To say I’ve been a little bit excited about this film coming out would be perhaps somewhat of an understatement. I am a huge Ridley Scott fan and of the efforts he has made in the genre of science fiction, both films are in my all time top fifty*.
What with experimental Twitter campaigns and a whole bunch of different trailers (some perhaps giving away a bit too much for my liking) – excitement was at fever pitch. The question is: did it live up to the hype?
I think I can quite safely say, for me at least: Yes. It did.
However, Prometheus is not perfect. Not by any stretch. In fact, at one point in the film (after probably the most intense scene of 2012 to date) I let out an audible ‘WTF?’ when something pretty major just gets brushed to the side without question… Just, mental. But, as an immersive return trip to the shadowy world of the Weyland Corporation and everything around and therein, Prometheus wins.
We’ve been too long without a decent return trip to this universe of morally ambiguous androids and engineers. Admittedly, seeing the film in 3D at Britain’s biggest cinema (London’s BFI IMAX) definitely helped, but Scott’s hand and vision is clear throughout and we, the audience, benefit for it. Much has been lauded in the past about Ridley’s attention to detail, his penchant for creating actual things that exist in real time and space (as opposed to leaning too much on the sometimes clunky and too easy to spot CGI), and rightly so. Fans will be pleased to hear that, in Prometheus, that reputation continues unabashed.
Everything from the space suits (SUIT UP!) through to the choice of spatulas in the mess kitchen (no joke) has been thought through and it shows. That’s not to say that the film is CGI free, of course it can’t be, however, when employed, it too excels.
That’s the visuals taken care of, what of the cast?
Michael Fassbender is perfect casting as the ship’s resident android, David. Cold, quiet and utterly believable – it’s actually really hard to put a definition on what it is exactly that he does that nails the dead-behind-the-eyes, only-human-in-appearance robot. He’s part H.A.L., part Pinocchio and very, very well done. Good job.
Noomi Rapace, as the conflicted scientist and Ripley heir apparent, Dr Elizabeth Shaw, is also brilliant and shines here in her first (proper) English-speaking role. Shaw’s story-arc is probably the best and most interesting of all and, after one particularly harrowing scene, the entire theatre was on the edge of their collective seats – myself included – just waiting to see what she would do next. Arresting stuff.
Charlize Theron does well also, as does Idris Elba, but special mention must go to Brit-actor-playing-an-American number two, Rafe Spall. I had no idea he was in Prometheus so it was a pleasant surprise to see his face pop up out of cryo-sleep 15mins in. I’ve seen him in stuff before and I am a fan; his comedy grin helping him steal the short scenes that he appears in, wonderfully.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE STORY, JAMES?
Well, yes. Quite.
The tagline ‘The search for our beginning could lead to our end’ is pretty spot on. There are obviously Alien elements throughout and, when the film closes, there is no doubt left as to where we came from and, maybe more importantly, where the eggs are laid for the Nostromo and her crew over the years ahead. Yes, there are a couple of gaping plot holes (and some really dumb ass character decisions), yes some of the scripting is on the clunky side but, oh my, there are some fantastic elements to Prometheus and I am bloody glad I saw it in the way I did.
In fact, I’m actually quite tempted to see it again.
And, while it doesn’t have the depth of suspense or the over-arching wrapper of horror/fear as its predecessor (as it will of course be forever continually compared against), Prometheus is a rather good sci-fi film and – faults aside – is one I would definitely recommend you go see.
*I’m a filmy. I don’t do top tens or top fives. It’s top fifties all the way.