|Plot Issues Hold Back an Otherwise Visually Impressive Film||1 out of 1 user found this review helpful.|
I will attempt to keep this review as spoiler free as possible. The Prometheus has landed and, well, it leaves a lot to be desired. The film also gives us more questions than answers when it's all said and done. While the film was getting hyped quite a bit, I tried to avoid as much of it as possible. I knew the basics for the film and heard it was supposed to be a spiritual prequel to Alien, which intrigued me. Taking place in the same universe Alien was set in though not directly a prequel, Ridley Scott's newest film doesn't quite know what type of film it should be. It tries to be something bigger than it can achieve, and fails to capture the sense of drama and tension felt in the first Alien film.
The film starts in the year 2089 where two archaeologists, Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway, are excavating a cave in Scotland where they make a discovery: a drawing depicting man pointing to a series of five stars in the sky. They are both amazed to see this as similar drawings have been found across the world from different civilizations that lived thousands of years and miles apart. Shaw and Holloway believe this series of stars represents a solar system where mankind first was created. Fast forward to 2093 and we are on the ship Prometheus traveling to this distance system. We are introduced to David, an android who is monitoring the ship's systems as well as the crew's health while they are in stasis. The crew is woken up when they reach a moon in the system and land there to investigate one of several structures found. Little do they know that what awaits them will change their lives forever.
Ridley Scott's direction of this film leaves me desperately wanting more visuals and less convoluted plot lines. The look of the film is absolutely stunning to say the least. The beginning of the film has shots of Iceland's landscape which are gorgeous. It rivals the landscape shots we saw in the Lord of the Rings films a decade earlier. The scenery is jaw dropping and I felt like I was watching a nature film and didn't want to stop. The visuals of Prometheus and the moon the crew lands on all look amazing too. Even the internal shots of the cavernous hallways are really nice to look at. Scott shot in several locations and used minimal CGI, which helps to give the film a greater sense of realism. The film gets the cinematography down and helps bring up the quality overall. I would go so far as to say this film should at least get a nomination from the Academy Awards when it comes around next year. I saw the film in 2D so I'm not sure if the 3D is worth shelling out extra money for.
The acting is another great point in this film. Michael Fassbender is the real standout here as David. We're told early on that David is an android so there are no secrets like with Ash in Alien. David has no human emotion though certain actions he takes makes us wonder if he has free will or not. Fassbender plays David perfectly, always looking at things very analytically but with an air of curiosity. He seems to take a liking to Elizabeth Shaw for reasons unknown until later on in the film. Fassbender's performance is also worthy of an Oscar nomination though we'll have to wait and see as sci-fi films are often over-looked except in rare cases (Sigourney Weaver's nomination in Aliens, for example). Noomi Rapace as Shaw gives a good, though somewhat frustrating performance. This is the first film I've seen her in though I've heard her performance in The Millennium Trilogy films are supposed to be very good too. Her character is very excited as an archaeologist and she is able to view things analytically though at the same time she is guided by faith and religion. This isn't to say one can't be logical but still have faith or belief in some greater power or force that is beyond human scope but she uses her faith as a crux in certain parts of the film which leads us to wonder how she can still view the world in a certain way after what she experiences. Charlize Theron, as Weyland Corporation employee Meredith Vickers, plays the tough-as-nails character to an Ellen Ripley-esque point. She has her orders from Weyland Corp and isn't afraid to assert her authority over the rest of the crew when necessary. Though the expedition is for Shaw and Holloway, she lets them know none of this would be possible without Weyland Corp's help. Idris Elba plays Janek, the captain of the Prometheus. Little is known about his background though he appears to be flying the ship for a job and nothing more. He is one of the few people who will stand up to Vickers when necessary. Logan Marshall-Green as Charlie Holloway gives a decent performance though nothing special. I kept thinking throughout the film how much he looks like Tom Hardy, which just begs the question if Hardy wasn't playing Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, would he have been in this role instead? The remaining minor characters play the roles they're set out to do although they make certain choices that frustrate the viewer but mostly just move the plot along.
Now for the bad part of Prometheus. I guess I really shouldn't say bad as this is not a terrible film by any means. Had certain plot holes been filled in, this film could be something great. The biggest problem I have is that Scott and screenwriters Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts have these great concepts and questions that are asked early on in the film and they mostly get left behind by the end of it. It's almost as if he started to make a movie in the Alien universe but wound up ending it so that it could be a direct prequel if nothing else were to happen. I can understand why some of the decisions were made but it leaves the viewer confused as to what kind of movie we are really watching here. There are also some inconsistencies with certain characters that I would not have expected to see from a director of Scott's caliber (then again, I guess the same could be said for George Lucas and the Star Wars prequels). There is a scene in particular where a character shows up out of nowhere and no one really questions why it happened or for what reasons.
When it is all said and done, Prometheus ends up just being an average summer blockbuster. Though the acting is mostly top-notch and the visuals are downright amazing, the plot and subsequent questions the film leaves us with drag it down enough to keep it from becoming something bigger. Supposedly Fox didn't put a leash on Ridley Scott as far as cutting the film so who knows if a director's cut will be in the works when the film is released on DVD and Blu-Ray. I somehow don't think a director's cut could help bridge the gaps the film suffers from. This works neither as an Alien prequel nor as a film in the same universe. Maybe if Prometheus does well enough, we'll get either a sequel to it or a true prequel to Alien. After seeing this though, perhaps it is best to just leave this universe alone and have Scott move on to new original projects.
This is totally not an Alien prequel. Why would you think that? Silly you.
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