“The trick is not minding the editing” – Jonesycatpants Reviews Prometheus
After a 30 year hiatus from the genre, Ridley Scott comes back in spectacular fashion as anyone who follows this site knows with great anticipation and fervor.
Prometheus, a summer tent pole event that stands in a crowd of superheros, is a highly ambitious film if only by asking the big and somewhat deep questions “Where do we come from? Why are we here”?
These questions, along with the amazing scenery, cinematography, effects and production design carry the first half of this film very effectively. Although sadly, we only get fleeting glimpses of the film’s beauty and those significant questions are really only touched upon in the rest of the film due to the expedited pacing and deliberate use of over-ambiguity.
The lightning fast pacing also eliminates much of the character development for not only the minor roles but some of the key characters. The pacing really highlights changes in the film’s tone leaving a few scenes feeling forced, jarring, and (dare I say) cheap.
For me, the above criticisms really placed the film in an unfavorable contrast to Sir Ridley’s seminal works of science fiction. All of this is unfortunately bound to leave a bad taste in the mouth of many fans that expected an exact return to form. Whilst a more modern audience not intimately familiar with Ridley’s previous science fiction oeuvre, these issues will be of little concern as this film blows much of “modern” science fiction out the airlock.
Plot wise, many of the elements and questions are shrouded in what felt like misplaced over-ambiguity, whilst other forced and clichéd elements of the film could have greatly benefited from a touch of ambiguity.
Generally the dialogue fits at home in the “Alien” universe with only a few notable schlocky groan inducing exceptions. Trust me, you’ll know when you hear them.
The unanimous reaction to Michael Fassbender’s performance as “David” has been overwhelmingly positive, playing the android with pitch perfect amorality and a sly humor. And the somewhat meta touches of referencing “Lawrence of Arabia” gave the character an interesting quirk.
Fellow headliner Noomi Rapace plays “Elizabeth Shaw” with the raw emotional and physical intensity required of the role, particularly in one unforgettable scene.
Another performance that I think many are overlooking and deserves a mention is Logan Marshal Green’s bro-tastic “Holloway”. His contrasting behavior and actions to the two leads really supported some of the more emotional and intellectual elements of the film.
Another notable performance includes Idris Elba’s “Janek” who provided some of the more humorous light hearted aspects to the film.
The rest of the cast put in a solid effort but generally suffered from lack of character development and some poor dialogue choices– I’m still not sure why Guy Pearce was cast when I’m sure they could have easily gotten Rupert Murdoch to play the part of old man Peter Weyland for free.
The imagery in the movie is far from forgettable– from the stunning Orrery, to the iconic giant head, and to the menacing “Engineers”. The creature designs fit within the framework of the established universe and people’s adverse reactions to the creature design highlight the very human resistance for any sort of change.
The soundtrack by Marc Streitenfeld adequately suits the film. Although as previously pointed out, scoring an orchestral eruption alongside a jump-scare is tantamount to scene suicide itself is a minor issue. The stand out track would be Harry Gregson-Williams “Life” which accompanied the stunning introduction and really set the tone for the film. A highly commendable job by Gregson-Williams.
The visual effects seamlessly interchanged from CGI to practical and back again. This film is easily this year’s most visually arresting and unique film and this alone is worth the admission price. The 3d in the film is a breath of fresh air. I typically have to remove the glasses a few times during a viewing which really detracts from my experience. This time, the subtly and layered way in which the 3d effect is employed in Prometheus is refreshing and I honestly hope other filmmakers take note.
The film ends with a obvious set up to the most bizarre premise for a film anyone this side of Charlie Kaufman could come up with. This is all I have to say about the ending.
In all, I find Ridley’s latest entry into the genre more of a remix than a redefinition– adding parts from Kubrick’s “A Space Odyssey : 2001”, Ridley’s own “Blade Runner” and “Alien”, Cameron’s “Aliens”, Carpenter’s “The Thing” and even George Lucas’s “Starwars”(particularly one offending scene). Mix these elements together and increase the beats per minute, and for better or worse depending on your mileage, what you’ll get is Prometheus.
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