Thoughts on Films #2 – Prometheus

Contains Multiple Spoilers – Only read if you’ve seen Prometheus or don’t intend to!

I had steadfastly ignored all of the Prometheus previews, trailers and so forth because sometimes they just give too much away.

I initially left the cinema a little underwhelmed that it didn’t have the suspense or action of the original Alien. A good film but it wasn’t of the same calibre. There’s no doubt that the director and the connection to the previous films rightfully left me with high expectations. As I left the Plaza in Dorchester I felt they weren’t met.

Initial reactions can be deceiving. Lesson learned: the enjoyment of a film isn’t confined to the end credits. This is a film that leaves you thinking and asking questions. I was thinking throughout the 25 minute drive home, more when I got home, and again when I was sent a link of further discussion points. You might say then that Prometheus is a slow-burner, the reaction is delayed.

That in itself is a major achievement especially in an era of largely brain-free blockbusters (clearly I’ve not seen every film released in the last few years but the only other example readily coming to mind is Inception). It gets you thinking about the plans of the Engineers – What were they doing? Why create us? (Presumably ‘because they could’ in the words of David). Why come back again? And just what did David say to piss off the guy? As this plan was scuppered because of an outbreak, why not try again from somewhere else? Does this mean these were the last of their kind? If not, where are they now? And surely when Shaw gets there, if they aren’t dead they will kill her as the other guy tried to.

So many questions!

It gets you thinking of the connections to the other films too – there will surely be a sequel, Scott said as much, so how does it link together? Will it link together or will the story diverge from here? The ship found by the Nostromo, will we see the lead up to it or is that unnecessary since we can guess there was an leak of the ‘black stuff’ which infected the crew? Was the communication she left the one the Nostromo detected (and if so was the planet renamed?).

You get as much enjoyment pondering these questions as you do watching the film itself. Had it been a standalone not connected to Alien I’m not sure I’d have thought about it so much. You might’ve wondered for a bit about the Engineers but that’s it. The connections are what makes it. How does it all fit in?

There were some great scenes in it. The scary surgery machine made the nerves twitch, imagine putting yourself in that thing! And I enjoyed the fast evolution of the creatures, seeing it gradually become the thing we all know.

There was a refreshing lack of use of CGI, or I should say, the use of a big effect just to show off. The only time I thought it devolved into a CGI artist pissing contest was the map room scene. It felt out of place compared to the rest of it. The rest of the time you could’t discern the difference between it or a well done model or live shots. Effects should not exist for the sake of having effects, the map room / bridge filling with swirling images was the only time I thought that happened.

Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender put in excellent performances. Fassbender was quite creepy – and clearly reminiscent of Ian Holm’s Ash. I am sure Charlize Theron’s character was a robot too, not that I can see how we’d ever find out. The rest of the cast suffered a bit, their characters could’ve been developed a little more.

Mixed feelings then. I do wonder about this: if and when we see the sequel, this film may be seen in a whole new light. If that’s the case then it really will be a lot better than it appears at first. I hope so. Ridley Scott is clearly working to a plan.

Name: Prometheus
Year: 2012
Runtime: 124 minutes
IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1446714/
Actors: Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba
Director: Ridley Scott

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