October 14, 2012

Filthy Review - 'Prometheus'

Prometheus (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

The weight of expectation can fall so heavily on the shoulders of a film, that regardless of the finished product, it can almost crush the film. Over 30 years since Ridley Scott directed the groundbreaking Alien, he returns to the same world to tell a story of events that happened before Alien. Is it an Alien film, no not really, but it is very much a part of bigger story and I would definitely call it a prequel. I don’t care what anyone else says about that.

When it was announced that Ridley Scott would be directing Prometheus I remained cautious, I didn’t get swept up in the hype and as things progressed, and the movie finally saw its theatrical release, I avoided any sort of reviews or in depth analysis of the film. Of course, I watched the previews; it was hard to avoid them, but my intention was to go into the film with an open mind, knowing as little about it as possible. That is my intention for this review as well. Why should I spoil the story, in effect taking any surprise away and instilling a preconception of what you will, or will not, see. I’ll be brief, and I will be vague, in terms of the story, giving the bare minimum away. I enjoyed the film far more not knowing really what to expect.

The basic plot of the film, and it is hard to strip the plot down as this is a big movie, is that a group of scientists make a discovery which leads them to travel to the moon LV-223, where they hope to find the origins of mankind. Due to the moon’s distance from Earth the entire crew of the ship Prometheus are put in stasis for the duration of the 2 year flight. Keeping an eye on things is David (Michael Fassbender) who, in keeping with Alien and Aliens, is an android, and integral to the plot. Leading the mission, on the scientific side of things, is Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), with the captain of the ship being Janek (Idris Elba) and representing the Weyland Corporation, who is funding the expedition, is Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron).

Prometheus is a film that is big on scope and even bigger on ideas, and I have to say that these worked tremendously for me. This is a film that made me think, and I got totally wrapped up in the story, so much so that even with a running time of just over two hours I felt the film could have run longer. The film still leaves plenty of room for expansion of the story, and I honestly hope Scott does indeed return to this world soon.

Visually, the film is absolutely spectacular, especially on Blu-ray; it is a visual feast with the attention to detail being superb. There’s no crappy CGI here, instead it is state of the art and reveals no flaws in its execution. The film manages to marry up the visual aspect to an intelligent script and keep things moving along, the whole time never losing the integrity of the plot. In fact, for the first hour the movie was flawless for me. It is only towards the latter stages that I felt there were one or two unnecessary moments that felt a little out of place and broke the flow. Even with these moments though it still managed to have me enthralled and I had soon forgotten about them.

So, the script and visual aspects of Prometheus were nailed, what about the cast then? Fortunately this area is spot on too, especially Fassbender as David, who gives a truly wonderful performance. Theron has proved once again that she is a really versatile actress, and is great as Meredith. Noomi Rapace gives a really human performance as Elizabeth, and gives the script more resonance with delicate, yet strong, turn. In fact all the cast are spot on, aside from one or two characters that border on comic relief.

With a film having the expectation levels placed on it, such as this one has, it is bound to not please everyone. In fact, I can’t imagine a film being more divisive for audiences, and it is going to be down to each individual viewer as to what they get from it. On the case it promises that questions will be answered and to a degree they are, but don’t expect everything to be cut and dry.

Prometheus, to me, was absolutely stunning. I’ve suffered through the Alien franchise being slowly ripped apart by poor sequels and spin-offs over the years, and although this is not an Alien movie per se, it is part of the same bigger picture, and for me was a great success. I will watch Prometheus many more times in the future, of that I am sure, as I thought it was wonderful.

Prometheus is available on Blu-ray and DVD now from 20th Century Fox.

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