on October 12, 2012
I'm reviewing the 4-Disc Collector's Edition. I'll go through each disc individually to give you an idea of what you'll be getting, and which version you should purchase. But first, let's briefly discuss the movie itself.
If you haven't seen the film yet, you're still probably aware of the polarized reception it received. Some love it, some hate it. Instead of giving you another opinion on why it's the best/worst film ever, let me tell you what to expect. PROMETHEUS is not a horror film. Certainly it has structural similarities to ALIEN, and there is one scene that I would consider very "stressful." But overall, the film is what I would classify as a "concept drama." That is, a drama that doesn't focus on characters, but rather on concept. Don't let any of the tense trailers fool you, this movie was meant as a discussion piece, not an adrenaline rush. You can decide whether it succeeds or fails when you watch it yourself.
Onto the discs ...
DISC 1 - 3D Blu-Ray (ONLY AVAILABLE IN THE 4-DISC VERSION)
A lot of critics commented that PROMETHEUS had some of the best use of 3D they have ever seen. I don't know that it fully delivered on what I was expecting, but here is my take on the 3D presentation seen on this disc:
1) 3D isn't used as a gimmick where things jut out of the screen at you, which is a plus in my book.
2) There are a few sequences that look absolutely gorgeous in 3D, usually involving holograms or "projected" images. I also think that the medpod scene benefits particularly by the use of 3D.
3) I feel like the depth of the 3D was under-utilized. Almost everyone seems to disagree with me, but I felt that throughout most of the film, the 3D was a bit flat. That being said, if you prefer 3D, you should get this disc in order to fully appreciate the aforementioned scenes.
The image quality was near perfect, and there were no noticeable signs of ghosting on my TV setup. Audio quality was fantastic, the mix sounded nearly identical to the 2D disc, so I'll comment more on it in my review of that disc. Subtitles are also included.
DISC 2 - 2D Blu-Ray (AVAILABLE IN ALL BLU-RAY VERSIONS)
The image quality here is near perfect. Most important for me are the blacks, which are quite striking on this transfer. Definite reference quality material here. As far as audio clarity goes, it's spot on. The dynamics are up to a bit of interpretation, but it is worth noting that the speakers are seperated with precision. And there aren't any silly choices made like dialogue coming only from the front speakers, or the back speakers being dedicated exclusively to music. Subtitles are again included.
The primary draw of this disc, apart from the film itself, is the surprisingly large wealth of bonus features. We have two audio commentaries: one by director Ridley Scott, and one by the writers. In addition, there are more than 30 minutes of alternate and deleted scenes (although many scenes have incredibly minimal changes) with optional audio commentary, and The Peter Weyland files. The Peter Weyland files are comprised of four videos (created for the express purpose of promoting the movie) that play very much like deleted scenes or webisodes. None of the content is necessary to understand the film, but they certainly help give further context and depth.
For any casual fan, this disc includes all of the elements comprising of PROMETHEUS's "canon." So unless you want a 3D copy of the movie, or are into bonus features, the standard Blu-Ray release should be more than satisfactory.
DISC 3 - Blu-Ray Bonus Disc (ONLY AVAILABLE IN THE 4-DISC VERSION)
As far as completionists go, this disc is solid, if not perfect. I was hoping that FOX would come out with an extended cut of the film to be released six months down the road, but this seems to be the definitive home video release for the foreseeable future.
The good news is that it's the most COMPLETE wealth of bonus features I have seen since the transition of home video to the Blu-Ray format. From the "Behind the Scenes" documentary, which performed beyond my wildest dreams, to an incredibly massive collection of pre-vis sequences, artwork, stills, storyboards, promotional content, and more. (I love when they're willing to include marketing material like trailers, tv spots, and posters, because those so often shape our opinions of the final product.)
So why do I think that the disc is imperfect? Because there is more content that we were told that we would get that we're not getting. In an interview, Ridley mentioned at least one deleted scene that we're not getting here. We were also promised an early version of the script, while the film was still a hardcore ALIEN prequel. That was supposed to be on the "second screen" app. Due to ambiguous legal reasons, that's not happening.
(On that note, the second screen app is an interesting idea, but isn't necessary for a complete viewing experience.)
DISC 4 - DVD + DIGITAL COPY DISC (AVAILABLE IN BOTH BLU-RAY VERSIONS)
This is a bare bones version of the DVD and includes a digital copy. It doesn't include any of the special features that are on the standard DVD release, but those are all included on the 2D Blu-Ray disc anyway. The advantage I see with these combo packs isn't that I need to watch the same movie on a billion different devices, but if I currently have only a DVD player, and plan on upgrading to Blu-Ray eventually, I can buy the special edition now for only a few dollars more than buying the DVD on its own.
Both the two and four-disc version comes with an Ultraviolet copy of the movie IN ADDITION to the standard digital copy.
[EDIT AS OF OCT. 21st] Some have reported macro-blocking and various other issues with the 2D Blu-Ray disc and the Extras disc. Not all copies are affected, but if yours is, and you don't wish to exchange your discs, you should be able to fix it by turning off your Blu-Ray player's internet connection. It apparently has something to do with new copy protection protocal. In addition, there have been reports of these discs working well after updating the firmware, and/or on different Blu-Ray players.
on September 23, 2012
Are your survival skills as finely honed as the scientists aboard Prometheus? Let's find out...
You, a scientist, have landed on a distant planet with a team of fellow scientists in search of alien life. What would you do in the following scenarios?
1. Upon first arrival and entrance into what appears to be a manufactured cave structure, you deploy very high tech scanning and mapping probes. Do you:
A) Also send out your android crew member to evaluate any possible danger and then wait for the probes to finish scanning and mapping before you begin exploring?
B) Brazenly charge forward into the unknown and maybe consult your equipment's discoveries later, shrugging off any blips of alien life as an equipment malfunction?
2. While traveling through the cave structure on this alien planet you discover the presence of oxygen in the air. Do you:
A) Keep your space helmet secured tightly because there may be any number of unknown elements, pathogens, bacteria, contagions, and other toxic substances in the atmosphere that are undetectable by your equipment?
B) Quickly remove your helmet AFTER stating what an idiotic idea it is because a fellow teenage scientist, who has properly tested the air by taking a few shallow breaths, peer-pressures you into it?
3. Your android crew member appears to have quickly learned the language of the inscriptions found within the cave. Do you:
A) Ask him to translate everything and share his wealth of knowledge from that point forward?
B) Treat him like a red-headed step child and ignore him for the rest of the mission?
4. As scientists on a mission in search of alien life, you stumble upon a deceased alien life form in the cave structure. Do you:
A) Restrain your excitement at the discovery and prepare to study, take samples, and test further?
B) Piss your pants in fear and then while attempting to return to the ship you run in random directions until you are lost within the caves, refusing to consult the mapping tools you brought with you even though you happen to be THE expert in their usage?
5. After becoming lost within the caves you learn of a storm outside that will prevent you from returning to the ship until morning. Do you:
A) Break out your mapping tools to help determine your location and plot your exit strategy; or still refusing that logic, simply ask the crew on the ship to help guide you through the caves with their 3D map which includes your location?
B) Decide that exploring deeper into the caves to frighten yourself further with more deceased alien discoveries is probably the most logical thing you can be doing with your spare time?
6. After wandering through the entire haunted-house cave structure you decide to enter the initial room that frightened you off in the first place; unfortunately you then come face to face with a living alien that resembles a large snake which begins posturing and hissing at you like a king cobra. Do you:
A) Shoot it in the face and run for your miserable life?
B) Decide that you are only afraid of dead aliens and not live ones, and then try to pet the aggressive alien snake with your hand?
7. Upon the discovery of a 2000 year old decapitated alien head which has been wondrously preserved, you bag the head in your trusty ziplock and return to the ship with your trophy for testing. Do you:
A) Take a sample and have a look at its DNA first?
B) Recalling your fond memories of Frankenstein, you inject stem cells into its locus coeruleus to re-animate it and increase the amps until the alien head explodes; and then you run your tests?
8. You manage to collect a small sample of a strange black goop in the caves, which appears to be alive. Do you:
A) Put a drop onto a slide and take a look under a microscope?
B) Decide that the scientific method of small children will yield the best and quickest results and so you secretly put a drop into a drink which you then give to a scientist to see what happens?
9. You have become incredibly sick with some unknown illness and witness an alien larva worm crawl out of your eye. Do you:
A) Quarantine yourself and ask the other crew members to help treat your condition immediately?
B) Pretend that nothing is amiss and you feel fine, then romp about as usual with the rest of the crew until you collapse half-dead?
10. After a contagion outbreak and another scientist lost to death-by-alien-snake, the missing scientist left for dead in the caves returns to the ship as a zombie spider monkey. Do you:
A) Leave the door tightly secured until you can determine the status of the unresponsive crew member with the variety of cameras located on the ship?
B) Open the door and go out alone to investigate, then kick the creature while turning your back to it until it smashes your face in with its zombie strength?
11. You come face to face with an Engineer, the creator of humans, after waking him from hypersleep. Do you:
A) Attempt to speak his language and introduce yourself, your crew, and your mission?
B) Barrage him with fat mama jokes until he becomes an enraged Neanderthal and tears your head off with his bare hands?
12. A disc shaped spaceship rolls towards you in the final moments of its crash landing. Do you:
A) Run ten yards to the right or left, perpendicular to the ship's path, and let it roll on by?
B) In the heat of the moment you forget about the steamroller scene from Austin Powers, and so for a full minute you attempt to outrun the crashing town-sized spaceship by following its trajectory as it slowly barrels towards you?
How did you do? Total your score and share it in the comments!
All A's = 1 point
All B's = 0 points
Hopefully you managed better than the total of ZERO scored by the characters plucked straight out of a teenage slasher film to masquerade as scientists in the movie Prometheus!
"On behalf of scientists everywhere, I am ashamed to count you among us." -Milburn
[If you enjoyed this review, I highly recommend The Skeptics' Guide To The Universe Podcast #363]
on October 10, 2012
-There have been various opinions about the special effects. Personally, I thought the visuals and soundtrack were awesome. They definitely made me favorably disposed towards this film.
-Michael Fassbender is spellbinding.
The main problem with the entire film is that nobody (other than Michael Fassbender) has any plausible motivation for the majority of their behavior. As a result the entire movie is basically just an exercise in convenience, much like your modern B-movie horror flick.
**** COMPLETE SPOILER ****
Weyland is old and dying. A couple scientists convince him our progenitors are located in a specific solar system based on some old cave paintings found in separate locations. Weyland immediately spends a few trillion on a space ship and fills it full of the most absurd band of miscreants he can find, plus one awesome android, plus himself (shhhh it's an unnecessary secret). His plan?... become immortal somehow.
It's just completely absurd. Why is he secretly on the ship, instead of just... entirely visibly on the ship? It's HIS ship. Why does he think wandering up to these aliens and asking them a few questions is a good route to immortality in the first place? Honestly his role/quest is entirely unnecessary and should have either been legitimized with SOME sort of evidence, reasoning, or belief structure, or thrown out. When his quest inevitably and laughably fails even his final quote... is stupid. We don't care enough about his mission to care about its failure.
The four scientists are far more maddening and will be discussed from least maddening to "makes me want to curl up into a ball and sob uncontrollably" can-of-walnuts crazytown. We start with the two scientists who discover the... constellation (hold on a minute, why were the aliens pointing out their biological-weapon-factory-planet to a bunch of neandarthals?? A 20,000 year delayed trap? SENSELESS). Noomi has "faith" which is discussed and never legitimized outside of some sad, pithy dreams, but she has very little sense. She does, however, occasionally react to situations properly. This occasional legitimate action makes her not completely terrible.
Noomi's boyfriend scientist does not react to any situation properly. First, he takes of his helmet because... Why not? He gets depressed by finding dead aliens instead of living ones. He also manages to be a gigantic asshat to the most dangerous character on the ship (Michael Fassbender drips with menace throughout the entire movie). Afterwards he sees proof that he is infected with some crazy alien eye worms and... ignores it. Ingenious! Needless to say when he is torched with a flamethrower nobody cares.
Choosing who is worst between the geologist and biologist is kind of like choosing the least appetizing between two liver flukes. You can't win. The geologist gets lost in a cave which he MAPPED with his OWN devices. Furthermore being that he is... I don't know... a GEOLOGIST, why can't he find his way out of a cave? Meanwhile the biologist, in possibly the most daringly risky action in all of fictional biology, sticks his hand basically INSIDE the mouth of an alien death snake after RUNNING from a "possible life form reading" in the previous scene. What lifeform was he imagining previously if he's willing to immediately leap into the mouth of a terrifying, albino snake-beast? They both die horribly and nobody cares. I honestly laughed derisively.
This is all a long winded way of saying a bunch of stuff happens and nobody cares, seemingly not even the characters in the movie. The science doesn't make any sense, of course, but I cared a lot less about that than the terrifying senselessness of the story and characters. Once the movie clunkily transitions into its horror phase there is a feeling of stupid inevitability to every death as the characters one by one run (sometimes quite literally) directly towards their doom. At the end of the movie (kindly telegraphed by the previews to the movie... thanks marketing!) all I could feel was a general malaise. This feeling combined with the knowledge that this script could have been fixed for about .01% of the money pumped into special effects left me decidely nonplussed. This movie could have been one of the best Sci Fi epics of all time; instead it's a laughable farce. Worth watching once just for Michael Fassbender and the aforementioned effects, or lots of times if you liked Transformers...
on November 16, 2012
All I ask is that a movie make some sense. Just some. I want to feel like the writers and directors actually thought about it before filming it.
Well... that didn't happen in Prometheus.
Let's just skip ahead to when the humans enter the alien facility and find the black goo stuff. So what exactly does the black goo do anyway? Does it destroy your body? Does it make your head explode? I suppose it does because that's what happens to the alien head they discover it and thaw out. But wait a minute... what about the astronaut geologist who falls on his face in the black goo after having his helmet melted? Apparently, the black goo turns him into a super strong psychotic zombie or something. One minute we think he is dead, the next he is running around like something out of The Walking Dead. What's up with that? How come to goo basically dissolves one person, but turns another into a zombie?
But wait... maybe it depends on the amount of black goo you are exposed to. The android gives one of the humans a small drop of the black goo in a glass of booze. Now you may be wondering why the android would do that... good question. Perhaps an experiment or something. Can't say for sure because it really isn't clear. Anyway, in the case of one drop of black goo I guess it takes a day or so to have an effect on the victim. The infected guy doesn't go haywire until maybe 24 hours have passed. But that was enough time for him to get his woman pregnant... which is even weirder because I guess that the black goo infects your sperm or something. The women gets pregnant with some freaky octopus looking alien thing.
Let's explore the alien octopus pregnancy for a minute. When the android finds out, he tries to force the woman to carry the fetus to term. Why? Again, who knows. Was the android trying to impregnate humans with alien fetuses? I don't think so. Did the android know that infecting the dude would also infect the dude's sperm and impregnate a woman with an alien fetus. I don't think so. Ok... so what is the android trying to accomplish? I can't say really.
Well, the woman freaks of course and breaks into a special room on the ship which contains a surgical chamber like something you would see on Star Trek. Wait a minute... how did she get in there? Wasn't that area off limits? Wasn't it locked or something? Nevermind... so the woman gets in the surgery unit and has the alien octopus fetus cut from her womb. She then gets stitched up and stumbles back out into the ship.
Question - how do people react when they see this nearly naked woman stumbling around with a big incision across her abdomen? How do they react? They don't react at all! They are just like "Hey... how's it going" or something. In fact, she somehow wanders into a room where the android and the gang are waking up the really old man who secretly funded the mission. They don't react to her at all... even the android who knew she had been pregnant. WTF?
Now the film gets really dumb.
The super old dude planned the whole trip because he wanted to meet these aliens. Therefore, the android suits him up and they enter the alien facility in order to wake one from 2,000 years of hibernation. The alien, of course, freaks on everyone, kills the old dude, and rips the android's head off. Uhhhh.... Anyone else wondering why they didn't wake the alien guy up ahead of time? Is there any particular reason why the old dude felt he needed to be standing right in front of the alien the minute they woke him up? Didn't anyone think that a little caution was warranted? After all, apparently the team had already figured out that this facility was an alien outpost for the production of a biological weapon (the captain just threw out that thought at random). Apparently the android had already figured out that the ship was supposed to have traveled to Earth. Ok then... so if you know all that, why are you sending a 100 year old man to stand right in front of the alien the minute you wake him up? Does that make any sense at all?
To make a long story short - alien activates ship and attempts to take off. We assume he is heading to Earth in order to destroy the human race with the biological weapon. Therefore, the captain of the human team pilots the human spaceship into the alien spaceship and destroys them both - causing the alien ship to crash back to the surface.
I guess that the whole human kamikaze thing really ticked the alien dude off, so he comes out looking for the human woman - since she is the only person left alive. He tracks her into the escape pod section of the ship (which is really a large apartment) and gets caught by the alien fetus that the woman cut out of her womb a few scenes earlier. Except this isn't just a little octopus fetus anymore, now it is giant. I'm kind of wondering how in the heck it got so big so fast. I'll defer on the accelerated growth rate, but any idea what this thing was eating? How do you get that big without eating something? The fetus thing was locked in the medical room. What did it eat in there? Ahhhh... nevermind....
Regardless... one dead alien dude later, the woman goes back into the alien spaceship in order to retrieve the android's decapitated head (which is still working). Then, for some unknown reason, she decides they need to find another alien ship and travel to the alien home world. I'm thinking... oh... maybe that makes sense... perhaps she wants to infect the alien home world with the biological weapon. Ahhhh... no. She says she wants to visit in order to ask them "why". Why did they create humanity and why did they want to destroy it?
Dumb. Let me get this straight. You just blew up your own spaceship in order to prevent an alien ship from reaching Earth. Now you decide it would be a good idea to travel to the alien home world to ask them questions? Did you ever consider that this would be just drawing attention to yourself?
Also, what have the aliens been doing for the last 2,000 years? Apparently the facility was 2,000 years old. So if the aliens were trying to wipe out humanity, then why didn't they just send another ship? Was this the only facility of its kind? Even if it was, do they not have any other weapons? What? Was nuking Earth too complicated for them? How about tossing an asteroid our way? What's the deal?
Final thought. The human scientists determine that the alien DNA is exactly the same as human DNA. It is? Have you seen the alien dude? Does it look like he has identical DNA to you? I mean... besides the fact that he is twice the size of a normal person, has black eyes, pasty skin, crazy muscles, etc. Oh yeah... other than that we are identical! Right. We have more in common with a chimp than that alien dude.
on December 3, 2012
I'm reviewing the 4 disc set. It's not unusual for a DVD to have a lot of deleted scenes but this time you need them all to flesh out the overly refined theatrical release. The 3.5 hour documentary on disc 3 is worth the extra money but I will never buy a new Blu-ray a mere 5 weeks from Black Friday ever again. There is enough here to be very thought provoking which is the mark of an unforgettable movie. I spent an hour online when I got home from after seeing this for the first time. I had a ton of questions but I have to say that repeated viewings has improved my opinion of Prometheus. Fresh out of the theater, I would have had trouble giving this more than 3 stars. I noticed when the DVD was released that the film seemed to have been rebranded to renew interest. The engineer wasn't shown in any of the theatrical release commercials or print ads but the DVD cover features a close up of the unmasked engineer. Prometheus may not be a prequel but unfortunately, there are so many coincidences that most people will leave the theater believing that they saw the derelict ship from Alien crash on LV-426. I think of my years spent wondering if the Alien had a home planet or was made to be a bioweapon. Ridley leaves enough hanging to spark debate and trade theories. It's ambiguous. I also hang onto the tension of whether or not Rick Deckard is a replicant. By the way, the franchises for Alien and Blade Runner have more in common right now than ever in my opinion. I've probably said this in another review but the more you know about a character, the less interesting they become. Boba Fett and Hannibal Lecter are good examples. These characters could all come from the same Earth where Tyrell and Weyland are one and the same or competitive rivals. One thing I did have in mind before I saw the movie was a tip from a friend who told me to Google: "Prometheus Flow Chart". There's a chart with icons illustrating the four possible outcomes. Even if you're already clear on the squid/zombie/human/alien biology, it's worth a look.
on June 19, 2014
I just tried watching this movie again to see if it is still as astonishingly bad and stupid as it seemed when I came out of the theater massively disappointed a couple years ago.
It's written by people who clearly never met a scientist, or even a moderately intelligent human being. It plays like Scott forgot everything he knew about filmmaking thirty years earlier. Maybe someday he will release a four-hour director's cut that: explains why all the scientists are such imbeciles; fills in some of the mammoth plot holes; gives us at least a little bit of reason to care about any of the characters; and provides some kind of logical motivation for the whole preposterous exercise.
Or maybe not.
on August 7, 2012
"Prometheus has landed." You've all no doubt seen the bombardment of television advertisements ranging from ESPN collaborations with the NBA Finals to Coors Light ads featuring the impressive ship landing on an alien surface. Ridley Scott defined the science fiction horror genre when he gave us an absolute perfect film in 1979: "Alien." There is nothing I can fault with this film. It's the perfect blend of science and horror. It uses suspense rather than gore. It rarely shows us the creature lurking aboard the ship, yet we feel like we've been forced to stare at it's disturbing makeup for hours. In fact, the alien (or "xenomorph") is only seen on screen for a total of 4 minutes. In a two plus hour film. You'd swear he was staring you in the face the entire time. So, when Scott announced two years ago that he would be revisiting the universe he helped redefine, I was ecstatic. I followed the film when it was known simply as "Alien 5," then "The Untitled Ridley Scott Alien Project," the "Alien Paradise," and eventually, "Prometheus." It was penned to be a prequel to "Alien" wherein we'd get the story of how the xenomorphs came to be, who that big guy in the pilot seat of the alien space ship was, and then a beautiful segue into the opening sequence of the original film. But then it changed. Scott decided to widen the scope and take the story much further than we ever imagined.
An "Alien" prequel, this is not.
Those of you expecting to see the iconic creature roaming around the ship and picking off crew members one by one, will be sorely disappointed. Those of you who are open to seeing something wholly original, with some very creative DNA strands connecting it to the "Alien" universe, will be incredibly impressed.
The connections are few, but they are big, in my opinion. You have Weyland Industries playing a major role, which it did in the original film, you've got androids, you've got LV-223, a moon in the same solar system as LV-426, the planet on which the original takes place, you've got the "Space Jockey's," (or the big, fossilized creature in the pilot seat of the original film) and yes, of course, you've got a host of strange, bizarre, and disgusting creatures that are recognizable, yet unique, to this universe.
The film's major drawback, for me, would be that it asks too many questions, gives us a half-ass answer to some of them, and then forgets about the rest. However, since Scott has publicly stated the film is to be a new trilogy, it does make sense that we'd have to learn more from sequels to come. This is just part one of the prequel to "Alien." This is part one of three, that will eventually lead us to the opening sequence of the original film. But we're still a hundred years away from that universe in "Prometheus." The xenomorphs haven't even been created yet. And yes, I said created. It's hard to discuss this film without giving away major spoilers, so I won't say anymore about that. But the creatures you do encounter are equally as strange, dangerous, and one of them (when we see it in great detail) is one of the most disgusting and revolting things to look at on screen that I've ever seen.
The performances are, for the most part, very good. Idris Elba as the captain of the ship is brilliant, Noomi Repace is very good as the naive young scientist who is trying to balance her faith in God with her work in science, Charlize Theron plays the ice-cold bitch perfectly, but it's Michael Fassebender's performance as the quasi-evil android, "David," that steals the show. It's nothing short of Oscar worthy, in my opinion. His walk is reminiscent of Olympic swimmer Greg Luganis' and he parts his hair and models his dialect after Peter O'Toole in "Lawrence of Arabia." He is amazing to watch on screen.
What really shines in the film, though, is the incredible visuals. It is a pure eye-gasm for two hours with the special effects. For the first time, the computer generated creatures look and feel like they have real weight and substance to them. It's hard to tell if they are animatronic or computer rendered. Every detail (down to peeling placental tissues on a "squid baby") is in place and makes you feel like you're there. And the 3D is mesmerizing and the best use I've ever seen, even trumping "The Avengers." The sound is deafening and it all comes together for a true masterpiece of artistic genius.
As for the "squid baby." Yeah, I'm not going to say anything else, other than the scene will surely go down as one of the great horror moments in the history of film, and that it easily rivals the shock of the original "chest burster scene" from "Alien," when poor John Heard starts...choking. This will be a scene talked about for years to come, I know it.
In closing, "Prometheus" is a genius piece of science fiction art. It's for the hardcore sci-fi fans, not for the folks who just want to see a horror movie with slimy monsters roaming around. It's got incredible substance, it's got the most beautiful opening sequence to a film I can think of, and it's got top notch special effects that are unmatched, in my opinion, to date. And even amongst all of the great acting, deep story telling, thought provoking ideologies and gorgeous set pieces, we still get a couple of nasty little creatures to help us get that "Alien" vibe. And the last thirty seconds of the film REALLY give the fanboys what we were after.
4.8/5 Stars, losing a tiny portion because of some big plot holes, but hopefully regaining it when the sequel answers those burning questions.
on December 5, 2012
Part ALIEN VS PREDATOR and part Chariots of the Gods, PROMETHEUS is a beautiful but convoluted mess of a movie that manages to breath a tiny bit of life into an old franchise, but not much else.
The plot - which is more or less explained in the trailers - is fairly simple: 80 years into the future scientists find evidence that aliens have been to earth - and that they've left a clue as to where to meet them. Naturally, we go to find out what all the cave drawings are about and predictably, things go terribly wrong.
Considering that PROMETHEUS is set in the ALIEN universe (something that only the newest trailers even admit to), nearly every ALIEN fan will immediately recognize the similarities - the alien world, a morally corrupt robot, a large corporation with it own designs, and lots of space ship stuff (both alien in nature and human). Which is all well and good, but somehow returning director Ridley Scott and writers Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof still manage to step on their dicks, despite a massive budget and familiar stomping grounds.
The plot is simple, which is fine (it is a prequel to a movie who's sole original purpose was to have someones chest explode from the inside out after all), but so are the characters - all very one dimensional, very flat. Some of that's because it's just not a great cast - the "Ripley" type character is played by Noomi Rapace who is a fine actor, but simply doesn't have either the charisma or physique to pull off her role in this film. Other roles are just as flat. Ironically, only Michael Fassbender as the robot is interesting in the slightest.
Besides the flatness of characters, they also act unbelievably - a death knell for any scifi movie, no matter how big the sets. Characters take off their helmets in what's clearly a f'd up looking spaceship where shit's gone wrong - 'cause that's safe. When they discover what should be the biggest thing in history, they seem no more amazed then if they had just bought a Happy Meal and the toy was broken. They then leave that discovery because it will be getting cold outside - not 150 degrees below zero cold mind you, just cold. I guess the trillion dollar expedition forgot to bring matches for a fire. Just totally unbelievable.
No sense from the script (which is set so relatively near in the future) if there's even been any other alien life discovered before this trip or even when warp drive was discovered. It doesn't seem like the adventure of a life time to these characters (which of course it should), but more like a pain in the ass trip to the corner store for diapers. When they see the giant human head statue found on a deserted world in the middle of dead space, no one bats so much as an eyelash. Absolutely the wrong tone. Even the characters in the original ALIEN - who were nothing but glorified space truckers - took more glee in their potential discovery.
Equally stupid are the character's actions - Somehow 2 characters get lost 50 feet from the front door of the alien ship.... then even more inexplicably are left behind there b/c no one knows they're missing. One guy gets infected by what I guess is an alien, but says NOTHING (you know, even though they're on a trillion dollar scientific research spaceship). Just dumb, both in believability and in tone.
Just as wrong in tone is the music, which half the time is brilliant (when he channels Jerry Goldsmith) and the rest of the time is just awful. For some unknown reason, Scott must have instructed composer Marc Streitenfeld to write "hero" music for the "Prometheus" alien, which any time it's played take one immediately out of any sort of suspense that might have built up to that point. Absolutely stupid and again it makes one wonder just how Scott could have made such a plainly wrong decision - it is a horror movie after all, right? At other times, when the shit hits the fan, the music is so loud and so wrong that it literally kills any danger that characters you barely care about might be in.
And lastly, the continuity errors. Just oodles of them when compared to the original, including two so huge they had to be on purpose... didn't they?
In the end, you really have to ask yourself why this movie was made. Whatever it does for the storyline could have been done in about a 1/4 of the screen time - and regardless of the storytelling (or lack thereof), it covers much of the same ground that ALIEN V PREDATOR did (without ever telling the audience whether or not we should consider that movie canon or not). If I sound frustrated, that's because I am. The ALIEN universe is a cool one, with more then enough story-lines to do something new. The "revelations" this movie shows us are A) predictable and B) underwhelming, both in scope and execution. At times, just when you think the movie might pull it's feet from the blah mire it's in and reach something special, it falls right back into the goop.
Simply put, a movie set in that universe with a $150 plus million budget aught not be so average. It feels like it should be a great film, or at least a very good film (mostly because of the amazing sets and CG work), but in the end it's terribly blah. In the end, I'd have to say that AVP is actually a better movie, b/c while that film doesn't reach nearly so high, it does actually achieve what it sets out to do.
Hate to say it, but after ROBIN HOOD and now this, it's clear that Ridley's lost it.
BOTTOM LINE: 3 I think Michael Fassbender looks like a young Peter O'Toole too! out of 5
on May 27, 2015
The digital copy expired 10/12/14 and would not let you download. This is the second copy I purchase from Amazon and again it failed to work. " The code you entered is not valid for your region...."Looking at the small print, the digital had an expiration date....what?? why?? the code should be valid for one use. This is mislabeling/ false advertisement.
on January 5, 2013
I am a huge fan of the first 3 Alien films (yes, even the third one), and I was among those who looked forward to Prometheus, whether it was a prequel or not. I have now seen this film 4 times: first in the theater, then 3 times at home on Blu-ray. It took watching it with the director's commentary and again with the screenwriters' commentaries to appreciate the great scope of vision these guys had when making this film. Watching it the fourth time was the fulfilling experience I had hoped for in the first place. So, shouldn't a film stand on its own? Should a great film be "great" with only a single viewing?
I am old enough to have seen 2001 A Space Odyssey in a first run engagement, and I can tell you that very few left the theater "getting it." While it generated a lot of discussion, not many claimed to have loved it. I believe if we had a review system like Amazon, the film would have earned marks similar to what Prometheus is getting. I still find it difficult to sit through, but most today consider 2001 A Space Odyssey to be a classic.
Nobody will put Prometheus in the same conversation as 2001, except to compare the character David with HAL. Unfortunate, because Prometheus is technically as well crafted and thematically as challenging. It is possible that its detractors will view Prometheus in a few years and see it in a much more favorable light.
Why didn't Prometheus satisfy me the way Alien did upon seeing it the first time? I admit to disappointment at the derivative plot elements in Prometheus. Alien was so original, with surprises coming every 5 minutes. On the other hand, Alien was a science fiction horror movie--no big questions asked or answered. Prometheus, like 2001, asks the greatest question of all--how did it all begin? Prometheus does work as a prequel, in that we do learn how the alien creatures originated. To succeed as a prequel, there had to be references taking us back to Alien, though some of these were a little ham-fisted.
I am left feeling much like I did at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, another film that good as it is, sets the viewer up for a sequel. I am hoping Ridley Scott finds the money to fund another film, one that doesn't need the alien creature at all to move forward the journey of Dr Shaw and David to find the origin of life. I am like Shaw--I will continue to believe what I believe no matter what Scott comes up with--but I think I will enjoy the discussion.