Bitesize Review: Prometheus (2012)

DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott.

CAST: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Logan Marshall-Green, Idris Elba, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Emun Elliott, Benedict Wong, Kate Dickie, Guy Pearce.

SYNOPSIS: After discovering clues to the origin of our species on Earth, Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Marshall-Green) join a team of scientists aboard the spaceship Prometheus to venture further into space and understand these alien life forms. After becoming stranded on an unfamiliar planet, the discoverers face a battle to save the future of the human race.

My broken arm calls for a slightly different (and bitesize) reviewing format. So here’s ten things I want to say about Prometheus:

***Although this doesn’t involve direct spoilers, you should wait until you’ve seen the film before you read what’s below***

1. Michael Fassbender, take a bow. David is captivating, funny and physically fascinating to watch. The best thing about the film, you never quite know where David’s allegiances lie and the attention to detail regarding the android goes so far as to show the Weyland logo on his fingertips. When watching the brilliant opening that introduces us to him, it is easy to imagine Fassbender preparing for roles in this fashion and is nothing short of a joy to watch. The man is positively on fire and rightly getting all the recognition he deserves – just don’t mention the fact the Academy seemed to forget he existed at the start of the year…

2. Little Elizabeth Shaw is English. Older Elizabeth Shaw is not. Call it picky, but this had me trying to guess throughout whether Rapace was trying (and desperately failing) to put on an English accent, or whether we were meant to assume she had a ‘cultured’ upbringing. Either way, this was an extremely unnecessary distraction. Unfortunately Rapace struggles to find her groove throughout, though her most desperate moments that require her survival instinct to kick in are both frightening and absorbing. No one can deny her talent, but Spaihts and Lindelof’s script somehow has her struggling to portray a wholly convincing character for a considerable amount of time.

3. You must, you must, you must see this film in 3D. Using the technology in such a way that would surely have Mr. 3D himself, James Cameron, beaming from ear to ear, there is no doubting the beauty and incredible depth that befits Prometheus and surrounds you in its technological warmth. One particular and glorious money shot concerning David will surely bring a tear to many a film lover’s eye.

4. The good ship Prometheus does hold a few too many characters that struggle to be heard. Chance (Elliott), Ravel (Wong) and especially Ford (Dickie) feel like spare parts who were added in or edited out at the last minute and it’s incredibly hard to decide who we’re meant to care about. Idris Elba’s Janek has to deliver some absolute clunkers, but the actor has enough power and cool about him to let them slide off relatively unnoticed. As for Charlize Theron, well, she’s definitely icy and intimidating with legs that really do go up to her armpits, but Meredith Vickers hardly feels like a stretch for her.

5. As hard as I am trying not to compare Prometheus to its big sister, there really is an inescapable lack of fear and dread in comparison to Alien. Though Shaw and Ripley both have to venture through unmanned corridors, this outing doesn’t come close to the tension that was created in the 1979 Xenomorph-infested film. But it must be said that the surroundings are still looking pretty awesome. Good job, Giger.

6. What is going on with Peter Weyland (Pearce)?! He definitely wasn’t what I expected after the great viral that was released a little while back. I hate admitting that I found the viral more interesting than his time onscreen.

7. With extensive technology available, the alien life forms in Prometheus should be head and shoulders above the Xenomorphs we are all too accustomed with. Yet something about the new creatures we are exposed to here feels far less exciting and far too CG-heavy – if that’s even a criticism. They are far less believable and intimidating as they never feel completely real.

8. A film that absolutely requires a second (or maybe ten) viewing, Prometheus may look stunning, but it suffers greatly from a lot of ideas with little cohesion or proper development. The script also makes things a little uncomfortable and embarrassing at times, feeling completely out of sync with its super, super slick Hollywood veneer.

9. Although you will occasionally find yourself zoning out, Prometheus is not boring, it’s just frustrating that the ideas that are touched upon are never fully realised – a combination of directing, script and editing faults. This confounds the audience even more when seeing how effective the editing can be in the action scenes that suck you right in.

10.  Prometheus boasts some incredible technology that is boosted tenfold by its exquisite use of 3D. You just cannot escape from the fact that it feels a little soulless.

VERDICT: 3/5

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One response to “Bitesize Review: Prometheus (2012)

  1. Been a while since I commented on here – sorry to hear you busted your hand! Great review – I think the “bitesize” format works. I agree with pretty much all your points – except I think you’re being a bit too generous by not being scathing re: the script & unanswered questions!!

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