Plot: A group of scientists embark on an adventure through space on the ship known as the Prometheus, after discovering a series of ancient cave paintings that resemble a map which they hope will reveal the truth behind humanity’s existence.
Review: Understandably, Sir Ridley Scott’s long-awaited Prometheus has had high expectations among its fan-zone of the predeceasing franchise Alien; that being so, even when marveling in its standalone masterpiece, many will still feel slightly disappointed by the film that they have waited so long to see. Prometheus has a lot to live up to as it not only is Scott’s return to sci-fi, but it stands next to Scott’s other entries in to this obscure genre, Blade Runner and obviously that of Alien; both considered to be some of the best sci-fi films of all time, despite their mostly cult fan-base. As this is the case, the advice that should be given in any review of Prometheus is to ignore Alien and its other installments completely, as Scott’s visually stunning game may not be entirely clear in its first viewing; where questions are ultimately multiplied even further, and is only a fraction of the prequel that it has been hyped up to be.
One of the biggest references from the original franchise and one that simply cannot be ignored would be that of the infamous Weyland corporation, who assemble our ill-fated team lead by Noomi Rapace’s faith driven Shaw and Logan Marshall Green’s more skeptical Holloway. Many have already considered Rapace’s Shaw to be a less interesting version of Alien‘s Ellen Ripley, and there are comparisons in their characterizations as both have a remarkable survival instinct that results in becoming the film’s heroine. However, Shaw is haunted by an uncertainty of both her love of science and her belief in an unknown creator, feeling that one could disprove the other as she delves further in to uncovering the truth. She could be perceived in many ways as being a victim through the film’s events, a trait that would not be associated with Ripley; however, Rapace’s performance ignores the idea of her character seeming weak due to this, making Shaw seem the most relatable of the team. Although Rapace is only one part of an ensemble that has been chosen carefully to showcase not only talent but also the films twisted plot. Possibly Logan Marshall Green’s most exposed role to date after being virtually unknown shows potential for future stardom in the pragmatic Holloway, a character who’s all too eager to meet his maker. Along with this duo of scientists/lovers, Micheal Fassbender’s incredible performance as android David once again gives evidence that the actor can do no wrong, as the neutral mask that Fassbender conveys for his character only ever hints at the manipulative innocence and complexity that lies underneath. In contrast, Charlize Theron’s ice-queen and Weyland employee Vickers can often feel rather one dimensional, a trademark that seems to be a tradition with the Weyland villains in the franchise which unfortunately seems like a waste of Theron’s talent. Another trademark from many of Scott’s films is also the character of comic relief, conveyed and nicely underplayed in Prometheus by Idris Elba. The remainder of the cast provide pleasant interactions that ultimately enriches the film’s human aspect; which results in the unveiling of a performance by Guy Pearce with his small but unforgettable cameo which will bring closure for fans of the franchise.
A lean and taunting thriller of a sci-fi film, Prometheus faintly hints time and time again of its predeceasing franchise; it goes without saying that the committed fan of Alien will see the slight connections and therefore smile from ear to ear. That is, if they can spot these hardly noticeable references, as it is evident from the moment opening credits appear that Prometheus is very much a stand alone film in its own right. It is true that an individual with no knowledge of the universe that collides between this particular one that Scott has created could view this film without the strong feeling that they were missing something drastically important. Despite this however, Prometheus contains an obvious tug of war between eerie art horror and commercialism. Scott has put in an enormous amount of effort to make this film profound and shocking, which he mostly succeeds in doing; however there are moments when this falters, leaving the viewer to question if certain aspects of the film were added purely to supply a commercial addition in order to connect with a wider audience. Most prominently a certain action scene that has little to nothing to do with the overall story would be an example of this.
What Prometheus might lack in story, it well and truly makes up for visually; by just looking at the trailer this film promises to be visually stunning, and it definitely does not disappoint. From the very first shots of Earth and the manifestation of life to the CGI holograms and design of the planet LV-223 and the ship itself, Prometheus has created a world that is both colourfully imaginative and yet still stays true to its organic horror elements which reflects the story beautifully. Not to mention possibly one of the best examples of 3D technology to be seen in sometime, as it truly justifies and enhances the films aesthetics.
Although it is clear that Prometheus is not by any means perfect, as it often feels as though this cinematic version is a streamline addition in comparison to what Scott would have wanted to present if a wider audience appeal was not an issue. It redeems itself almost entirely with its thoughtful storytelling and remarkable performances by all actors involved. As an avid fan of the Alien franchise, I appreciated the references that the film offered but would again advise others to ignore this franchise and accept Prometheus for what it is. A film that collides within the same world, but also demands an admiration of its very own which thus makes it all the more an enjoyable tale of shocking suspense and terror that stays in the thoughts of the viewer for quite some time.