Monday, 18 June 2012

People Are Not Important.

At first there was Alien. Then there was Aliens. Then there was some other stuff. The world slowly died with the release of Alien vs Predator: Requiem. Everyone agreed that the Alien universe should be left alone. But then Scott got back in the director chair. Soon teaser trailers started appearing for a movie from that very universe that should not be touched. They showed lots of people in trouble and then some letters appeared. Those letters spelt one word: Prometheus.

The year is 2089 and, upon discovering a wide range of ancient art work from ancient settlements that all share some extremely key features - people worshipping a giant who is pointing at a constellation of stars - Dr Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Dr Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) feel that they have reasonable proof to gain funding for a trip to explore where life on Earth came from. Flash forward around four years. With funding from Weyland Industries, the couple have managed to rope together an expedition aboard the ship 'Prometheus'. Also aboard the ship is David (Michael Fassbender), the android, who keeps everything ship shape whilst the rest of the crew, including Captain Janek (Idris Elba) and mission director Meredith (Charlize Theron), are in deep sleep. 'Prometheus' takes the crew to the moon of LV-223 where they are to look for a race called 'Engineers', which may be the original human. The crew discover a structure that doesn't seem natural and begin investigating. But the moon they've landed on may not be as harmless as they first believed.

The crew of Prometheus had to face their fears. 

There are good performances all round in Prometheus. Noomi Rapace gave a fantastic performance as Elizabeth Shaw. What really made her stand out was her character development. At the start of the film she is nothing more than a hard working scientist with ambition and determination. As the film progresses, that ambition and determination seem to surface more and her professionalism slips away from her. She grows and grows as a character and Rapace does an absolutely brilliant job in portraying this to the audience. Another stand out performance is that given by Michael Fassbender as the android David. Everything about him screams artificial intelligence. His movements, his speech pattern, everything, right down to his posture sitting at a table. He's the most marketed and most memorable character in the film and he'll stick with you after the movie ends. Also, Idris Elba is great as Captain Janek. He is the average guy on the ship, surrounded (mostly) by scientists and people of extreme importance. He just wants to do his job and drive his ship. He is a nice addition to the team.

'Let's go down here... I'm sure the ominous red light is nothing.'  
What really makes this film, though, is the outstanding visual effects and wonderful soundtrack. They both help to really create the atmosphere and world surrounding the crew of Prometheus. Of course, Ridley Scott worked on a 'If we can do it without VFX, we do it without VFX,' approach, which a lot of viewers will always prefer to overdone CGI. (See the many criticisms of Avatar.*) Even the 3D, something that is so wastefully used, was used to a good effect (unlike recent films like The Avengers). Prometheus is one of those rare movies that is enhanced by the 3D. The biggest issue with the film is in the plot. Often, things happen and are not even mentioned later or explained. (For those who have seen the movie, see Red Letter Media's video on unanswered questions.) Scott has already mentioned that this is not the full director's cut, so fingers crossed that plot holes or confusing points are elaborated in future editions.

Despite the issues with the writing, and the fact that some characters make extremely rash or perculiar decisions, the film has enough merits to stand in the company of good science fiction thrillers. The big mistake, when seeing this movie, is expecting an Alien film. Don't even compare. This film should be considered as its own film and not be connected, or considered related, to the Alien franchise. Many a disappointed viewer has claimed, 'it just wasn't like Alien.' It is its own film with a very loose connection to the Alien franchise. Enjoy it on its own merits, of which it has plenty.

Best bit? The scene in which David informs Shaw of the interesting results of her medical scan and Shaw's reaction to that, is one that shows the android's character in his fullest extent and the professor in her most challenging situation, psychologically and physically. A good scene.

*A view that is not shared by this blog writer. I adored the visual effects in Avatar and don't think it was too much CGI.

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