Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Prometheus-The Kino Shout! Review

Prometheus (2012)

Dir. Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charleze Theron, Logan Marshall-Green, Guy Pierce

Verdict: 3.5/5

Great films that are similar: Forbidden Planet , Planet of the Apes, Alien (goes without say)


FAN BOY ALERT: This review shamelessly claims that Alien (1979) is better than Aliens (1986) and may, in fact, even criticise James Cameron.

Okay, so....

There is an old joke-Bane, a Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, and the dude from Memento (2000) walk into film history....stop me if you've heard this one before....

It is said in Prometheus that "a king has his reign, then he dies. It is inevitable." Clearly, Ridley Scott has never considered this statement in relation to himself. Old man Ridley has been drawing in Box office dollars on both worthy and otherwise movies for nigh on 20 years now. So, should he have been invited back to the franchise he created 33 years later?...

....well, yes. Why shouldn't he? After all, he did make the most intelligent one. The old sage waited until his 42nd year to find his film niche-providing genre thrill that work in service of bold narrative and characters.

And, initially, the news is good with Prometheus. In the face of a monumental task Ridley has made some great, old school choices. Ghastly 3d not withstanding, Scott invigorates his return to the Alien universe with the kind of crisp, organic beauty that CGI simply cannot fathom. The opening, worthy of Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life depicts an alien being's tragedy and sets in motion the notion of mysterious ambiguity in the film. The opening is awash with character, too. The film, like the greats of the genre, takes its time to let the characters and intrigue wash over you. We are first introduced to David. Michael Fassbender's android is, ironically, the most charismatic of the crew. David's life would be perfect were it not for those pesky humans weighing him down. He is willfull, dignified, and willing to throw a few wry insults Logan marshall Green's way any day of the week...

Easy task.

As usual with sci fi, it is the human element that causes everything to go so awry. The movie plays almost like a parable of the danger's of over-curiosity. When obsessive archeologist/partners Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Marshall-Green) discover archeological "maps" throughout Earth pointing to what they believe are "engineers" that actually created the human race, they are approved by religious-obsessive Peter Weyland to travel to the mysterious planet indicated in an attempt to "meet our makers." Thus, we are taken on a journey through barren, cavernous beauty that few films can match. Headless bodies, monolithic stone heads, bio-mechanical-looking caverns full of toxic waste, and giant face-huggers abound....seriously! Take into account the film's lofty origin-of-the-species ambition and, you must admit, that sounds pretty appealing...

PROMETHIUS-136 per cent more visually impressive than Avatar (2009)

Of course, as you can imagine, the makers are not as placid and inspiring as our crew would have hoped for. Even hardened skeptic Meredith Vickers (Theron) begins to soil her space-undies just a little bit. But, I must confess, it is also in the second half of the movie that the film begins to falter somewhat. You see, as a flirty exchange between Vicker's and Captain Janek should indicate, it's the characters that make this one. Once we get the wonderful notion of David being a smiling yet willful killer, Elizabeth dealing with father issues, and Vicker's struggle for credibility, we then meet the aliens themselves....

.....and it is a BIG LETDOWN.

(Spoiler alert) Not to put too fine a point on it, I was disappointed to know that the only thing these 'engineers' really want is to poison us and rip android's heads off like common thugs.


Then, there is a bigger problem. The second half of the movie also fails to answer the brilliant questions of the first half. Why create man? What is our purpose? Who are the engineers, why were they developing weapons?

The film makes the answer to all these questions very clear-"Wait for the sequel; we'll tell you then."

We've been Punk'd?!@

So, to conclude, the beauty is in the questions rather than the answers. Can we have headless bodies in an alien movie? Yes. Will it be thrilling? Yes. Will the cast be good? Yes. Will it raise issues about creation and parenthood? Yes.

I enjoyed the movie, it states that creation should not be too easy for the creator may not understand the obligation; it states this clearly. This is why Alien is my favourite of the franchise, because Ridley, unlike James Cameron, will not make a thrill-ride unless it first asks big questions. The irony, though, is that with a much simpler premise Alien manages not only to be better than Prometheus but, ironically, it justified sequels to a greater extent without even meaning to.

Still, at least Michael Fassbender keeps it in his pants in this one....

Oh dear, I can nearly see the tip of it....

No comments:

Post a Comment