Prometheus – Movie ReviewJune 9, 2012
Ridley Scott, the man who started it all in 1979, has returned to steer his franchise back on course with the prequel Prometheus.
For fans of the Alien series, its been quite a long time since a film worthy of the legacy has been released. The first two films stand the test of time as some of the greatest sci-fi/horror movies ever made. They created a rich and captivating universe that no Alien film, or most sci-fi in general, since has been able to match. Now Ridley Scott, the man who started it all in 1979, has returned to steer the franchise back on course with the prequel Prometheus. While it expectedly can’t top the classic films, it does stand on its own as a great sci-fi thriller and is easily the best entry since 1986’s Aliens.
The story begins with 2 archaeologists (Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green) in 2089. They have uncovered a strong amount of prehistoric evidence suggesting that humans were indeed placed upon the earth by alien beings, and have uncovered what galaxy they believe these beings originated from. It is enough for the Weyland Corporation to fund the 3 -year expedition on the spaceship Prometheus to journey to this galaxy and meet our creators. While the intent of the expedition begins as pure scientific discovery, things quickly turn to a fight for survival as the planet and the life forms among it are not what they seem and far more terrifying then they could have ever imagined.
Prometheus should be judged on its own merits, however with its strong ties to the Alien universe it will undoubtedly be compared to the sci-fi classics. With that in mind, anyone looking for the pulse pounding action of Aliens will undoubtedly be disappointed. You won’t see the iconic H.R. Giger-designed aliens stalking the team, but a much different and ominous foe. Prometheus is more closely a descendant of Ridley Scott’s original, playing as a more suspenseful terror ride with slow builds and high tension. Scott is an expert at these moments, and even the most hardened horror fan will be on the edge of their seats.
The visuals and sound design are also fantastic, continuing the legacy of suspense and immersion this franchise is known for. However, the film’s attempts at being cerebral- with its questions of human existence, faith and science- can be viewed as a missed opportunity. While it may seem like a logical choice given the plot, the end result of this theme just seems to play out as nothing more than dialogue to try and build the characters.Another flaw is the somewhat surprising inclusion of the horror movie cliche of certain characters just acting somewhat oblivious and unbelievably to the terror around them. While this may be easily overlooked in the average horror movie, in a Ridley Scott film as epic as this it’s definitely not expected.
These small flaws are thankfully overshadowed by some great performances, and the star of the show is Michael Fassbender as the cyborg David. He gives a subtle, nuanced performance that is fantastically layered. He easily shifts from inquisitive and friendly to intimidating and confrontational without ever breaking the emotional range a cyborg would be believably capable of. He is wisely the most fleshed out character with the most screen time. Noomi Rapace seems to have the biggest shoes to fill, playing a strong heroine in the footsteps of Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley, but she does a great job transforming from enthusiastic scientist to relentless survivor. Another standout is Idris Elba as Prometheus Captain Janek. Janek plays the everyman to the intellectual science team and is the closest thing the movie has to a space marine when he dons an exosuit and grabs a flamethrower.
While it may not top the Scott’s original or James Cameron’s Aliens, Prometheus is a solid sci-fi thriller in a genre and franchise desperately in need of one. Fans clamoring for its release since hearing Scott was back at the helm can rest assured it was worth the wait.