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Movie Review: Prometheus

Updated on August 12, 2013
Prequel or new series? I prefer the latter.
Prequel or new series? I prefer the latter.

It’s a week late but I finally got a chance to see Prometheus yesterday. I went with my friend, Nic, as part of day in the city and we saw it first thing before the rest of errands. It was nice, as it gave me plenty of time to think about the movie and talk about it with Nic. I’m not a huge fan of the Alien franchise; I’ve seen Alien and Aliens , but haven’t seen the others in the series (and I’m not counting the terrible Alien vs. Predator). The first film was okay, most of the horror elements lost on my jaded teenage mind, though I enjoyed the sequel more, even if it still wasn’t my favorite. If we want to include Prometheus in the series, which most people agree we do, then it would be my favorite of the films.

I recently heard someone complain that idea of extraterrestrial life creating humanity was an overdone concept, but it doesn’t seem that way to me. Maybe I haven’t read enough fiction using that idea, if anything I’ve seen it a few times in comic books, specifically Neil Gaiman’s The Eternals. Prometheus is the first movie I’ve seen to work the concept and I liked how it was implemented. The movie starts with our heroes journeying to a planet to find our creators, dubbed the Engineers, all with hopes of finding our reason for existing. However, this being a dark science-fiction film by the never too-upbeat Ridley Scott, the answers might not be what they’re looking for.

Right away, I was in love with the visuals. Scott has a marvelous eye for grandiose and beautiful scenery, not to mention the alien nature of other planets. I loved the ship design, the horizons, the maps; it was done with such loving detail that I don’t know how one couldn’t appreciate it all. The creature designs, minus the cameo at the end of film, weren’t as aspiring, most looking like grotesque sea life. I suppose this makes more sense scientifically, but they fall in the unmemorable category, even if they’re frightening at the time.

Noomi Rapace as Elizabeth Shaw
Noomi Rapace as Elizabeth Shaw
Michael Fassbender as David
Michael Fassbender as David

The characters were a mixed bag, though all well-acted. Charlize Theron was the weakest of the big names for me, which is too bad that it follows her terribly overdone role in Snow White and the Huntsman . We never know if she’s a villain or just a tough girl living in a tough world. Should we hate her or feel sorry for her? Leaving that question open isn’t bad, but the movie fails to define her as a character. Thankfully, she’s not the main protagonist. We have the wonderful Noomi Rapace in the real lead and she does a good job at being our eyes to the whole experience. She’s strong and capable, plus she gets the biggest scene of horror in the film. The scene, I won't spoil, is one I only watched fifty percent of, the other half was blocked by my hands.

Idris Elba is becoming one my favorite character actors out there, having done a great job in Thor and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance . His character in this film, the ship’s captain, is easy to like. He’s the everyman; he doesn’t care about the big ideas of humanity, he just wants to make it home. Michael Fassbender, having owned the screen in X-Men: First Class, once again steals the show as the android David. At first, he was the character I most sympathized with and cared about. However, as the movie went on, his true motives become less agreeable and you start wondering how close to the line of being the real villain David is. Fassbender plays his character with a quiet reserve, giving us brief moments of pain or amazement, all wonderful. Now that Fassbender has played a mutant and a robot, two of my favorite things, he can only top it by playing a dinosaur in his next movie.

Guy Pearce, however is wasted in both character and make-up. I didn't realize who he was until the end credits, but it was a shame to cast him in the role he was given. It didn't payoff for him or the film.

This scene looks great in 3D.
This scene looks great in 3D.

I saw the movie in 3D and I wasn’t as amazed with it at first. Then, I began to realize that the effect was adding to the scope of the whole film. It’s not in-your-face as post-processed 3D tends to be and it’s not as big of a spectacle/ride as Avatar. But all of the ship’s maps and windows, and the moments with the Engineer’s history look beautiful in 3D. I doubt it’s a must, but this would be one of the few films I suggest seeing in more than two dimensions.

My friend, Nic, had never seen Alien, but he only had a few questions regarding Prometheus’ connections to the original film. It adds a bit more depth to the experience, and more tension to some scenes, but this movie stands alone. In fact, the way it ends leaves me much more excited for a sequel to this series than more Alien films. In a way, it’s two films collided; a prequel to Alien and the first of a new franchise, and I was much more interested in the latter. It’s one of the best big-budget science-fiction films I’ve seen in a long time that feels original (for the most part). Prometheus is an easy recommendation for anyone looking for a great film with a brain and scares.

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    • Missmusicbox profile image

      Missmusicbox 5 years ago

      I hadnt seen Alien when I saw this movie and I didnt think I needed to have seen it. I loved how visual interesting it was. Pretty gross at parts and it had me on the edge of my seat. Fassbender and Rapace were great!

    • Eric Mikols profile image
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      Eric Mikols 5 years ago from New England

      I'll admit the film wasn't perfect, and set up just as many questions as it did answers. Still, this is one of the best science fiction movies to come out in a long time. I'm especially surprised I liked it so much considering how little I care for the Alien movies.

      I agree a bit with endings these days. Big budget movies like this seemed cursed with having to set up sequels. Very few are allowed to be stand alone films.

      Thanks for reading and replying!

    • extranotes profile image

      extranotes 5 years ago from New York

      The movie actually has a puzzling start with one of the albino-roid-raged-masochistic extraterrestrials committing a swallow-the-bad-caviar suicide! All this being witnessed from above by a super-size-me black flying saucer... that takes off with a vertical tilt. Why #1?

      Later on, one of these Mr. Universe albinos is approached by our earthling scouting party, whereupon, without provocation he starts ripping their heads off? Why #2? I hate it when movies leave you without any resources to try to figure things out. (Even Star Wars let you guess at the Emperor's identity!)

      Perhaps the inevitable sequel to this prequel will somehow provide closure. TBD...

      I was impressed with Alien and the follow up Aliens -unfortunately the subsequent movies (as you've correctly stated) have been disappointing, including Prometheus. So far it's been little more than eye-candy about surviving a self-inflicted alien abortion...albeit with some miscast top-name actors (no doubt to attract ticket sales). Script writers are very poor with endings these days.

    • Eric Mikols profile image
      Author

      Eric Mikols 5 years ago from New England

      You're right. Even though most of the roles were well-acted, most of the characters were hard to sympathize with. And if they weren't a name star, they were soon to be dead.

    • ben-88 profile image

      ben-88 5 years ago

      It's interesting to read this review after just having written my own on the movie. I agree with you on a few points, chief among them the wonderful performances of Fassbender and Rapace. The visuals also blew me away. I did not see the movie in 3-D, however. As a HUGE fan of the Alien films, I felt that Prometheus was a good quasi-prequel, but still left some unanswered questions. Still, I don't believe that I would want to see a sequel to the film, because it's more fun for me to speculate on how the gap is bridged between Prometheus and Alien. I also had a problem with how unlikable most of the characters were, and how they seemed to function as little more than lambs to the slaughter. Regardless, I still found Prometheus to be an inspired science-fiction tale. Great review by the way, voted up!