REMARKABLE. Beautiful, engaging, entertaining and flawed — but one does not throw away a Porsche just because it has a dent in the rear quarter panel. More to come...
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The Full Review:
To explain the reasons I love and would see this film again, I need only quote Ridley Scott's protagonist from Gladiator, "Are You Not Entertained? Are You Not Entertained!" While Ridley Scott brings nothing new to the sci-fi/horror genre he helped define, he reminds us that he's still one of the best directors when it comes to storytelling within the medium.
It's best to go into Prometheus without expectations of any jaw-dropping revelations such as the "Luke I am Your Father!" moment from Empire Strikes Back. If you go in with expectations, you'll find yourself unconsciously trying to pick up on all the easter-eggs and Alien references - and in so doing, miss the overall entertainment value of Prometheus. In Ridley Scott's defense he was rather coy about whether or not Prometheus was a prequel precisely because he knew it would generate buzz. The man after all, hails from the world of advertising. Believe the man, when he says there is no direct correlation between Prometheus and Alien he means it. There are a few tips of the hat but, no direct correlation.
If you're not familiar with the premise of the movie, it follows two archeologists in 2089, Drs Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall Green), who uncover the same constellation cluster in cave paintings and other artifacts of civilizations living thousands of years apart -- with no chance that they would come in contact with each other. Believing the artifacts to be invitations from an off world entity, they discover the constellations have a real world equivalent within the star map of a distant galaxy. Finally, proof that we as humans are not alone in this universe. Soon after, we are introduced to a motley crew of scientists and journeymen on an expedition requiring deep-space hibernation, underwritten by the Weyland Corporation. Upon reaching their destination, they realize they've made a mistake in interpreting the artifacts - and mayhem ensues.
Underlying all the summertime popcorn-movie fun Scott does actually pose a few questions that encourage discussion long after the movie is over. On the sly Scott is really asking us if religion, based on faith is truly a manifestation of man. Scott after all, is a self-professed agnostic.
Prometheus asks the questions; What if our translations of cave paintings are wrong? What if instead of an invitation, they exist as warnings? More importantly, what if the people we believe to be our gods are not our saviors but, instead our executioners. Having been shown the truth would we still believe? Heady stuff for a summertime blockbuster but, Scott buries it within a narrative that is full of genuine chills and a few gasp out loud moments that will enthrall the most jaded horror fan.
The cinematography in Prometheus is enthralling. Shot specifically in 3D, the film truly shines in the first half of the movie as we are treated to beauty shots of space, the iconic spaceship and the alien landscape. It's the first film in a long time that takes good advantage of the 3D format. It's even more impressive when viewed on an IMAX screen. Viewers who see it in its traditional format will be no less impressed, the 3D was just the cherry on top of an already visually rich sundae. Production design is top notch with the details and sheen befitting a multi-million dollar production that still cost half the budget of its other summertime counterparts, The Avengers and MIB III.
Acting is believable and the ensemble works even though Michael Fassbender's David, the artificial life form, steals the show. Charlize Theron is simultaneously sexy and repulsive as the self-centered Mission Director with a hidden agenda. Idris Elba as space captain Janek, fully embraces his space-jock persona - though he is given far too little screen time. Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall Green, as Drs Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway respectively, round out the cast as the star-crossed lovers and emotional core of the movie.
Yes, Prometheus is not perfect, some of the philosophical points feel ham fisted. in some cases the character motivation is questionable and there are some logic gaps. But, remember this essentially is a horror flick. When was the last time you went to a horror flick and the cast didn't do something stupid like; complete a puzzle that opens a portal to hell, go off on their own/exploring when they've lost power, open that door the audience knows they shouldn't, antagonize the creature, don't stand on or hang out near the dead. The list of things you shouldn't do to survive in a horror movie is long and sorted - and Prometheus samples it's fair share.
You too will have a few rants about Prometheus, like the last scene which seems "tacked on" - since Scott could have ended the film 5 minutes early and still provided a satisfying conclusion. But overall you'll be glued to the screen and if you're like me - you'll be more than happy to go see it again (albeit in 2D the second time around since the $18 to see it in 3D could get costly).