2012 Twentieth Century Fox
Thirty four years after Alien was released Ridley Scott returns to the universe he helped create with this kinda sorta not quite maybe a possible prequel. Much has been said about the wishy washy nature of the story already and since I wasn’t there I have no freaking idea what the original intent was for this movie. I have heard that this was originally supposed to be a direct prequel to Alien but who knows? So as it stands it’s a standalone semi-prequel that tells us a little more about the race of big space jockey dudes and their horseshoe shaped spaceships.
Prometheus begins on a primitive and lifeless Earth as a big grey muscular guy with abs of steel and wearing a diaper drinks a nasty looking concoction and then precedes to disintegrate. Fast forward millions of years to 2089 A.D. and we are introduced to some archaeologists who have made an absolutely fabulous discovery in Scotland. In a cave they find a painting of stick figures pointing at a group of stars. Bitchin stuff. We jump forward again to the year 2093 as the research vessel Prometheus makes it way to the very group of stars the stick figures were pointing at.
During a show and tell session it is revealed that this same star chart has been recorded in artwork from seven ancient civilizations so an expedition is planned to see what’s so damned exciting in this particular star system. Like all similar expeditions throughout the history of cinema this does not go according to plan and the shit really starts hitting the fan and everything else in range.
Prometheus is a film of great ambitions that sometimes hits the target but other times trips and falls flat on its face. While trying to delve into some deep thoughts on life, creation, and whatnot the story gets a little too silly and some of the characters come across as really idiotic and implausible. On the plus side this is an absolutely beautiful looking movie with some impressive set and costume designs and top notch special effects. The music score by Marc Streitenfeld gives the production a nice sense of wonder and discovery, something that is missing from many science fiction movies. The cast is filled with very talented actors who, with two exceptions, manage to elevate their somewhat underwritten roles to something better than they probably should have been.
This is one of those movies where it seems a great deal of tinkering was done in post production and it gives the story a herky jerky feel to it and makes you wonder what the original intention was. Prometheus is an amazing attempt at making something a little more thoughtful and ambitious than the average movie and even if it fails to reach the heights it could have I still applaud everyone who worked on it for trying to rise above the usual drivel.
Visually stunning movie. I love the set designs that mirror many aspects of designs used in Alien.
Amazing visual effects. CGI is finally evolving past its awkward early years (in some cases at least).
The not so good:
The characters of Fifield and Millburn are pathetic. It seems like they wandered in from another movie entirely. Their actions appear to be random and directly tied into whatever the screenplay needed them to be in any given scene. They are what I refer to as puppet characters and their actions don’t seem plausible or real.
Random thought and observations:
The Engineers are an interesting race. They obviously were a highly advanced race before we even existed and yet they seem to cling to ritual. I would think a truly advanced race would have grown out of such silly things.
The fact the Engineers created life on Earth allows for both a creationist and evolutionary theory at the same time. That should piss off quite a few people.
Interesting to compare the technology available at the time Alien was made with the tech we have now. Look at the differences in display screens:
The graphic designs on this display are easily recognizable to any fan of Ridley Scott’s movies:
The deleted and alternate scenes:
There is a longer version of the scene where the Engineer is released from the sleep chamber. There are subtitles explaining what David and the Engineer say to each other and Weyland has more lines giving a clearer view of what he was seeking. I would have kept this scenes in the movie personally.
There is an alternate scene of the mutated Fifield that has a different makeup design than the one used. I prefer the unused design.