Cinema Review: Prometheus
Currently on General Release at UK Cinemas.
What is Prometheus about? Is it a prequel, a spin-off, a stand alone movie; is it a reboot or all of the above? Well Sir Ridley Scott’s movie, after months of speculation finally answers some of these questions.
Set during the late 21st Century, the Weyland Corporation funds an expedition to follow an ancient star map which was discovered by various ancient Earth civilizations that may offer clues to the origins of the human race. Led by Weyland employee Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) the crew of Prometheus which includes Dr Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) uncover something so dangerous, horrifying and sinister that it could potentially wipe out humanity. Will the representatives of Planet Earth overcome and fight the future or is it too late for humanity as we know it!!!!
Prometheus is to Alien as Millennium is to The X-Files – set in the same mythological universe, working perfectly well as a stand alone movie with no need to have watched the original Alien film; and with a few nods to the franchise this feel more like a spin-off rather than a prequel. If, however you’re expecting a return to the claustrophobic atmosphere of Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic, then prepare to be disappointed as Prometheus’ DNA shares very little Alien in terms of its mood and make up.
Technically Prometheus looks to be top notch in every area. It is well made, looks fantastic on the screen (yes even in 3D), sets are amazing – everything looks almost faultless. Unfortunately there are a few problems mainly from the ‘ordinary’ performances and run of the mill storyline.
The performances from the leads are good, solid but frustratingly safe. Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) will inevitably be compared to Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley but the truth is the only common factor they share are that they are women (obviously). In reality Rapace, for all her talent offers nothing new in terms of the ‘female heroine’ role as it is played efficiently but with a feeling of staying ‘very safe’.
Charlize Theron (The Devil’s Advocate, Young Adult) looks beautiful (as per usual) as Vickers and she could be classed as a ‘villain’ of sorts as Weyland’s Corporation Representative (never trust the Company and the employees with their orders and hidden agendas) but yet again, like Rapace, even though the performance is solid, it feels a tad uninspiring and very safe.
The support from the rest of the cast including Logan Marshall-Green (Devil) as Charlie Holloway, Dr Shaw’s love interest; Idris Elba (Takers, The Losers), as the ships captain and Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential, The Proposition) as old man Peter Weyland are themselves fine. So it’s up to that man Michael Fassbender (Shame) to be named as the stand out performer playing the android David who admires and attempts to imitates Peter O’ Toole’s T. E. Lawrence actions and speech – by far the best performance in the movie.
The shroud of secrecy that surrounded everything regarding this movie including the story has come back to bite everyone in the ass. Great marketing campaigns, viral internet videos to slowly drip feed fan boys (yes people like me), top secret press conferences in London revealing ‘preview footage’ – (see Simon Lord’s Feature on Prometheus (Somewhat) Unbound) all added to the hype. More questions were being asked – no answers were given. Speculation, gossip, rumours was just adding to enthuse us all. What did we get? In essence a bog standard story which frankly did not justify the over-the-top secrecy.
So has Prometheus suffered because of this? Well yes in terms of the final film but those clever Execs at Fox have definitely got people interested and chomping at the bit to see this so it may not matter as much if the movie is not great. After all – it is a numbers game.
While Prometheus fails to live up to the hype it is essentially a good film – not great, just good. It’s entertaining and worth watching but if you’re expecting an amazing movie prepare to be disappointed so in this case it best to lower expectations.
FMV Rating ***