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Prometheus (2012)

What can be said of Ridley Scott's Prometheus? It is a beautifully shot film. it is a wonderfully scored film. It is a well cast film. It is a very flawed and ultimately disappointing film.

Prometheus marks director Ridley Scott's return to the universe he first introduced film goers to in the 1979 sci-fi/horror classic Alien. Derided by several critics upon its release as an average and forgettable monster movie Alien was destined to become an iconic genre film and a pop culture staple. It spawned three direct sequels of varying quality, two dreadful non-canon prequels, several rip-offs also of varying quality, and has been parodied and referenced numerous times in other works.

With Prometheus Scott seeks to explore several concepts that he introduced in his original film but that were never followed up on in any of the sequels. Most notably the Space Jockey. What is a Space Jockey? It is what the crew of the film dubbed the giant deceased alien seen when the crew of the Nostromo first enters the derelict vessel. The seemingly elephantine humanoid is briefly inspected by the curious crew and it is never seen again in any of the subsequent films.

Admittedly this a very interesting idea. While the Space Jockey was touched upon in the Dark Horse Aliens series of graphic novels it was fascinating to finally find out what Scott would have done with the concept had he been the one to continue the franchise. The results are unfortunately mixed at best. While promising answers Prometheus delivers few and leaves the audience with even more questions.

As has been stated the cinematography is gorgeous. Every shot is carefully planned and executed. The sets look amazing and are explored in glorious detail. The score is heart pounding and at the same time haunting. The film is in every visual and audial way an epic. It is the plot that ultimately prevents Prometheus from becoming a classic on par with its predecessor.

The concepts of creation and faith are introduced but are never explored in great detail. When the identity of the Space Jockeys, re dubbed Engineers, is finally revealed it is a disappointment and the motives behind their actions are left unexplained. The former may be more the fault of thirty years of fan speculation and imagination than anything else while the later is less excusable. By the end the film feels more like a set up for a new franchise than the stand alone story that it should have been.

The performances are mixed ranging from Michael Fassbender's excellent turn as the android David and Idris Elba injecting life into the barely-in-the-film role of Captain Janek to Guy Pearce caking on the old man make up and hamming it up as the ridiculous Peter Weyland. Noomi Rapace as the films main protagonist Elizabeth Shaw is okay but lacks that something that made Sigourney Weaver's Ripley memorable. The rest of the cast does a decent job but nobody stands out or leaves a lasting impression.

In terms of its alien menace Prometheus lacks the dark disturbed genius of H.R. Gigers designs. Everything is too clean and neat. The alien architecture is titanic in scope but does not invoke the same feeling of agoraphobia that it did in Alien. The creatures spawned by the Engineers are merely gruesome rather than the stuff of nightmares and the Engineers themselves are too familiar in form to be terrifying. Granted this is not meant to be a sci-fi horror film but Gigers creative influence is sorely missed.

I recommend that fans of the original Alien see Prometheus and decide for themselves wether or not they enjoy it. Maybe some will find answers where I only found questions. Maybe some will ask questions that I never thought of asking. As for me, I found his film to be an admirable if very disappointing attempt to expand on an incredibly interesting universe. At least I can say that it was not unnecessary.

Final Score: 3 out of 5.
I went to see "Prometheus"...I did not like it. Read the review to find out why.

Note: There are no real spoilers as I actually do want people to go and see this movie.
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CuddlesTheOctopus Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012
It shouldn't have even been approached as a horror movie. It's a different sort of sci-fi. The cast should have been much smaller, the 3rd act twist of the engineers being "evil" should have been revealed from the get go, and they needed to pick a first character A LOT sooner. Oh, and they shouldn't have let the writer from Lost work on it.

Focusing on the theme of the title more would have been nice (Prometheus is a titan in Greek mythology). And more scenes with David. "And how would you feel if that's the answer they gave you?"
JosephPMorgan Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I seen Prometheus when it opened, without making a connection to my favorite Alien, the film is a good but mild sci-fi adventure. The lack of H.R. Geiger was disappointing prior to watching the movie, he only endorsed and promoted the film. Some of his works such as the Alien homeworld dome transferred over, but was switched to the engineer's dome. I always like the Alien series for it's atmosphere, 1 and two with LV 426 was so well defined, the same in Alien 3, dark, visceral, fit the film nicely, this being separate all together was just too clean as you say. I don't try and figure out most of the plot nonsense (Fifield, Weyland, etc.) and just kind of thought less of it. Although I admit, Weyland was just O_O ridiculous, but I deal with it. The creatures in the end, not really needed, doesn't make sense, definitely not enough time evolution wise until the first Alien, the black goop doesn't make much sense, creates life, some things it evolves them, others, zombified @_@, pregnant, alot going on. Merely things wrote in to yuck us out. Both of the aliens I think were not even proto versions, yet a re-imaging of the xenomorph, or entirely different species. Ridley called it a Deacon Alien. The design is poor, without H.R.'s touch, that was just soft on the eyes.

The score is good at certain parts of the film, the main theme was played entirely too much and at the wrong segments, sounded like a Star Trek theme or something.
Jonesycat79 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
at least nods were made to his original designs, such as the temple in the storm being disfigured to look like one of Giger's Death head designs for the Dune project, and that the offspring of shaw did resemble one of the concepts for the orignal facehugger before being redesigned. Yeah few parts did have me go "huh?", mostly that fifield of the dead scene, still I found it quite enjoyable.

But yeah, the main theme by Williams did make it feel like a star trek film at wrong points.
Kuruyami30 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I feel the same way......I only wanted to see the film,to see Aliens. I did enjoy the movie. But as a big fan of the Alien Sagas,I do feel that wasn't something missing.
I too had some questions that I needed to be answered after watching the film. But if you have a very good understanding of evolution and mutations through generations,then maybe there isn't that many questions really need to be asked.
DoctorOno Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012
Thanks for the review, quite helpful. Since I don't spend my money going to movie theaters, I will wait to catch this one later some time.
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