Film Review: Prometheus
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba and Guy Pearce
Running Time: 124 minutes
While not up to the level of his Alien and Blade Runner efforts, Ridley Scott’s big return to the science fiction genre is still a highly effective and creative thrill-ride that takes a well known mythology (of the Alien film series) and not only reinvigorates it, but turns the series in another and more ambitious direction. But while not being a proper prequel to Alien, it contains many odes and obvious references to the seminal 1979 film that made Scott an icon. This film aims to be bigger and more expansive than the Alien franchise and to a level it succeeds, but often at the expense of logic and gaps in continuity.
From the opening scene, Prometheus is a gorgeous, wonderfully shot and epic looking film. Perhaps this epic and awe inspiring imagery covers up some of the inadequacies in the plot and with the characterization. Noomi Rapace does well with the well-worn female hero role and while being nowhere near as iconic as Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, she puts in a great effort as an archaeologist whose discovery may lead to the extermination of mankind. Her and her partner Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) become part of the journey to explore the same star maps they found on different archaeological expeditions on earth. On board the ship (named Prometheus), we met the 17-strong crew who and their mission to make contact with extraterrestrial life. Even early on, the standout of the film is Michael Fassbender’s David. Fassbender has proven himself as a terrific performer with his roles in Hunger and Shame and again here he is nothing less than stunning in his portrayal of this android. Effortlessly swaying from sinister to sincere, Fassbender’s David is a joy. His emotionless performance and robotic delivery is frighteningly divisive, is he good or bad, should we be cheering him on or condemning him (especially in comparison to Alien’s Ian Holm, of whom David is an earlier model of). Scott’s various odes to Alien are common, none more so than the central villain of the piece, the space jockey (seen in Alien, but not explained) or as they are now called, Engineers. While fascinating and creepy, the plot holes start to come into effect here and it adds to moments of questioning that even pushes science fiction logic to its limits. But as the logic falls, the action suspense and space horror elements are very well done. There are quite a few cringe moments of gore that up the ante and bodies start piling up. Characters like Rafe Spall’s Milburn and the underrated Sean Harris’s Fifield get little screen time; they make enough of an impression to feel for their plight. Captain Janek (Idris Elba) is the captain of the ship and despite his lack of screen time; Elba is as charismatic as ever. Vickers (Charlize Theron) is the Burke (ooh, Aliens reference) of the film; a company woman with profit and power on her mind as well as a few secrets that turn out to be predictable and poor reveals. The biggest disappointment (besides his terrible make-up) is the genuine waste of Guy Pearce, an actor so good it’s criminal to have him hidden behind 40 layers of prosthetics.
A return to form this may be for Ridley Scott, it however still falls short of his classic Alien and Blade Runner masterpieces. But you have to admire the scale and ambition seen in Prometheus, it expands on a beloved franchise and breathes new life into a genre that has become stale and tame. Prometheus, while far from being a perfect film and having a weak plot, is a greatly entertaining science fiction thriller that is high on gorgeous visuals, big set pieces and a towering performance from the terrific Michael Fassbender.
Posted by Kelly O'Brien on at 5:45 pm.
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