by / June 1st, 2012 /

Prometheus

Review by on June 1st, 2012

 3/5 Rating

Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron
Running Time: 124 minutes
Certificate: 15A
Release: June 1st

When hype surrounding a film reaches the levels that Prometheus has, it’s incredibly difficult to render an opinion that doesn’t acknowledge it. The long-awaited return of Ridley Scott to a genre he shaped and defined, the possible reignition of a franchise that’s lain dormant for almost fifteen years – it’s hard not to be a little intrigued by what it promises. So – how does Prometheus fare?

Be under no illusion – this is an ALIEN prequel. From the opening credits to the final image, every aspect of this film screams back to the 1979 classic. The horror elements are here and the film is genuinely disturbing in parts. The spacecraft ‘Prometheus’ is en route to an uncharted planet, carrying a motley crew of scientists and pilots. Chief among them are Doctors Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green). They’re archaeologists who have discovered pictograms from ancient civilisations pointing towards aliens who, they believe, created life on Earth. Naturally, as they begin to explore the planet, it becomes apparent that there is something sinister at work – both in the ruins of the planet and on-board the ship itself. The film follows a straightforward plot and there are no true surprises throughout. Indeed, the simplicity of the plot works in its favour, however the dialogue is what drags Prometheus down. There are far too many scenes that require little or no dialogue, yet the atmosphere is broken by wooden lines and distracting exposition.

It’s to the credit of the cast assembled that they’re not deterred by this. Noomi Rapace plays her role with the tough-yet-feminine grace that she’s known for. Michael Fassbender, playing the chillingly unhuman android David, continues to prove why he is The Greatest Living Irish Actor™ with his scene-stealing performance. The chemistry that Fassbender generates, both with Rapace and Theron, is electric and deeply unsettling. Charlize Theron, who plays a corporate officer with an agenda of her own, radiates with an ice-cold aura that she’s yet to match with previous roles. However the film boils down and rests on Rapace’s performance, which she nails down perfectly.

Ridley Scott’s eye for design hasn’t diminished over the years. The ship’s corridors and lighting harken back to ALIEN’s sterile-white interiors and function-over-form designs. The film’s central flaw is in the dialogue and the script itself. Prometheus went through several drafts before arriving at what’s presented now. Jon Spaihts, who wrote the disgraceful Darkest Hour, was undoubtedly responsible for the clunky dialogue that permeates the first half of the film. The second half, which we can assume was written by Damon Lindelof, is far more honed and focused. The dialogue, unfortunately, does becoming overbearing very quickly. The characters they’ve created are well-written and the plot is sound, it’s just unfortunate they didn’t take a less-is-more approach with the script.

Prometheus is a solid sci-fi horror film and marks the return of a great director to the genre he built. There are inconsistencies, both in plot and script, but the film’s cast and the stunning visuals mean that these can be, hopefully, overlooked.

  • This is pretty much exactly what I thought of the film. The script is a fatal flaw in the entire project that is aesthetically magnificent and conceptually fascinating, even in its simplicity. There were a few screenplay related things I could’ve done without, one I don’t want to give away (although I found it needlessly tedious in its ‘pop-psychology’), the other was the feeling of being beaten over the head with a never ending and deeply hollow “dialogue” about religion, faith, evolution etc. etc. All the signposts were there in the screenplay, the script did not require a blunt dialogic instrument to force THEME downt he audience’s throat.
    Good job!

  • There’s faults with the film – absolutely – however they’re nowhere near as awful as some make them about to be. The film’s visuals and Scott’s direction does, in my opinion, make up for them.

  • Definitely. From the really Attenborough opening right through to the climactic lauch and battle towards the conclusion, the film is almost visually flawless. It really sticks close to the Giger artwork that fell away as the franchise expanded. Dunno if you saw The Ticket’s review but I think it’s a perfect example of critics giving the film too much of a hard time, seemingly just because the flick didn’t live up to their gargantuan expectations.