Wednesday, 13 June 2012


I have never seen a film from the Alien series all the way through, none of them have ever appealed to me. I'm not a huge fan of Sigourney Weaver and I'm not a huge fan of Sci-Fi films in general. Despite having no prior relationship with the Alien series, I have been hugely excited for the prequel for quite some time. Hyped up by an incredible cast and one of the best trailers of the year, I finally saw Prometheus last night.

*WARNING* Features descriptions and images which contain spoilers.
Ridley Scott // 2012 // 15 // 124 mins

The year is 2093, a crew of 17 are headed to a distant planet that bears strikingly similar conditions to our own. Defying both religion and Darwinism they hope to find a race of 'Engineers' that they believe to be responsible for human existence, what they actually discover is far more disturbing, leading them to death and the potential destruction of our world.

The story being woven here is relatively linear, and unfortunately the narrative never transcends into the epic story it believes itself to be. Almost all character development and preceding plotlines become painfully neglected once the crew encounter the holographic re-enactment of large figures in elephant-like armour that leads them to the chamber containing the much anticipated nasties. From here the films focus centres primarily on the effects these vaginal-looking terrors have on the various affected members. We see bodily changes and brutal deaths galore as team leader Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) campaigns to leave the dangers of this planet. With such a rich exposition built up throughout the films first half it is extremely disappointing that it never truly delivers on everything it promises, exchanging narrative progression for intense and awe-inducing action set-pieces.

While the narrative suffers from recurring lulls in depth the same could never be said of the visuals. Prometheus is beautiful. From the white-washed, glass floored interiors of the Prometheus ship itself, to the darkly ornate structures and murals which inhabit the crews destination, the film boasts some truly spectacular imagery. Janty Yates costume design is flawless, providing the perfect mix futuristic chic and practicality, while brilliantly evading the trap of trying too hard to evoke the distant setting unlike, say, The Fifth Element. Furthermore, Ridley Scott excels in the 3D format, taking cues from its exceptional use in Avatar, but injecting some much-needed subtlety, creating atmosphere, brilliant visual depth, and never detracting from the viewing experience. All of these aspects come together perfectly in one particularly stunning sequence featuring Michael Fassbender's David exploring a holographic galaxy.

And it is Michael Fassbender who steals the show here, his performance as the android David is enthralling. Encapsulating the character fully, Fassbender's movements, tone of voice, and overall presence are superbly evocative of everything an android is expected to be. Charlize Theron, hot off of her stint as Ravenna in Snow White and the Huntsman, once again proves she is utterly compelling despite shaky writing and an undesirable character, whilst Noomi Rapace brings true heart to a rather shallow protagonist and carries the weight of such an epic production with relative ease.

The film boasts some fantastic CGI, constructing alien creatures that are both beautiful and terrifying. The transformation of Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) is genuinely disgusting and an operation sequence involving Rapace is painfully visceral. All of the creature effects are fantastic, from the stunningly rendered 'Engineers' to the monstrous squid creature. Of course the reveal within the final shots is the most anticipated, and is brilliantly handled, but due to a lazy script is lacking in context and feels more 'tacked on' than a natural progression of the story.

Prometheus is an epic. It is epic in scale, production and wonderment. Unfortunately, for all its striking images and enjoyable performances the story never allows it to fully flourish. When exploring such large and controversial subjects as faith and human creation it is integral to deliver, at the very least, a solid narrative, and Prometheus has fine-tuned that familiar problem of invoking far more questions than it cares to answer.

No comments :

Post a Comment