Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Film Review: Prometheus - (2012)

Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba, Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce (...just why?)
Running time: 124 minutes
Age Rating: 15
UK release date: June 1st 2012

(Just as a word of warning, this review contains spoilers. So don't say I didn't warn you.)

So here we are. Its coming to the end of the film and at this point I just want it to end. Noomi Repace's character, Shaw, is pleading with the captain of the ship "Prometheus" to stop another ship leaving the planet. For some reason he agrees (which is completely out of character) and begins preparing the Prometheus for flight. The two extra pilots refuse to leave and they all share a moment before manically pressing buttons and mashing on touch screens. In a spectacular visual moment, the ship takes off and begins rapidly approaching the other ship. We know that they wont stop. At this point the music is reaching its peak and at the last moment the captain shouts "Hands off!" as all three characters throw their hands into the air as they smash into the other ship. The result of this is, an explosion that is truly remarkable on a technical level. And in a way, that's sort of a good way to desicirbe what I think of the production and result of the actual film.

Now unless you've been living under a rock this year, you'll  have heard of Prometheus. The totally not a prequel, but is a prequel to Ridley Scott's 1979 film Alien. I've found that the reception to Scott's return to sci fi is extremely mixed, with people either saying they love it or hate it. I fall on the dislike side, yet I feel that the film does posess talent and elements that are truely unique.

Sorry about the extremely long introduction, I'll make the plot synopsis quick. So the story follows Elizebeth Shaw, as she and her husband travel to an uncharted world in search of an alien race thought to be the creators of humanity. Of course they are funded by the mysterious Weyland corporation who seem to have an alternative agenda (I think). So they get to the planet and everything is fine... No of course it isn't, everything goes to hell. My major issue with the film is the plot. It feels completely thrown together and at times makes absolutely no sense at all. Characters do things that are completely illogical and make no sense what so ever. Now I could sit here naming plot holes and dumb character motivations but we'd be here for a very long time. The problem with these is that they are so jarring and obvious that its near impossible not to notice them. This really doesn't help when trying to get into it, I mean even films like The Dark Knight Rises has plot holes but because their so un-noticeable it really doesn't break the flow of the film.

Now I must admit that the visual aspects to the film are impressive. The CG created environments and the ship look stunning, while the use of practical sets is really immersive. This is the man behind Blade Runner and Alien after all. The sci-fi elements of the film are all very fitting, especially the overly bulky space suits that are strangely fashionable. These elements of the film are really well constructed and very atmospheric. The performance of a lot of the cast is also very good. Michael Fassbender is exceptional and stops the film from being as much as a train wreck.

What really gets me about the film, is the complete lack of tension. The original Alien is a master at this, with a slow build up that gets the audience on the edge of it's seat. In Prometheus things just happen. There isn't really a build up or any suspense. For such a big and epic film, it falls down on the most basic elements.

Prometheus is a mess. I'll be the first to admit that it does have a few good elements and talent behind it, but when it all comes together it fails. I feel that the film was made worse by the fact I'm a fan of the original Alien, which Prometheus doesn't even come close in terms of quality. At this point the Blu-ray has been released and it claims to have answers to all the questions. But I doubt that it will answer my question, where did it all go wrong?

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