Posted on June 3, 2012 AT 01:50pm
“In space no one can hear you scream” was the tagline to Ridleys Scott’s superb sci-fi horror Alien, which spawned a string of hit and miss sequels as well as spin offs. The film came out in ’79, before I was born so I can only imagine the fuss that was kicked when the film was released. Space became gritty, it became drenched in sizzling acid blood and it wasn’t afraid to leave you alone in the emptiness. The realism was what made Alien interesting; the group of truckers seemed like genuine friends, the technology seemed feasible but it also demonstrated that there can’t always be a happy ending. Ripley shoots the Xenomorph into space but she is literally lost in space with no way of knowing if she will be found. One thing that is remembered is the suspense of Scott’s space horror, the feeling of not knowing which person is going to die first. The space jockey was featured in Alien for less than 10 minutes yet so much mystery surrounds this creature. Going in to see Prometheus, I was cautiously optimistic and curious to see how the space jockey was going to fit into all of this.
The premise of the film is that a group of archaeologists have found clues which link civilizations thousands of years apart. The link is a number of cave paintings, stone tablets, and other mysterious drawings, showing a man like figure pointing to the stars. It thought this location holds the key to understanding where man came from. The Weyland company fund an exhibition in the exploration vessel Prometheus, to a habitable moon in the star system that has been located using modern star maps and the primitive drawings. When the crew reaches the moon, they find a number of mysterious structures but it’s when they decide to explore these structures, things start to go every way but theirs.
Lets start with the look of the film, which in my opinion is one of the finest looking films to come along in a while. The Gieger-esque design is apparent with its bio-mechanical look, the obvious hints at sexuality and nice hints at future events in this universe. The set design has a real sense of scale from the alien structures to the cargo bay of the Prometheus itself. Things in the film feel tangible, like the actors are actually there which is important because there is more of a connect between the film and the audience. There is nothing worse than watching actors in a scene which is just CGI, as it is obvious the set would’ve been all blue screen. It makes the films look artificial, less interesting and predictable which is why films like this as well as Nolan’s Batman are refreshing. The directors have good taste, they realize you don’t CGI for the sake of it. Transformers this is not, lets make that abundantly clear.
The acting in the film I thought was solid with a very good performance from Michael Fassbender. Fassbender’s ability to be robotic is very convincing as he is able to seem human enough but be devoid of any emotion. While watching the film, I felt uneasy when he was on screen as his motives don’t seem clear. When your having a private conversation with someone, he is the person who walks in and you have to quickly change the subject so they don’t hear what’s being said. Noomi Rapace is Elisabeth Shaw and works very well as a female lead. You support her in moments of turmoil as well sympathize when she is in the grip of fear. The other actors do a very good job but are the character templates you expect from this kind of film.
This film was needed in a time of over the top special effects orgies. The narrative moved at its own pace, which is the best kind of film as it’s not afraid of being itself instead of pandering to a particular audience. What I will say is that the final 30 minutes are extremely exciting and proves Ridley Scott has still got what it takes to make exciting cinema. The connections to the Alien films are apparent but I won’t ruin them here, you will need to see the film. This is for fans of science fiction, action and for people who appreciate films that take their time. Films that have a story to tell but tell the audience to “sit down, shut up and listen because what I say will not be repeated.” I can’t recommend it enough, open your mind and be enlightened for Prometheus has landed.
- THE GOOD: Acting, look of the film, and good pace.
- THE BAD: Could have been longer to flesh out the action scenes.
- THE UGLY: The creatures are damn ugly.
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