Prometheus is undeniably the coolest title for a film yet this year, yet whilst it struggles to break barriers in the genres that both big sisters "Alien" and "Aliens" managed to do, it stands proudly above the lesser splatterings of the the current blockbuster season.
It isn't as clever as it thinks it is, but in many ways that isn't relevant. When you step back and view Prometheus for its own successes and failures and avoid the prejudices that Alien fanatics take in with them it has to be looked at in a positive light.
Visually is where the film excels. Whether it is the panoramic shots of the ice age in the opening credits or the black goo which takes and gives life as effortlessly as sitting down after a hard days graft, the beauty of every shot is elegant. Ridley Scott reminds us of his skills behind the camera for every moment of the two hour running time. Somehow blood and gore seems enjoyable to watch when its this pleasing on the eyes.
Unfortunately this positive doesn't lend itself well to increasing the chill factor of the film. It never gets as up-close and personal as Scott managed with Alien; it's all so big that it loses the intimacy and grit you had watching Sigourney Weaver do battle inside the Nostromo. Mix into the equation that Damon Lindelof's script is not big on the action and it means that Prometheus falls in-between the horror of Alien and the high octane pace of Aliens. It's not as scary as it could be, or as thrilling as it should be.
Thankfully, Lindelof's script is a brain wave above most stories currently floating around Hollywood, finding an interesting angle to approach the sci-fi genre. It tackles the big questions such as "where are we from" and "who created us," and credibly manages to provide justifiable setup and evidence to tease a rather interesting idea. Unfortunately Lindelof allows too much of the stalling tactic he used in TV mystery show LOST, letting talk of a Prometheus sequel neuter the tail end of his script. It teases questions that it isn't going to answer, only tickling the chins of viewers willing to put a bit of thought into their post credit discussions. This shouldn't be viewed as too harsh a criticism though, as there is plenty of things that Prometheus wraps up, and these things satisfy.
Michael Fassbender is becoming something of a legend at present, and he takes the rest of the cast and puts himself five levels above them. He brings more complexity and life to android David than even a fine Noomi Rapace performance can come close too. He's chilling to watch, never clear with his intentions and always processing something behind his glassy eyes that make you uneasy. It's an award worthy performance, and one that as is often the case will be overlooked for something much more ordinary come awards season.
Rapace herself does a fine job at providing Prometheus with a strong leading character; her Shaw may not be as tough as Ripley but she brings more intelligence to the table. The rest of the Prometheus crew do fine work with the little screen time they are given, standouts being Idris Elba's dry captain and Charlize Theron's authoritative Meredith Vickers.
And you may ask exactly where the Xenomorph Alien is in all of this, well that would be to spoil the surprise...
Oddly enough you'll find yourself realising that had it not showed up at all, Prometheus would have been no greater or lesser of a film.
Prometheus has landed, and thankfully it was a successful voyage to be on.
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