You know when you see a film and you just wanna talk about it? Well, that’s what I intend to do here. It was only yesterday that Prometheus came out in OZ, and it was today that I saw it at the cinema. I’m not too sure when it was released elsewhere in the world, but it often seems that Australia gets everything last, so for all I know it was released in the States ten years ago and we are only seeing it now. I mean, we only just received ‘Justified’ and in the States it’s up to season five? WTH!
Anyway, the review – Prometheus in Oz only came with an ‘M’ rating, probably due to the fact that there really isn’t very much blood. But that is not to say the film is not disturbing, cuz such would not be true. As a prequel to the ‘Alien’ franchise, Prometheus goes out of its way to change things up for its audience by presenting themes on the dawn of life, the creation of the alien species and that of humanity, and one has to admit that it is pretty interesting what the writers have done in this respect.
What the Alien franchise did however, apart from emphasising how if you want a good alien feature the creatures need to be dark, disturbing and really pissed off, is prove that women make pretty awesome protagonists. I remember in 2003, an entertainment magazine of sorts had a survey of which action hero would most people like to have come to their aid; Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Vin Diesel or Bruce Willis, and the end result came back Sigourney Weaver, which I think proves my point.
Prometheus does this again with Noomi Rapace who plays Elizabeth Shaw, the lead scientist on the expedition who basically got the whole thing underway with her words after convincing Mr. Weyland to go through with the mission and fork in all the money required for it. However, who would have known that Ms. Rapce was actually very beautiful when she doesn’t have all that shit in her face required for her role as Lisbeth Salander in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series? I sure didn’t.
Like may female protagonists, Shaw uses her intellect to successfully navigate through the problems that occur, not being the stereotypical action man dragon slayer, which just goes to show how men are the action heroes cuz they go blasting into everything without thinking, whilst the women hang back and think it through before taking out their opponent with brains rather than balls. As a character, Shaw is a scientist as mentioned, but is grounded by her religious beliefs, and her faith has kept her going and motivated her to excel, which is a continued theme throughout.
The one character however that will probably intrigue you the most is the robot. Introduced at the start, he is quite the complex character, explaining how he has no emotions and does not care, but seems to contradict this by ensuring mission success of all that he is programmed to accomplish and using a rather darkened tone when emphasising certain ideas, often insulting those who he communicates with, before subtlety apologising, but doing so in a way that clearly states how he couldn’t care less. The most intriguing thing about his character however are his loyalties, and where they lie exactly; over the course of the feature he keeps switching positions from a character of whom is neutral, to a protagonist and then to an antagonist, before switching back to a neutral one once more.
Additionally the film has a number of characters, this being introduced at the start with the mission computer expressing how there are eighteen passengers on board the vessel, which from the very start you can just tell means the writers have plenty of cast they can kill off, which they certainly go to town on as the film progresses. Safe to say, not everyone is going to live to see the conclusion. This is quite funny though, for most of the crew have a PhD in something or another, and yet one has to wonder why in films, even the smartest of characters still feel the need to bait an alien rather playfully as though they are an innocent child – even though they look like they are gonna truly screw the scientist over in the next few seconds which they always do. I will say this about the death scenes – when the creators of Prometheus kill someone, they REALLY kill them. People are gonna get burnt, blown up, melted, turned into alien monsters and have pieces of their bodies sliced and diced. Yes, good times.
On top of this, the film can be quite predictable, but not annoyingly so, for even if you know what is going to happen, it is either accomplished in such a disturbing, heart racing or exciting manner that it still captures your attention no matter what.
This is one thing the film does best – keep your attention, for even though the film goes crazy somewhere between half way to two thirds through the feature, it still mangers to keep you vested in watching it. The film has a lot of talking scenes and numerous explorations of science and religion, which do not clash as you might imagine, but seem to work harmoniously throughout the feature. Although these scenes are pertinent to the story, one sometimes has to wonder what Prometheus is – is it a science fiction feature, or a horror? Either way, the film seems to do a pretty good job at both.
Moreover, the special effects are absolutely out of this world awesome which will add to the attention grabbing properties of the film, however the amount of times you see aliens are quite infrequent, with the primary ones being humanoids. I am however not giving anything away by saying this because the opening of the feature introduces one of them to the character right before it commits suicide. They are quite human looking, with the difference that they are entirely bald and look as though there isn’t very much going on behind their jet black eyes, with huge muscular bodies, looking like they are part of a militarian race who believe that clothing either consists primarily of their birthday suits and metallic instruments. There are a couple additional scenes with face huggers, not the ones from the original franchise but ones that are incredibly different which just goes to show the audience the long line of evolution between 2094, when the film is set, and when the next one is almost, what, a century later?
The previous films seemed to be set quite a lot around breeding, I mean, the face huggers have that elongated sexual organ that they plunge into a human’s orifice to inject them with the next part of the evolutionary cycle? That is continued in this feature, in more ways than one, but rather loosely, with alien DNA being the primary bad guy rather than alien organisms.
The one thing about the film that was quite appalling were the 3D effects. Now, I don’t know if it was just the film, or the cinema I saw it in (Hoyts Xtremescreen, which according to the ad has better screen, sound and seating than all other venues and has the tendency to blow people right out of the cinema due to the quality). Okay, so a couple times a few particles came out, and closer towards the end when Shaw was running she came out of the screen, and I admit I was a little disappointed when she didn’t just fall straight into my lap, and the ‘depth’ wasn’t much to speak of either.
Yes, depth? What is depth? It seems that nowadays, depth is the new iconic 3D, and I would like to know what genius came up with that idea. I remember back in 1999, I saw a film at IMAX, where a group of archeologists dug up a Tyrannosaur skeleton, and throughout the film there were continuous 3D effects – rocks falling off a cliff and directly into your face. The egg they found cracking open, and the Tyrannosaur suddenly growing flesh in one’s mind and coming down to bite them, its face basically coming out an inch away from my nose. My point? Those days are gone, and 3D has been replaced with this pathetic excuse for imagery that is as 3D as an image a 2 year old could draw on a piece of paper.
I can only hope that 3D effects in the future become better than they are now and actually decide to come out at you. In fact, the most 3D thing about the film, was not the film at all, but the trailer for the upcoming Katy Perry behind the scenes feature, where glitter and beach balls came flying out of the screen, even Ms. Perry herself at one time jumping out and saying ‘hi!’
One thing that Prometheus will do is have you second guessing every jet black drink you will ever digest from this moment on. All in all, I give the film a 3.5 out of 5, or a 7 out of 10. I would see it again when it comes out on BluRay, but I probably would not make it a habit of watching it every night, or once a week for that matter.