going into the plot would mean spoiling it for those who are yet to see the film. However, mention must be made that, while “Prometheus” seems to aim to answer some of the biggest questions ever to plague the “Alien” franchise, it doesn't necessarily do so.
Then again, nothing in life can be that simple and, in some twisted way, Scott deserves praise for not succumbing to the Hollywood cliché of handing everything on a silver platter for lazy audiences.
God (or aliens) knows that, for the rest of the film, about every other Hollywood cliché is to be found in some form or another.
Scott has an eye for greatness like few other directors of our times and, in this sense, “Prometheus” is spellbinding, the kind of epic film that makes you stupidly gape in wonder. Excellent 3D and special effects work together to render the impression of vastness in an universe where man is only the tiniest, puniest fleck of dust, if that.
Sadly, this comes at the expense of a good story. All “Alien” involvement considerations aside, the plot of “Prometheus” starts off strong but soon stumbles under the weight of its own greatness, and eventually falls flat on the ground.
Character definition is almost absent, save for a few outstanding exceptions: Fassbender as the eerie, (threateningly) charming android David, Theron as a genuine ice queen, who doubles as the voice of reason, Vickers, and Rapace as a pre-Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) strong woman for whom the good of mankind is above financial considerations.
Fassbender carries most of the movie on his sculpted shoulders, to the point where scenes in which he doesn't appear seem rushed.
The same goes for the many sub-plots that pop out of nowhere halfway through the film – and seem to disappear into thin air almost instantly, unresolved, unrelated, underused.
The end, though not disappointing, comes with a certain feeling of frustration, as if viewers had been cheated of something that they were promised, something that should have been better. “Prometheus” is deep and impressive, but it's not necessarily smart or outstanding.
“Prometheus” runs for 128 minutes, and is rated R for sci-fi violence including some intense images, and brief language. It opened in most territories on June 8, 2012.
In “Prometheus,” Ridley Scott creates a world like no other, with the help of excellent FX and 3D and his brilliant craftmanship. Outer space and the ships used to explore it have never looked this good, down to the most (apparently) insignificant detail.
Fassbender owns the entire movie as android David, with Theron and Rapace close at his heels. The music score is a perfect match for such an epic film.
The story is flawed to the point where the third act becomes underwhelming, frustrating. The outstanding visuals hardly make up for the plot holes and messy character definition. “Prometheus” feels more like Icarus.
In his attempt at delivering a masterpiece, Ridley Scott aimed for the stars. “Prometheus” can't – and doesn't – fly that high: a must-see, a cinematographic and technical wonder, a fascinating experience, but a masterpiece it is not.
Good review. It's almost like putting my thoughts into words. I saw the movie at the behest of my friend and while I didn't hate it, I was left with a "meh" feeling towards it all. There were some really cool and exciting parts, but overall, it just didn't leave me inspired.
I would assume that anything that comes from Ridley Scott would be epic and fascinating. Scott is one of the best directors I’ve come across besides, Stanley Kubrik. Ridley Scott can fly from one theme to another like the perfect collage; he never sells the audience short even though he plays many different cards, with actors a plenty. Movies are my passion; writing about influential films is a hobby that my frequent business trips for Dish are perfect. Although “Prometheus” is still in theaters, I subscribe to Blockbuster @Home so I’ll be catching up on his older films that I get in the mail. By fall, the DVD will be out and I will launch my website and honor to Mr. Scott.
Comment #2.1 by: Linlin on 16 Jul 2012, 06:46 GMT
You are so right. Those who found this movie "meh" where not able to grasp the deep underlying issues of who made man god or aliens and many other side conflicts. Look deeper then just to be "inspired" what do you want some beefy men with six packs to inspire you to go t the gym or something to ponder after the movie is done?
This movie IS a masterpiece. Why do you think they show the Robot copying humans from movies and dying his hair. That undeniably develops his character. Most poorly made movies would not have even showed that scene, however Ridley does and your left to think does he want to be human or is he mimicking them to fit in. This is a truly interpretational movie and visually stunning. As for the rest of the characters, amazing acting and character development as well. The plot is gripping and in the end leaves room for what I hear will be two follow up movies that is why many feel like it doesn't answer all their questions! Be patient! It will later and I am sure it is going to be just as gripping and beautifully made as this movie!
SORRY FOLKS...BUT I'M NOT ONE OF THE SMALL MINDED PEOPLE "THINKING I KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT FROM SEQUELS OR PREQUELS". I JUST LIKE TO BE ENTERTAINED. PROMETHEUS DID ALL OF THAT. I WAS ESPECIALLY BLOWN AWAY BY THE 'FIRST FACEHUGGER'... * !!! (I DID HOPE THE 'TEETH' TO BE MORE INVOLVED THOUGH, THAT MIGHT'VE CHANGED THE RATING...RIGHT!). ANYWAY ,LONG LIVE THE NEXT GREAT FRANCHISE OF Mr. SCOTT! RESPECTFULLY, LOKRIGER