Movie Review: Prometheus

Prometheus starring Noomi Rapace

Warning: Spoilers!

Hi guys – i’m back after a long absence. This time i’ll be more varied in terms of reviews – i won’t be monotonous and go series by series – i’ll jump around a bit and throw in some more film reviews too!

First up: Prometheus. I covered Alien and Aliens last year, and as you may remember, i have a high opinion of both. I haven’t covered alien 3 or alien: resurrection yet, as my memory of both is a little shaky. As for the AVP (alien vs. predator) movies – those films are a disgrace to the franchise with some of the worst directing ever seen. Seriously – you’d be better off with the video game – far more tense and with characters which are easier to care about. Prometheus exists in the same universe as a prequel, with Ridley Scott returning to direct. Along with the fact Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron were starring in the film, this gave everyone hope that it would finally be a worthy successor to Aliens. Was it? No. But it beats the sequels and spin-offs, that’s for sure.

The plot? A group of scientists aboard the spaceship Prometheus travel to a distant planet in search of ‘Engineers’ who protagonists Shaw (Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) believe created the human race. The Engineers prove to have used the planet as a testing center for bio-weapons, and the shadowy Weyland-Yutani corporation has it’s own agenda after financing the expedition. It’s a bit too predictable – you know which characters are going to die at certain points (though the film does at least make you believe no one is getting out of the ending alive). The visuals are stunning throughout, with the alien planet, the engineers and the spaceships all looking very cool and believable.

Fassbender is the highlight of this film. His performance as the android David is perfect, and you’re never entirely sure of his motivations throughout. Rapace is good as Elizabeth Shaw, but Ripley comparisons are unavoidable, and she simply isn’t as charismatic or strong as Sigourney Weaver was – though this is more the script’s fault than Rapace’s. Idris Elba (Captain Janek) and Charlize Theron (Meredith Vickers) give good performances as the pragmatic captain and the manipulative executive respectively.

While the lead performances are good, the problem is that the rest of the scientific team, while amusing and good cannon fodder – simply aren’t very believable – especially Fifield and Milburn – who clearly wouldn’t be trusted on a school field trip, nevermind a mission to outer space. All the characters in Alien and Aliens were very well defined – believable workers or marines respectively. This film lacks that touch. It also misses the suspense factor. Dallas hunting the alien in the vents in the first film or the marines getting ambushed in the reactor in the second were extremely tense sequences. This one isn’t on the same level. It has one very disturbing sequence (Shaw performing a C-Section to remove an alien growing inside her) but while there are plenty of violent character deaths and disturbing visuals, few can genuinely scare or shock you. Part of the problem is that you probably won’t care about the characters, part is that the environment isn’t dark or claustrophobic enough to generate tension, and part is that the musical score (apart from one or two sequences) doesn’t match James Horner or Jerry Goldsmith’s and simply isn’t tense enough.

The engineers don’t get as much screen time as you feel they should have – and thus don’t leave as much of an impact as the aliens did. The sole purpose of the one we encounter being to kill off about half the cast in the final 30 mins, and they have a overly short 30 second confrontation with Shaw. The final scene of a proto-alien being born is suitably creepy – pity there weren’t more scenes like that. The film raises more questions than answers – questions that will hopefully be answered in the upcoming sequel. However I’m currently more excited by the rumours about a possible Alien 5 (and perhaps a Ripley return…).

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Overall a decent attempt to recapture the magic of the first two alien films – the lead actors and visuals were superb, but a lack of suspense, predictability and a somewhat lackluster score from Marc Streitenfeld mean it is merely ‘good’.

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