The Stickman Reviews : Prometheus.
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As we've come to expect from Ridley Scott, regardless of the overall quality of his films they are always very pretty, and Prometheus is one of the most visually pleasing films I've seen in a long, long time. Literally from the opening shot of the film, you will be drawn into the rich, vibrant yet bleak world we explore over the course of the movie. Whether you're in the...oddly familiar looking interior of the good ship Prometheus, or soaring behind it in always beautiful depths of space the film looks fab...and we haven't even gotten to the meat and potatoes of the visual spender yet! Yes, as you may have guessed the real artistic wonders lay on the planet itself, mainly within the mysterious structure that takes up most of the films running time. I'm not sure what the extent of H.R Giger's involvement was in this film but regardless it's clear that his work on Alien was the inspiration for this place and it shows in the truly exceptional set design on display here, without spoiling the details (Not that the trailers haven't already done that) your eyeballs will never be left bored for a moment regardless of location and when you throw in the awe-inspiring depth and splender of the 3D, which the movie was actually filmed in rather than converted into...they may just explode.
When the line-up for this film was announced, you'll have forgiven me for getting even more excited than I already was...I mean, come on? Fassbender, Elba, Rapace, Theron, Pierce, Wilson? That's a damn fine team of actors, and whilst one of these people isn't in it quite as much as you'd hope, and another is basically what you'd call a cameo, overall the AAA cast delivers superbly as you'd expect. I'll get to Fassbender in a bit but for now I'm going to talk about Elba, Rapace and Theron. Rapace, better known as Noomi Rapace of the Sweedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fame takes the lead role as Elizabeth Shaw, an archeologist, who along with her lover Charlie Holloway travels to a far-away planet in search of answers to the mystery of our creation. Accompanying them is Theron, playing Meredith Vickers, the no-nonsense stern coporate rep for the expedition, which has been financed by the Weyland Corporation (Ring any bells?) at the helm of the ship is Elba, Idris Elba who plays Janek. Whilst there are numerous other characters on board the ship (Including Benedict Wong who I'm pretty sure played the exact same background character in Sunshine), these are the guys and gals who make the film what it is all of them delivering stellar performances that clearly display the passion they had for this film. Oh...but that's someone I'm forgetting...someone...a bit more...robotic...
Ohhohohoh...yes, good old Fassy! We can always rely on him to steal the show these days, and he is by far the most engaging and interesting character in the whole film which is odd, seeing as he's a robot...but maybe that's the point really. I'm sure we all know by now that Fassbender is one of the rising stars in cinema at the moment and this really was his time to shine, playing the role of David, the obligatory android onboard the ship, He is easily my favourite Alien/TotallyNotAlienPrequel franchise Android, and, let's face it, there are a lot to choose from. He does cute, funny, creepy, scary...all of these things and so gracefully and...well...robotlike...it's freaky, yet amazing as well. Easily the best performance of the film, unless you're counting Iceland, which performs sterlingly. BEEN THERE by the way.
These days films of this genre are all so keen on throwing you right into the action without any build-up or tension, but, like Alien before (or...after?) it, Prometheus takes its time to throw the shit at the fan, taking possibly an hour before things really kick off, so to speak. Don't get me wrong, the film is never boring by any means, by kick off, I mean earn its 15/R rating. The film starts off by introducing chacters, setting the story, then setting the scene, and the teasing you a little before finally going BABOOM LOOK AT ALL THIS SHIT MAN. It's refreshing to have a film that takes its time to build up tension and intregue, and you'd expect no less from the creator of Alien and Blade Runner.
I'll get to the actual similarities between Alien and Prometheus in a little bit, but regardless of that, they've made it very clear indeed that this is a film set deep in the Alien universe, and they're not afraid to show this, both subtly and not so subtly. In the not so subtle department we have the major inclusion of the Weyland Corporation, what will go on to become Weyland Yutani in Aliens. You've got the ship above which contains a similiarly iconic and familiar sight, and whilst I won't spoil the relevance of these similarities for you, it's nice to see such memorable designs back on the big screen (Not that I was born when Alien was at the Cinema). In the more subtle department, we have a lot of visual teases, or what some butthurt people will probably call trolls that allude to both your expectations and memories of the sights and shapes of certain similiarly iconic objects or beings...? They're very subtle and may even be unintentional, but considering the links to the films, I'd say they were intentional. One which I will talk about, since I don't think anyone else has yet spotted this, is the inclusion of a piece of classical music right towards the start of the expedition, David listens to a tune that will possibly be familiar to anyone who's spent a lot of time watching Alien (Maybe even just the Directors Cut), in particular the original paranoid android, Ash. There's one or two spoilertacular tie-ins that I will not even begin to describe but I will say these two things, 1, we haven't seen these in any of the trailers, and 2, they've made stupid hardcore Alien fanboys very angry. So that's fun.
Whilst this is indeed a film deeply rooted in the Alien universe, you should not go in expecting a film that is similiar in style to Alien, or even any of its sequels. Prometheus is its own film, and if you can live to except that, you wil have a blast because it's also a fantastic film regardless of your knowledge of the Alien franchise. I'd describe it best as a Sci-Fi epic, rather than a horror or action film really, but regardless of its genre it will draw you in with its outstanding visuals, tense atmosphere and engaging cast. Whilst I would of probably bummed a straight up Alien prequel, I can say without a doubt that I am not disappointed that Prometheus has done its own thing, and if you're going into the film only wanting another Alien, then you should turn around and leave because this isn't for you.
The biggest let-down for me leaving Prometheus was the horror, and both the sheer lack of it and disappointing utilisation of what little was there. I'd go so far as to say the trailers are more intense and scary than the entire film because the scares in this are pretty damn pedestrian when not mixed into a pulse-pounding, siren sounding montage. Don't get me wrong, the film is great, but when Ridley Scott, the creator of the original and best Sci-Fi Horror is at the helm for this universical prequel and it's being billed as a horror, I expect to be scared! The film only really has a couple of stand-out shock moments, with one of them probably destined to go down as the "Iconic" scene of the film, and only really resorts to cliche and predictable BOO! scares otherwise. Okay, so clearly horror wasn't the focus of this film, but why then make the trailers so clearly horror orientated? I'd go so far as to say it was false advertising, that lady who sued over the Drive trailer is going to bust a nut over this film.
With the mixed reviews and negative Alien fan reception flooding in, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Prometheus is a huge let-down, but it really isn't, unless you want it to be. Now, this is coming from me, someone who's first majorly popular blog all of 3 years ago here on ScrewAttack was about Alien, I'm a bit of a nut about the franchise and I love Alien to bits, and yes, sure part of the major hype for me with this film was the connections it had with Alien, but I knew enough about this film beforehand to know this wasn't going to be a true Alien film, and I was okay with that, and I watched it, and it's a great film. The problem is, the way this film has been marketed is clearly in the "LOOK IT'S LIKE ALIEN" camp, and a lot of film critics and fans have swanned into the cinema expecting Alien 0 and have come out disappointed or furious at the end result. This is a good film, it's a great film, but it's not Alien by any means, and if you're going into the cinema thinking that, you're going to be let down, and the films marketing is partly at fault for that...although there is some human idiocy to blame there as well.
Not a huge surprise here, Ridley Scott's films have always been more about visuals and character than story, haven't they? I mean, when you get down to it, Alien is the story of a bunch of intergalatic towers fighting off a phallicly shaped creature who burst out of the Elephant Man, it's hardly Oscar winning stuff is it? That said, when you're talking about finding the creator of man you've got a treasure-trove of religious idiology at your disposal, and when you throw in an almost completely human android to the mix, what you shoud have there is a film that makes you think. Prometheus doesn't do that, it wastes the chance to be a deep, meaningful film as well as a pretty, intense and well acted one. It's a shame, the story is good enough to keep the film together but it doesn't take a Lizard Gimp to realise that there was a lot more philosophicing that could of been done here, of course there's a fine balance between being powerful and being pretentious...but still.
Whether or not Prometheus is worth watching depends entirely on your ability to enjoy a film on its own merits and not the hype and expectations you've built around it. It's a great film, but clearly not the one people were all expecting looking at the reviews and the retards at AVPGalaxy. Personally, I feel that if a huge Alien nerd such as myself can enjoy this film, you should all be capable of doing the same. Don't expect Alien, it's got elements of Alien in it for sure but it's not like the film by any means. If you're going to watch this, definetely watch it on the big screen and in 3D because that's the way it's meant to be seen, Ridley Scott is about spectacle, and that's never been clearer but here.
It's been a long time coming, it's been a long road of hype and build-up, and clearly some people aren't happy with the end product. Me personally? I loved it, Prometheus is a fantastic movie and my favourite of 2012 so far (The Avengers is more fun though, obviously) it is NOT, however, Alien. DO NOT expect Alien, if you do, you will be part of the "I was expecting something else so I'm disappointed" club. Prometheus isn't perfect, but no film is, and whilst some people may shoot me down for saying this, it's easily Ridley Scott's best film since Gladiator, and I would say it was better than that as well, although that may be personal taste. It's one hell of a ride and one well worth experiencing should you go in with an open mind and without false expectations. This isn't the rebirth of the Alien movie franchise we're waiting for, but it's the birth of an all new one. And you'll get that pun when you see the movie.
Sorry about the choppiness of this Review gang, I had a hard time describing my opinions on the film without delving into spoiler territory. I hope you enjoyed, E3 coverage starts soon! LATER GATORS!