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Monday, 4 June 2012

Film - Prometheus - directed by Ridley Scott

Star rating – 7/10

Here’s the thing about creating a prequel to an iconic film like Alien, as director Ridley Scott has done. It needs to contain something pretty good because all the shocks and dramatic build up of its successor are already known to the audience. We all remember the scene where the alien life force bursts out of John Hurt’s stomach, so nothing of that ilk, however graphic, will ever be as shocking again.

Prometheus, which is actually the name of the ship, is sent into space to investigate the theory of a couple of scientists, one of whom is a devout Christian, that creatures from elsewhere visited Earth, on the strength of their discovery of some ancient cave paintings. The mission is made possible by the backing of a rich corporation, and its tycoon owner, who was eager to find out the origins of humankind.  

With a title like this, referring to the Greek God who, as legend has it, created humankind and fire alike, and with a set up positing religious belief against atheism, I fully expected some big themes to be explored here. But disappointingly Scott sets them up but does not really develop them at all. And there are no long sequences with nothing much in the way of action, but which are big on plot development, to ramp up the scare factor as in Alien. It’s wham bam thank you ma’am in terms of getting straight into the action, and plot is the sacrificial lamb here. 

But to dwell on the positive elements of this film for a moment, it has fantastic production values, and for the most part is well acted. Michael Fassbender is terrific as David the robot, who is supposedly helping the crew, but whose motives are more than a little suspect, however sweet his demeanour.  Noomi Rapace is good as Elizabeth Shaw, the Christian scientist, even though her accent wavers disconcertingly between American and Swedish at times.  And I have to say I expected a little bit more sympathy from her fellow crew members at the situation she finds herself in, and how much it must have hurt afterwards – I will say no more than that on the subject.

Scott doesn’t take the time to allow us to feel anything for the crew, so that when the alien terror is unleashed, no real wave of emotion or fellow feeling for them is engendered. But at least it stuck to a couple of hours to entertain us, rather than outstaying its welcome like so many films are want to do these days in order to be considered truly epic. This is a good action film but not much more, which is probably more a credit to the brilliance of Scott’s previous work, than an indictment of this one. 

And before you ask, yes I saw it it 2D - I don't hold with this new fangled nonsense of adding unnecessary additional dimensions to my world. And yes I am now having doubts about my planned trip to the Isle of Skye this summer!!

1 comment:

  1. Mostly agree with the above. Much of the strength of the film comes from the creation of myth around who we are and where the aliens are from. Are we but a mote in Gods eye?

    The inevitable face hugger scenes are enough to make you hide behind your 3D glasses and what Noomi goes through come close to matching Ripley in the earlier (later?) films.

    I also tend to agree with Julia's comment about the lack of empathy with the crew as they're being chomped by variants of nasty aliens.

    But that said probably the second best of the series and way better than Aliens 3 and 4. But be careful what you drink and avoid that trip to the Isle of Skye!

    I loved Charlize Theron as the not so icy Meredith Vickers with the "are you a robot?" chat up line.