Directed by: Ridley Scott Written by: Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Idris Elba, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green and Michael Fassbender
When a titanic director synonymous with science fiction cinema, Ridley Scott, steps back into the arena with a film that’s so obviously connected with his iconic Alien (1979) it immediately rockets fan expectations to untenable stratospheric heights. I gave myself a night to sleep on this review in order to digest this latest dance with a canonical film text – and I have to say that Prometheus is an accomplished film – with flaws.
Scott painterly visuals bridge the scope of intergalactic space travel, and the consequences of their discoveries with terrifying, intimate and intense moments. However the script from Lost writer/co-creator Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaights is riddled with floundering horror conventions, inconsistency and laughably obvious nods to its source of inspiration.
Prometheus (the ship) follows a team of scientists lead by Dr Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Dr Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) who discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth - leading them on a journey across the universe in search of our makers.
Michael Fassbender’s performance as the android David delivers perfectly. His majestic presence, stalking through the bowels of Prometheus attending to and observing the crew as they sleep in stasis – is profoundly textured with the same questions and yearning for ‘meaning’ that the rest of the expedition executes poorly.
Noomi Rapace is an actress synonymous with powerful leading performances and strong female characters and there’s probably not a female actor working today that could have portrayed one of the most physically violent and gasp-inducing pieces of ‘first aid’ ever committed to cinema.
Charlize Theron’s Meredith Vickers is the final really engaging enigmatic character loaded with significant (spoiler laden) motivational questions.
Scripting problems abound. How the characters transition to arrive at significant conclusions about their destinations and discoveries make you want to interrupt the film with a “I’m sorry, hold on – how did you possibly arrive at that?” The supporting characters deliver insignificant performances and bumble their way into every horror/slasher convention possible. And finally the attachment to the Alien universe, suffocates this films potential like a face-hugger.
Prometheus is proto-product placement film – where the product is Alien. The philosophical sojourn, the stirring performances by Fassbender and Rapace, and the sublime aesthetic are severely inhibited by the nods to the Alien mythos.
Prometheus provokes discussion but perhaps not the discussion that the filmmakers wanted - see it join the conversation.
Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman
Prometheus is released in Australia on the 7th of July 2012, the U.K on the 1st of June 2012 and in the U.S.A on the 8th June 2012.