Ridley Scott’s Prometheus Review

Yesterday I grabbed the popcorn, double sized drink, decided to leave the 3D glasses and sat down to watch Prometheus at my local cinema. I’m not sure if I have been consciously putting it off because of the mixed reviews or if I was just unsure about Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien universe.

To say that this is a prequel, I believe, is unfair. I would simply say it was set before Alien. In the same way that Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels are in the same universe but not always linked. There’s plenty of foreshadowing of what happens to the Nostromo without being a simple recreation of the 1970s film. I’m trying to avoid breaching the unspoken rules of spoilers, but I can detail that there’s somewhat of a cameo from the Alien itself, just not in a way you would either expect or in a way that would be explainable.

Ah I did it right there. Just above. I touched on the first point of my (unfortunately) many issues with Prometheus. ‘A way that would be explainable’; fans of the Alien quadrilogy (though I’m sure they would prefer to only remember the first three films) have had countless theories about the “Space Jockey” character, beings that are now identified as ‘Engineers’ in the recent movie. But with all the theories and speculation, viewers and fans as a whole have been happy to leave it as an unanswered question. Yet Scott opens the door to a less explored aspect of the Alien universe and as much as I feel his attempts were fantastically brilliant, I still feel they fell short on achieving the overall experience that we were expecting. The reason I say this is that the story Scott wants to try and portray is a fantastic idea, through to the bone, Prometheus is a film which not only touches on the “Why are we here?” but also the “Why should we be here?” It explores the different possibilities of creation. With one hand the movie’s story destroys the religious faiths yet it also offers with the other hand that divine intervention can only be the answer. The film feels like it was made to make you grip your seat in fear, and when you’re not terrified, draw you in to deep thought so that you think about the implications of Darwinian Theory and as a viewer force you to relate to the scientist characters and their own personal voyage that they undertake.

But alas continuity errors (no I’m not talking about extra odd beers in the fridge like James Bond films) contradict the reasoning behind a lot of the explanations the film offers and distract you from enjoying the movie. Because the errors are not just aesthetic slips but actually tie into the film’s plotline and as much as I feel I could fill the page with many of these slip-ups I begrudge detailing any at all in this review. See above for the laws on spoilers.

While it may seem like a lot of the general consensus is around how the film is apparently a poor tie in to the Alien universe, it would still have as many flaws even if Weyland Yutani was not plastered on every piece of tech’ the characters use. Perhaps Scott set out to make a new movie in his own familiar universe, then decided to actually link it to his Alien saga, then perhaps felt questions are better left unanswered, or that more questions could be answered if he tried tying it in… and so on so forth, resulting in a film which doesn’t know if it should be a prequel or not.

However despite my grumblings and giggles at scene transitions from absolute carnage to everyone acting cool and perfectly fine, as if nothing had bothered them 4.38 minuets beforehand, Prometheus is still a pretty damn good film.

The acting in my eyes may have been poorly directed but salvaged by some fantastic performances by Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron and the Logan Marshall-Green. Best of all Michael Fassbender really stood out as the perfect android trying to find his humanity. The moral implications he manages to raise by challenging those of the crew who are disappointed by the desire to want to meet their maker are amplified by the cold and calculative and yet emotional attributes he brings to the big screen.

Prometheus is set to leave you walking out of the cinema with more questions than answers. Some will wonder whether Ridley Scott will expand upon this saga, as the ending of the film clearly left an opportunity to delve deeper into the philosophical implications raised. Others may ponder as to how he can link a somewhat disjointed explanation to such a solid thrilling plot as the other Alien films. And while I may complain about more plot holes than our roads have potholes, many will leave the cinema having enjoyed the beautiful visuals, the terror which made me grip my seat, the action which brings out inner emotions and sadness at the plight of characters you instantly warm to, along with joy at the demise of those characters who you don’t.

I can’t see me paying to go to the big screen again to watch this, but I will definitely purchase it when it’s released to see if I can study and piece together some of the gaps. In the meantime if you have not seen it yet, enjoy the trailer below and let us know what you think.

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1 Comment

  1. Nice. As much as I did like the Alien films, I don’t think I’ll be holding my breath for the DVD.

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