Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: Prometheus (2012)


“Big things have small beginnings.”

Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Idris Elba Logan Marshall-Green and Michael Fassbender
Writers: Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof

Prometheus was a movie I was looking forward to, it was a movie that many people were looking forward to. For me it was the promise of Ridley Scott returning to a universe which I loved, I respect him as a director and his promise of exploring the same universe but not doing a direct prequel was intriguing. Yet the movie has hit and split the audience in twain. So where do I stand?

Simply put, I love this movie. I got a very good movie that just fails to take that final step to becoming a great movie. It’s a story that asks many questions about not only the origin of humanity, but if we could handle the answers if found. There are ties to the Aliens movies; more than Ridley Scott admitted to; but this is not an Alien film and a lot of people who go into the movie with those expectations are most likely to be disappointed.

Ridley Scott weaves a fantastically visual film that uses 3D to its fullest; some of the opening shots are just jaw dropping with their majesty. Scott has always had a keen eye and shows that he hasn’t lost a drop of his talent. I can understand that 3D does make people roll their eyes, but in the hands of a cinema great you finally realise how powerful the technology can be. Add to that the love and care that is taken with all the effects from CGI to practical, you have a movie that needs to be seen on the big screen.

Acting wise we get some top notch performances. The one name you’re going to hear more than anything else is Michael Fassbender as the robot David 8. You never know exactly what is going on in the brain of David as he is both helpful and playing his own game, a pawn being used and a new being on the verge of self discovery. Not bound by any human morals he comes across as alien in thought if not in look. It’s a fascinating role for Fassbender as how characters interact with him, answers questions the humans are asking of their makers. His turn eclipses the good work of others. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) at first seems like a Ripley replacement, but where Ripley was a worker, she’s a scientist who is both hunting for the truth while trying to retain a grasp of her faith. She is the soul of the film.

Charlize Theron, Idris Elba and the others all do great a great job as well. However unlike David or Elizabeth they aren’t given as much to do. This is where the main flaw starts coming through with Prometheus, in respects to writing it seems Lindelof and Spaihts can’t juggle the amount of people in the film. People have their moments, and the actors bring their A game, but you can’t do a lot with a script that does leave them hanging. In some respects I think Ridley Scott might have tried as well to flesh out other characters with some visual quirks. In fact I’m curious to see the Directors Cut that’s already been announced for Blu Ray.

So the script, it lets down the movie. It raises questions; it introduces mysteries, but never really pays anything off. I think thanks to the actors and Ridley Scott there are answers to be found, and in those regards there aren’t really plot holes, but you have to really dig deep into the movie to get them. This will turn a lot of people away from the movie. It’s easy to blame Lindelof as we’ve seen similar problems in his other works, but there were two writers here. Another writing problem is the dialogue. The actors are good so they get through it, but man do some of the lines just induce cringe worthy shudders. It’s ham fisted for a movie that’s trying to be a thoughtful science fiction movie.

As I said in the beginning I love this movie. It’s so close to being a great movie it drives me insane and if there was a better script it would have all the tools. Still Ridley Scott is a master and manages to make a movie that is still worthy of your time. In an era of Science Fiction movies that are more intent on loud explosions, it’s nice to have a more thoughtful film out there. Even if the story doesn’t gel with you it’s still worth going to see this in 3D has it’s truly a joy to watch as a master uses a new technology to it’s fullest.

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