Film Review: Prometheus (20th Century Fox; 2012)

 By Matthew Law 

Ridley Scott returns to the world of sci-fi cinema with the genius, creepy, and awe inspiring production that is Prometheus.

The film sees scientists Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) lead a Weyland Corporation team in search of an ancient alien civilization that could answer one of life's great unanswered questions: where did we come from?

There are two standout features in Prometheus. The first is the cinematography, and the second is the acting by Michael Fassbender. The cinematography is highly reminiscent of that seen in Alien and Blade Runner, with some modern twists that are truly delightful. The opening scene especially, of a tour of a vast landscape, is phenomenal and will definitely remind viewers of a similar style used by the late Stanley Kubrick. Then in the rest of the picture when the cinematography mixes with the legendary set design work of H.R. Giger, it just keeps getting better. Michael Fassbender's performance is so powerful and, frankly, frightening that it takes on a life of its own. His role as David, a robot who seems to possess hidden feelings and aspirations, will truly be a contender for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award.

The film itself should not be seen as an Alien prequel. Yes, it has many elements stemming from the Alien franchise, but it is not set in the same timeframe or in the same world. If anything, it could be seen as a precursor to a prequel if, indeed, Ridley Scott intends to make a sequel to Prometheus. The influence of writer Damon Lindelof adds significant depth to the film. Instead of being a simple search for alien life, the film brings up very serious and intellectually stimulating subject matter covering areas such as: faith and religion, the human soul, and the creation of life.

To describe this picture as perfect would be a gross overreaction. Yes, it is stunning, but there are some issues that need to be resolved. Firstly, there are too many holes left in the screenplay (not a shock considering Lost writer Damon Lindelof was involved) that, if they are not filled in a sequel, will leave the film rather worthless in a few years time. Secondly, the acting by the secondary characters is not the best. So bad at times in fact, that some scenes do become quite embarrassing to watch.

The good thing though, is that these issues are very small in the grand scheme of things. Prometheus is the modern day 2001: A Space Odyssey. It has returned high quality film production to the forefront of the cinematic world, and deserves serious credit for doing so.

Prometheus is out on DVD now.

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