Wednesday 13 June 2012

Film Review: Prometheus

Ridley Scott's Prometheus

This review contains spoilers. Don't say you weren't warned!

Part prequel, part stand-alone feature, Prometheus is part triumphant return and part missed opportunity by director, Ridley Scott. With an impressive cast, a multitude of iconic images and a genuinely scary host of squelchy extra-terrestrials, Prometheus is a solid and impressive film.

Whilst it isn't a tense and suspenseful as Alien, Prometheus has a lot going for it; it's sprawling vistas of the alien world the scientific expedition get drawn to, the towering head deep inside the alien ship, the dazzling holograms and technology. It all contributes to a film that feel authentically 'science-fiction' feel. Scott's talent for drawing the audience in with breathtaking cinematic's is as evident here as it was in Alien or Gladiator. Whereas other science-fiction blockbusters like Avatar were drenched in lush green and neon purples, Prometheus stands out because of its gloomy blacks and deep dark shadows.

Revolving around the age-old idea of where we come from and how we got here, Scott's latest epic is less about a giant acid-spitting space-bug stalking a bunch of scientists, and more about important stuff like mythology and origins. It only achieves this to a certain degree however; whilst the idea itself is solid, the plot can be quite loopy at times, leaving the audience scratching their heads. It is definitely one of those films that needs a recap on 'what actually just happened' afterwards.

Standing front and centre at the front of the show is Noomi Rapace as expedition leader, Elizabeth Shaw. Rapace's role in the second Sherlock Holmes film was sort of understated to say the least, so it is great to see her take the lead here. She gives a fantastic performance, especially in the movie's sickly stand-out scene involving some desperate impromptu surgery.

Likewise, Michael Fassbender's role as android, David, is equally as impressive. He is a chilling mix of passive and malicious intent, his moral compass and motives not being definite to those in the audience.

Charlize Theron's cold and calculating Meredith Vickers aside, the rest of the cast are relatively forgettable or not built upon. Primarily because they're all bug food but also because the film races along at a speed that leaves little time to catch a breath. There are some moments where the pacing is reined in for good effect (I've previously mentioned the surgery scene) but they come far too infrequently.

An aspect in which the film excels was the action set-pieces. Unlike actually being in space, it is unfortunate that in the cinema people can hear you scream. Because if your a scaredy-cat like myself, there are plenty of skin crawling, gore-splattering and tentacle slashing moments to keep you gripping the armrests until your hands drop off.

Something I felt that the film lacked was a memorable score. Thinking back to the film's promotional material and the tense but urgent soundtrack there, it was a little underwhelming for it to be absent in the final film. Also, without going into too much detail, the film leaves the audience hanging too much when the credits roll. If you wanted one self-contained story that was tied up in a neat little bow, then you'll be left feeling a little let down.

The Verdict: 7/10

Overall, Prometheus is solid visually and doesn't disappoint for fans of the Alien franchise, even if it isn't a direct prequel. It's genuinely terrifying and scary in places but the lack of resolution, score and a stop-start pace are downsides.

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