Friday, June 8

Prometheus Review


Dir: Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green,
Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, 
Idris Elba, and Guy Pearce

Where did we come from? Why are we here? Difficult questions pose difficult outcomes, especially when asking questions loaded with such magnitude. Prometheus, apart from having foundations and imagery influenced from the seminal film Alien, seeks to separate itself from the realm of being a prequel and instead craft a science fiction story around the concepts of origin and faith. And, at times, Prometheus does a great job of applying these ideas into an impressive effort imbued with stunning imagery and startling elements of horror.

The film begins with a group of scientists discovering ancient cave drawings that have an identical pattern with past drawings found in other parts of the world during different time periods. The pattern is deemed an invitation to a far off planet that could contain the lost story of humanities creation, or the scientists hope it does. The film moves ahead in time a few years to the expedition vessel called the Prometheus, which has been tasked with venturing to the distant planet for exploration in hope of answers. 

Once the Prometheus arrives they find a hollowed out, mound like structure.  The exploration of the structure uncovers what the scientists had only hoped for, intelligent life. However, ulterior motives are in play and things begin to go horrifically awry. In an effective, but different than expected, tension building setup the film transitions from expedition to terror with ease. The narrative tries to keep secrets, however most are easily predicted but this isn’t a bad thing. Scott builds upon the mysteries by utilizing different elements in unique ways, such as the incorporation of an android named David, which keeps the predictability interesting even though it’s expected.

This leads us to David, a loyal and responsible android, who because he doesn’t need to sleep, meticulously educates himself in social cueing, extinct languages, and, most importantly, the slumbering crew. David, who is played expertly by Michael Fassbender, is the most interesting character in the film. Because David is devoid of emotions and feelings his motives are mysterious, a clever narrative technique that pays off throughout the film.

The remaining group is a blend of believers and non-believers; some disenfranchised with their mission and other’s with a fervent, almost unstable, ambition to find answers. Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Dr. Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) offer the greatest faith, at times naively, towards finding answers of creation. While the disdainful Meredith Vickers, a severely underused Charlize Theron, hopes to find nothing at all, this is an interesting parallel to examine her character by in the end. Noomi Rapace has a difficult role, portraying a character that in the face of being wrong on numerous levels continues to stand firmly in the foundations of her faith. Unfortunately, her character is just not written well enough for her performance to truly impact the underlying ideas forwarded in the plot. However, other characters like the ship captain Janek, a subtle and restrained performance from Idris Elba, are given simpler roles to explore. Janek sustains the greatest change while never leaving the Prometheus once; instead he watches the change in people and environment around him, which allows him to have a faith that is based solely on intuition. Although some the ideas in this film might be too big to tackle at times, and could have been assisted by slight modifications, it’s not overly distracting in the end. Overall the ensemble cast does a good job of portraying the difficult concepts of the script

The technical elements of Prometheus are superb, the cinematography is stunning at times and offers a component that brings depth to the environment and atmosphere that is so familiar with Ridley Scott films. The film looks good from start to finish; the visual effects, set design, and special makeup effects are expertly crafted and truly invite the viewer into the film. The incorporation of the 3-D element seemed unnecessary, as it usually is, but it was unobtrusive. However, I can’t help but wonder how much better the film would look without 3-D.

Ridley Scott is a more than capable director, and it’s nice to see him return to science fiction. Prometheus is a film that will probably leave the viewer with more questions than actual answers, which is a clear setup for a sequel, but with expectations being so unachievable high for a film that, regardless of its efforts, is identified with a classic like Alien, Prometheus is far better and more entertaining than I ever expected it to be.

Monte’s Rating
4.00 out of 5.00

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