Does Prometheus live up to the hype? With my 3D specs on I was prepared for anything…Almost!
Popping the 3D specs on, it was slightly wishful to think director Ridley Scott was going back to his early film making roots, to the stories and genre that made his name famous. As an admirer of his earlier sci-fi films, I went in hoping this would finally wipe clean his unremarkably dull form of films he’s had recently, not since Gladiator has he been truly impressive. Prometheus, sees this prequel to the Alien series, which follows the members of the spaceship Prometheus travel to a distant world after identical clues of humanities origins are uncovered in ancient ruins around our home planet. However, when they arrive to find answers to our existence, they encounter species and dangers out to jeopardise the mission and test our heroes to their own endurance.
I’ve always said, the trick behind great science fiction cinema is to carry out an idea to the audience that you wouldn’t find in any other genre. That’s why Scott’s early films such as the original Alien and Blade Runner were so interesting because it raised the questions of identity, sense of purpose and whether mechanical beings can formulate souls to co-exist within human groups.
There are drips and drabs of some of these ideas, there’s one lovely moment in which David; the ships android (Fassbender), is asked why he’s putting on an oxygen suit for their first exploration, in which his response is so to make his fellow crew feel comfortable around him, as they voyage into unknown terrain, which beautifully harbours back to those early Scott films in a nostalgic way. However, addressing the bigger idea of meeting our maker and discovering once and for all where we come from as human beings, weirdly gets stretched way too far to encapsulate a well rounded story. Constant conversations of who we’ll meet, what we’ll find, who made us and even the questioning of wearing a crucifix necklace certainly adds to the intrigue, but it never pays off in a satisfying way.
The effects are terrific, swooping baron wastelands and worshipping temples, tied in with the not overly extravagant technological gizmos of the not too distant future adds to the viewing pleasure. The oddly downside however, is that the film is really not that scary, which is a strange feeling considering the marketing campaign for the film had swung more towards that aspect. Maybe I was expecting to see people getting picked off one by one by a rampaging beast, or seeing oozing alien slime splat towards my 3D glasses, but covering your eyes and tensing your cheek bones in anticipation of an alien scream piercing down your ear drums – which never materialises.
Some of the performances are played well though, not least Michael Fassbender as David. An android walking eloquently with his kept hair and newly learned Lawrence Olivier dialect, Fassbender delivers the right mix of charm and quenched jealousy of his inferior colleagues. Dr Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) has the most intrigue with a small sense of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley about her, being the radical female hero and interesting character, including a squeamish, yet at the same time, engrossing moment of self operating to remove a not too friendly discovery from her womb. Also, Charlize Theron is good as the hard faced corporate agent seeing over the mission and Guy Pearce encased in the most convincing prosthetics that results in a good hard think to realise it’s actually him.
It’s not perfect yet it’s not drastically bad, it’s very much goes in the category of your standard no frills space adventure rather than any horror or ideas laden sci-fi. It’s a sign that Scott still very much knows his expert genre, and a sign that maybe, just maybe, Ridley Scott can still produce quality on screen.