Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’, alongside the ‘Dark Knight Rises’ and a plethora of other big budget blockbusters released last summer, was one of 2012’s most anticipated releases. However, it can be argued that, although the film has its share of truly spectacular moments, the film ultimately collapses under the weight of expectation set for this prequel to Scott’s 1979 sci-fi masterpiece, ‘Alien’.
Among the many positives within the film are the two key central performances of actor Michael Fassbender (Shame, X-Men First Class, Hunger), as the morally ambiguous android ‘David’; and Swedish actress Noomi Rapace (Millennium Series) as the Archaeologist Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, whose discovery of a star map at the start of the film sets the plot in motion. Both are fantastic in their roles, with Fassbender’s performance shining brightest in the middle of a large ensemble cast.
One of the more unlikely stars of the film is the locations and scenery, such as the magnificent sets within the alien pyramid, designed by Arthur Max. Although, it can be argued that, due to the sheer number of sets, certain sets suffer from being underused such as, for example, the alien pyramid, which could have served as the setting for the majority of the film.
The film is therefore not without its flaws, as, in addition to the misuse of sets, plot holes succeed in disengaging the viewer from the film itself, as character’s motivations are left obscure, appearing atypical in certain incredible circumstances. It is this failure in fleshing out many of the supporting cast that becomes the film’s undoing in some respects, as not only is it hard to care about many of the characters when they begin to find themselves in peril, it is also confusing to understand why certain characters behave how they do in such situations.
Another major flaw is that the film’s dialogue never achieves the grandiose level of debate you would perhaps think of a feature that presents a group of highly intelligent humans in search of their creator. An example of this is when Rafe Spall’s character Millburn makes a reference to Shaw’s rejection of Darwinism. Shaw’s response at said issue is little more than to shoo away the question with a reference to her belief in her work. The film more or less follows on in a similar manner, never really daring to delve into the true implications of the crew’s discoveries, and therefore suffers as a result.
The film is incredibly enjoyable taken as a less elaborate feature than perhaps the filmmaker intended, and viewed rather as a movie in line with other less ambitious summer blockbusters. The film in no way reaches the dizzying heights of Scott’s other two sci-fi features, Blade Runner and Alien, and instead works best viewed as an entertaining sci-fi adventure picture. It can be actually argued that taken as a prequel ‘Prometheus’ can be seen as a jarring transition into the Alien Universe, even in the lines of a spiritual predecessor to the first feature, as the universe detailed in that movie appears altogether much grungier and even more realistic than that which is portrayed here.
‘Prometheus’ may have found itself at the center of much criticism following its release in theaters, though rather unfairly. This is because, although the film does not quite reach the high standard of previous efforts from Director, Ridley Scott, the film remains incredibly entertaining, making ‘Prometheus’ one for sci-fi fans and general film enthusiasts alike to check out.