Review: Prometheus

9 Jun

Another sci-fi prequel?

Normally the movies I review are older and cheesier, but since cutting the cable a few months ago I’ve been struggling a bit in the post-SyFy world I now live in (thank God for Netflix, or I’d be completely devoid of gloriously cheesy movies in my life). With that said, I figure I’d take a look at a movie that *just* came out and, in fact, isn’t terribly cheesy after all.

Spoiler warning
I’ll try not to reveal (what I consider to be) any major plot points, but be forewarned.

After an extended absence from the genre, Ridley Scott is back with a new sci-fi movie, Prometheus. Whether it’s the spiritual or actual predecessor to his seminal film Alien I’ll leave for you to decide – though I did think it was pretty clear what it was.

In the intermediate future, after discovering art from various ancient civilizations all showing the same celestial map, a ship is dispatched to the faraway planet the paintings depict in search of answers. Things don’t go as planned (who would have guessed).

Noomi Rapace (Sherlock Holmes, Dragon Tattoo) plays the Sigourney Weaver role this time around – and this time the heroine is a spiritual scientist with a theory that Darwin might not have gotten things quite right. Charlize Theron plays the expedition leader, though the role seemed limited considering her billing. The acting is good all around, with two performances standing above the others. Rapace has shown remarkable range in the past (seriously, go watch her as Lisbeth Salander in the “The Girl With…” movies and then watch her here – it’s hard to fathom they’re the same person). She gets a couple of great scenes to work with, including a squirm-inducing medical scene (let’s just say she’s *very* pro choice). And Michael Fassbender does an admirable turn as the android David, a robot with a penchant for Laurence Olivier films.

As for the story itself, parts of the plot do plod along – I couldn’t help but feel that the pacing was a bit off. The directorial choices also baffled me. I’m a fan of inferring, not showing. What made movies like Jaws and Alien great was that they built up to a reveal – you didn’t see the shark or alien right away. That made the payoff greater later on in the movie when you finally did see them. Here, the alien they are searching for is shown in the first scene of the movie – before any humans are introduced. I’m also a fan of the audience learning things as the characters do, and here again the movie makes some baffling choices. Rather than characters going missing and having us discover their fate along with the others, we know well in advance what happened. It just doesn’t feel the same. There are some twists and turns, but nothing of the truly surprising sort. The foreshadowing is not nearly subtle enough.

All that said, the story itself is a pretty good example of what science fiction should be – using a futuristic world to discuss the human condition. I’ve heard the movie called anti-science, but I think it’s more that the movie uses science to explore mankind’s spirituality. It’s OK to mix the two from time to time.

As you’d expect with a modern, big-budget science fiction film, the effects are top notch and seamless. The 3D process did not, fortunately, make already dark imagery too dark to see (unlike post-production 3D efforts like Alice in Wonderland). It was also just there – you could tell it was 3D but the added dimension wasn’t distracting or jarring. A pleasant viewing experience.

Overall, this is a good science fiction story with heart, acted well, that nonetheless has hiccups in pacing and in some of the writing decisions made. For the sci-fi fan out there and the Ridley Scott fans, a definitely must-see (though by now most of you have probably seen it). For the general movie-goer, I highly recommend it.

8 wriggling tentacles out of 10

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7 Responses to “Review: Prometheus”

  1. phoenixx24 June 10, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    A guy at work hated it with an absolute passion. He loved Alien and thinks Prometheus is possibly the worst film ever made.

    Like

    • thomasserio June 10, 2012 at 11:57 am #

      There are always those that react that way when a film comes out and messes with their pre-conceived view of an established world, especially when it’s a prequel. Look at the reaction a lot of hardcore trekkies had to the JJ Abrams version…

      Like

      • phoenixx24 June 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

        True. I just objected because of the lens-flares every 5 seconds. 😛

        Like

  2. Jason Wong June 11, 2012 at 6:54 am #

    Ugh, I just spent an hour replying with my review of the movie, and I couldn’t log into WordPress…

    Like

    • thomasserio June 11, 2012 at 6:57 am #

      Ouch…

      Like

      • Jason Wong June 11, 2012 at 7:07 am #

        Short review then: Great visuals, bad script, Rapace & Fassbender excellent, watch Spoony’s review for hilarious but dead-on nitpicks: http://bit.ly/L7ga4b

        Like

  3. Broonage June 11, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    Saw this last night, 6/10 for me. Visually stunning with so much potential, but I kind of didn’t “get it”…tons of questions and possible plot holes…they could have had more epic fight scenes and creepy crawlies. I also didn’t like the idea of the origin of the Alien species…I much prefer the secrecy or at least that they are an ancient race….

    Like

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