540 of 616 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2012
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
I'm reviewing the 4-Disc Collector's Edition. I'll go through each disc individually to give you an idea of what you'll be getting, and which version you should purchase. But first, let's briefly discuss the movie itself.
If you haven't seen the film yet, you're still probably aware of the polarized reception it received. Some love it, some hate it. Instead of giving you another opinion on why it's the best/worst film ever, let me tell you what to expect. PROMETHEUS is not a horror film. Certainly it has structural similarities to ALIEN, and there is one scene that I would consider very "stressful." But overall, the film is what I would classify as a "concept drama." That is, a drama that doesn't focus on characters, but rather on concept. Don't let any of the tense trailers fool you, this movie was meant as a discussion piece, not an adrenaline rush. You can decide whether it succeeds or fails when you watch it yourself.
Onto the discs ...
DISC 1 - 3D Blu-Ray (ONLY AVAILABLE IN THE 4-DISC VERSION)
A lot of critics commented that PROMETHEUS had some of the best use of 3D they have ever seen. I don't know that it fully delivered on what I was expecting, but here is my take on the 3D presentation seen on this disc:
1) 3D isn't used as a gimmick where things jut out of the screen at you, which is a plus in my book.
2) There are a few sequences that look absolutely gorgeous in 3D, usually involving holograms or "projected" images. I also think that the medpod scene benefits particularly by the use of 3D.
3) I feel like the depth of the 3D was under-utilized. Almost everyone seems to disagree with me, but I felt that throughout most of the film, the 3D was a bit flat. That being said, if you prefer 3D, you should get this disc in order to fully appreciate the aforementioned scenes.
The image quality was near perfect, and there were no noticeable signs of ghosting on my TV setup. Audio quality was fantastic, the mix sounded nearly identical to the 2D disc, so I'll comment more on it in my review of that disc. Subtitles are also included.
DISC 2 - 2D Blu-Ray (AVAILABLE IN ALL BLU-RAY VERSIONS)
The image quality here is near perfect. Most important for me are the blacks, which are quite striking on this transfer. Definite reference quality material here. As far as audio clarity goes, it's spot on. The dynamics are up to a bit of interpretation, but it is worth noting that the speakers are seperated with precision. And there aren't any silly choices made like dialogue coming only from the front speakers, or the back speakers being dedicated exclusively to music. Subtitles are again included.
The primary draw of this disc, apart from the film itself, is the surprisingly large wealth of bonus features. We have two audio commentaries: one by director Ridley Scott, and one by the writers. In addition, there are more than 30 minutes of alternate and deleted scenes (although many scenes have incredibly minimal changes) with optional audio commentary, and The Peter Weyland files. The Peter Weyland files are comprised of four videos (created for the express purpose of promoting the movie) that play very much like deleted scenes or webisodes. None of the content is necessary to understand the film, but they certainly help give further context and depth.
For any casual fan, this disc includes all of the elements comprising of PROMETHEUS's "canon." So unless you want a 3D copy of the movie, or are into bonus features, the standard Blu-Ray release should be more than satisfactory.
DISC 3 - Blu-Ray Bonus Disc (ONLY AVAILABLE IN THE 4-DISC VERSION)
As far as completionists go, this disc is solid, if not perfect. I was hoping that FOX would come out with an extended cut of the film to be released six months down the road, but this seems to be the definitive home video release for the foreseeable future.
The good news is that it's the most COMPLETE wealth of bonus features I have seen since the transition of home video to the Blu-Ray format. From the "Behind the Scenes" documentary, which performed beyond my wildest dreams, to an incredibly massive collection of pre-vis sequences, artwork, stills, storyboards, promotional content, and more. (I love when they're willing to include marketing material like trailers, tv spots, and posters, because those so often shape our opinions of the final product.)
So why do I think that the disc is imperfect? Because there is more content that we were told that we would get that we're not getting. In an interview, Ridley mentioned at least one deleted scene that we're not getting here. We were also promised an early version of the script, while the film was still a hardcore ALIEN prequel. That was supposed to be on the "second screen" app. Due to ambiguous legal reasons, that's not happening.
(On that note, the second screen app is an interesting idea, but isn't necessary for a complete viewing experience.)
DISC 4 - DVD + DIGITAL COPY DISC (AVAILABLE IN BOTH BLU-RAY VERSIONS)
This is a bare bones version of the DVD and includes a digital copy. It doesn't include any of the special features that are on the standard DVD release, but those are all included on the 2D Blu-Ray disc anyway. The advantage I see with these combo packs isn't that I need to watch the same movie on a billion different devices, but if I currently have only a DVD player, and plan on upgrading to Blu-Ray eventually, I can buy the special edition now for only a few dollars more than buying the DVD on its own.
Both the two and four-disc version comes with an Ultraviolet copy of the movie IN ADDITION to the standard digital copy.
[EDIT AS OF OCT. 21st] Some have reported macro-blocking and various other issues with the 2D Blu-Ray disc and the Extras disc. Not all copies are affected, but if yours is, and you don't wish to exchange your discs, you should be able to fix it by turning off your Blu-Ray player's internet connection. It apparently has something to do with new copy protection protocal. In addition, there have been reports of these discs working well after updating the firmware, and/or on different Blu-Ray players.
2,799 of 3,464 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Are your survival skills as finely honed as the scientists aboard Prometheus? Let's find out...
You, a scientist, have landed on a distant planet with a team of fellow scientists in search of alien life. What would you do in the following scenarios?
1. Upon first arrival and entrance into what appears to be a manufactured cave structure, you deploy very high tech scanning and mapping probes. Do you:
A) Also send out your android crew member to evaluate any possible danger and then wait for the probes to finish scanning and mapping before you begin exploring?
B) Brazenly charge forward into the unknown and maybe consult your equipment's discoveries later, shrugging off any blips of alien life as an equipment malfunction?
2. While traveling through the cave structure on this alien planet you discover the presence of oxygen in the air. Do you:
A) Keep your space helmet secured tightly because there may be any number of unknown elements, pathogens, bacteria, contagions, and other toxic substances in the atmosphere that are undetectable by your equipment?
B) Quickly remove your helmet AFTER stating what an idiotic idea it is because a fellow teenage scientist, who has properly tested the air by taking a few shallow breaths, peer-pressures you into it?
3. Your android crew member appears to have quickly learned the language of the inscriptions found within the cave. Do you:
A) Ask him to translate everything and share his wealth of knowledge from that point forward?
B) Treat him like a red-headed step child and ignore him for the rest of the mission?
4. As scientists on a mission in search of alien life, you stumble upon a deceased alien life form in the cave structure. Do you:
A) Restrain your excitement at the discovery and prepare to study, take samples, and test further?
B) Piss your pants in fear and then while attempting to return to the ship you run in random directions until you are lost within the caves, refusing to consult the mapping tools you brought with you even though you happen to be THE expert in their usage?
5. After becoming lost within the caves you learn of a storm outside that will prevent you from returning to the ship until morning. Do you:
A) Break out your mapping tools to help determine your location and plot your exit strategy; or still refusing that logic, simply ask the crew on the ship to help guide you through the caves with their 3D map which includes your location?
B) Decide that exploring deeper into the caves to frighten yourself further with more deceased alien discoveries is probably the most logical thing you can be doing with your spare time?
6. After wandering through the entire haunted-house cave structure you decide to enter the initial room that frightened you off in the first place; unfortunately you then come face to face with a living alien that resembles a large snake which begins posturing and hissing at you like a king cobra. Do you:
A) Shoot it in the face and run for your miserable life?
B) Decide that you are only afraid of dead aliens and not live ones, and then try to pet the aggressive alien snake with your hand?
7. Upon the discovery of a 2000 year old decapitated alien head which has been wondrously preserved, you bag the head in your trusty ziplock and return to the ship with your trophy for testing. Do you:
A) Take a sample and have a look at its DNA first?
B) Recalling your fond memories of Frankenstein, you inject stem cells into its locus coeruleus to re-animate it and increase the amps until the alien head explodes; and then you run your tests?
8. You manage to collect a small sample of a strange black goop in the caves, which appears to be alive. Do you:
A) Put a drop onto a slide and take a look under a microscope?
B) Decide that the scientific method of small children will yield the best and quickest results and so you secretly put a drop into a drink which you then give to a scientist to see what happens?
9. You have become incredibly sick with some unknown illness and witness an alien larva worm crawl out of your eye. Do you:
A) Quarantine yourself and ask the other crew members to help treat your condition immediately?
B) Pretend that nothing is amiss and you feel fine, then romp about as usual with the rest of the crew until you collapse half-dead?
10. After a contagion outbreak and another scientist lost to death-by-alien-snake, the missing scientist left for dead in the caves returns to the ship as a zombie spider monkey. Do you:
A) Leave the door tightly secured until you can determine the status of the unresponsive crew member with the variety of cameras located on the ship?
B) Open the door and go out alone to investigate, then kick the creature while turning your back to it until it smashes your face in with its zombie strength?
11. You come face to face with an Engineer, the creator of humans, after waking him from hypersleep. Do you:
A) Attempt to speak his language and introduce yourself, your crew, and your mission?
B) Barrage him with fat mama jokes until he becomes an enraged Neanderthal and tears your head off with his bare hands?
12. A disc shaped spaceship rolls towards you in the final moments of its crash landing. Do you:
A) Run ten yards to the right or left, perpendicular to the ship's path, and let it roll on by?
B) In the heat of the moment you forget about the steamroller scene from Austin Powers, and so for a full minute you attempt to outrun the crashing town-sized spaceship by following its trajectory as it slowly barrels towards you?
How did you do? Total your score and share it in the comments!
All A's = 1 point
All B's = 0 points
Hopefully you managed better than the total of ZERO scored by the characters plucked straight out of a teenage slasher film to masquerade as scientists in the movie Prometheus!
"On behalf of scientists everywhere, I am ashamed to count you among us." -Milburn
[If you enjoyed this review, I highly recommend The Skeptics' Guide To The Universe Podcast #363]
156 of 201 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2012
-There have been various opinions about the special effects. Personally, I thought the visuals and soundtrack were awesome. They definitely made me favorably disposed towards this film.
-Michael Fassbender is spellbinding.
The main problem with the entire film is that nobody (other than Michael Fassbender) has any plausible motivation for the majority of their behavior. As a result the entire movie is basically just an exercise in convenience, much like your modern B-movie horror flick.
**** COMPLETE SPOILER ****
Weyland is old and dying. A couple scientists convince him our progenitors are located in a specific solar system based on some old cave paintings found in separate locations. Weyland immediately spends a few trillion on a space ship and fills it full of the most absurd band of miscreants he can find, plus one awesome android, plus himself (shhhh it's an unnecessary secret). His plan?... become immortal somehow.
It's just completely absurd. Why is he secretly on the ship, instead of just... entirely visibly on the ship? It's HIS ship. Why does he think wandering up to these aliens and asking them a few questions is a good route to immortality in the first place? Honestly his role/quest is entirely unnecessary and should have either been legitimized with SOME sort of evidence, reasoning, or belief structure, or thrown out. When his quest inevitably and laughably fails even his final quote... is stupid. We don't care enough about his mission to care about its failure.
The four scientists are far more maddening and will be discussed from least maddening to "makes me want to curl up into a ball and sob uncontrollably" can-of-walnuts crazytown. We start with the two scientists who discover the... constellation (hold on a minute, why were the aliens pointing out their biological-weapon-factory-planet to a bunch of neandarthals?? A 20,000 year delayed trap? SENSELESS). Noomi has "faith" which is discussed and never legitimized outside of some sad, pithy dreams, but she has very little sense. She does, however, occasionally react to situations properly. This occasional legitimate action makes her not completely terrible.
Noomi's boyfriend scientist does not react to any situation properly. First, he takes of his helmet because... Why not? He gets depressed by finding dead aliens instead of living ones. He also manages to be a gigantic asshat to the most dangerous character on the ship (Michael Fassbender drips with menace throughout the entire movie). Afterwards he sees proof that he is infected with some crazy alien eye worms and... ignores it. Ingenious! Needless to say when he is torched with a flamethrower nobody cares.
Choosing who is worst between the geologist and biologist is kind of like choosing the least appetizing between two liver flukes. You can't win. The geologist gets lost in a cave which he MAPPED with his OWN devices. Furthermore being that he is... I don't know... a GEOLOGIST, why can't he find his way out of a cave? Meanwhile the biologist, in possibly the most daringly risky action in all of fictional biology, sticks his hand basically INSIDE the mouth of an alien death snake after RUNNING from a "possible life form reading" in the previous scene. What lifeform was he imagining previously if he's willing to immediately leap into the mouth of a terrifying, albino snake-beast? They both die horribly and nobody cares. I honestly laughed derisively.
This is all a long winded way of saying a bunch of stuff happens and nobody cares, seemingly not even the characters in the movie. The science doesn't make any sense, of course, but I cared a lot less about that than the terrifying senselessness of the story and characters. Once the movie clunkily transitions into its horror phase there is a feeling of stupid inevitability to every death as the characters one by one run (sometimes quite literally) directly towards their doom. At the end of the movie (kindly telegraphed by the previews to the movie... thanks marketing!) all I could feel was a general malaise. This feeling combined with the knowledge that this script could have been fixed for about .01% of the money pumped into special effects left me decidely nonplussed. This movie could have been one of the best Sci Fi epics of all time; instead it's a laughable farce. Worth watching once just for Michael Fassbender and the aforementioned effects, or lots of times if you liked Transformers...
537 of 738 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2012
"Prometheus has landed." You've all no doubt seen the bombardment of television advertisements ranging from ESPN collaborations with the NBA Finals to Coors Light ads featuring the impressive ship landing on an alien surface. Ridley Scott defined the science fiction horror genre when he gave us an absolute perfect film in 1979: "Alien." There is nothing I can fault with this film. It's the perfect blend of science and horror. It uses suspense rather than gore. It rarely shows us the creature lurking aboard the ship, yet we feel like we've been forced to stare at it's disturbing makeup for hours. In fact, the alien (or "xenomorph") is only seen on screen for a total of 4 minutes. In a two plus hour film. You'd swear he was staring you in the face the entire time. So, when Scott announced two years ago that he would be revisiting the universe he helped redefine, I was ecstatic. I followed the film when it was known simply as "Alien 5," then "The Untitled Ridley Scott Alien Project," the "Alien Paradise," and eventually, "Prometheus." It was penned to be a prequel to "Alien" wherein we'd get the story of how the xenomorphs came to be, who that big guy in the pilot seat of the alien space ship was, and then a beautiful segue into the opening sequence of the original film. But then it changed. Scott decided to widen the scope and take the story much further than we ever imagined.
An "Alien" prequel, this is not.
Those of you expecting to see the iconic creature roaming around the ship and picking off crew members one by one, will be sorely disappointed. Those of you who are open to seeing something wholly original, with some very creative DNA strands connecting it to the "Alien" universe, will be incredibly impressed.
The connections are few, but they are big, in my opinion. You have Weyland Industries playing a major role, which it did in the original film, you've got androids, you've got LV-223, a moon in the same solar system as LV-426, the planet on which the original takes place, you've got the "Space Jockey's," (or the big, fossilized creature in the pilot seat of the original film) and yes, of course, you've got a host of strange, bizarre, and disgusting creatures that are recognizable, yet unique, to this universe.
The film's major drawback, for me, would be that it asks too many questions, gives us a half-ass answer to some of them, and then forgets about the rest. However, since Scott has publicly stated the film is to be a new trilogy, it does make sense that we'd have to learn more from sequels to come. This is just part one of the prequel to "Alien." This is part one of three, that will eventually lead us to the opening sequence of the original film. But we're still a hundred years away from that universe in "Prometheus." The xenomorphs haven't even been created yet. And yes, I said created. It's hard to discuss this film without giving away major spoilers, so I won't say anymore about that. But the creatures you do encounter are equally as strange, dangerous, and one of them (when we see it in great detail) is one of the most disgusting and revolting things to look at on screen that I've ever seen.
The performances are, for the most part, very good. Idris Elba as the captain of the ship is brilliant, Noomi Repace is very good as the naive young scientist who is trying to balance her faith in God with her work in science, Charlize Theron plays the ice-cold bitch perfectly, but it's Michael Fassebender's performance as the quasi-evil android, "David," that steals the show. It's nothing short of Oscar worthy, in my opinion. His walk is reminiscent of Olympic swimmer Greg Luganis' and he parts his hair and models his dialect after Peter O'Toole in "Lawrence of Arabia." He is amazing to watch on screen.
What really shines in the film, though, is the incredible visuals. It is a pure eye-gasm for two hours with the special effects. For the first time, the computer generated creatures look and feel like they have real weight and substance to them. It's hard to tell if they are animatronic or computer rendered. Every detail (down to peeling placental tissues on a "squid baby") is in place and makes you feel like you're there. And the 3D is mesmerizing and the best use I've ever seen, even trumping "The Avengers." The sound is deafening and it all comes together for a true masterpiece of artistic genius.
As for the "squid baby." Yeah, I'm not going to say anything else, other than the scene will surely go down as one of the great horror moments in the history of film, and that it easily rivals the shock of the original "chest burster scene" from "Alien," when poor John Heard starts...choking. This will be a scene talked about for years to come, I know it.
In closing, "Prometheus" is a genius piece of science fiction art. It's for the hardcore sci-fi fans, not for the folks who just want to see a horror movie with slimy monsters roaming around. It's got incredible substance, it's got the most beautiful opening sequence to a film I can think of, and it's got top notch special effects that are unmatched, in my opinion, to date. And even amongst all of the great acting, deep story telling, thought provoking ideologies and gorgeous set pieces, we still get a couple of nasty little creatures to help us get that "Alien" vibe. And the last thirty seconds of the film REALLY give the fanboys what we were after.
4.8/5 Stars, losing a tiny portion because of some big plot holes, but hopefully regaining it when the sequel answers those burning questions.
41 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Part ALIEN VS PREDATOR and part Chariots of the Gods, PROMETHEUS is a beautiful but convoluted mess of a movie that manages to breath a tiny bit of life into an old franchise, but not much else.
The plot - which is more or less explained in the trailers - is fairly simple: 80 years into the future scientists find evidence that aliens have been to earth - and that they've left a clue as to where to meet them. Naturally, we go to find out what all the cave drawings are about and predictably, things go terribly wrong.
Considering that PROMETHEUS is set in the ALIEN universe (something that only the newest trailers even admit to), nearly every ALIEN fan will immediately recognize the similarities - the alien world, a morally corrupt robot, a large corporation with it own designs, and lots of space ship stuff (both alien in nature and human). Which is all well and good, but somehow returning director Ridley Scott and writers Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof still manage to step on their dicks, despite a massive budget and familiar stomping grounds.
The plot is simple, which is fine (it is a prequel to a movie who's sole original purpose was to have someones chest explode from the inside out after all), but so are the characters - all very one dimensional, very flat. Some of that's because it's just not a great cast - the "Ripley" type character is played by Noomi Rapace who is a fine actor, but simply doesn't have either the charisma or physique to pull off her role in this film. Other roles are just as flat. Ironically, only Michael Fassbender as the robot is interesting in the slightest.
Besides the flatness of characters, they also act unbelievably - a death knell for any scifi movie, no matter how big the sets. Characters take off their helmets in what's clearly a f'd up looking spaceship where shit's gone wrong - 'cause that's safe. When they discover what should be the biggest thing in history, they seem no more amazed then if they had just bought a Happy Meal and the toy was broken. They then leave that discovery because it will be getting cold outside - not 150 degrees below zero cold mind you, just cold. I guess the trillion dollar expedition forgot to bring matches for a fire. Just totally unbelievable.
No sense from the script (which is set so relatively near in the future) if there's even been any other alien life discovered before this trip or even when warp drive was discovered. It doesn't seem like the adventure of a life time to these characters (which of course it should), but more like a pain in the ass trip to the corner store for diapers. When they see the giant human head statue found on a deserted world in the middle of dead space, no one bats so much as an eyelash. Absolutely the wrong tone. Even the characters in the original ALIEN - who were nothing but glorified space truckers - took more glee in their potential discovery.
Equally stupid are the character's actions - Somehow 2 characters get lost 50 feet from the front door of the alien ship.... then even more inexplicably are left behind there b/c no one knows they're missing. One guy gets infected by what I guess is an alien, but says NOTHING (you know, even though they're on a trillion dollar scientific research spaceship). Just dumb, both in believability and in tone.
Just as wrong in tone is the music, which half the time is brilliant (when he channels Jerry Goldsmith) and the rest of the time is just awful. For some unknown reason, Scott must have instructed composer Marc Streitenfeld to write "hero" music for the "Prometheus" alien, which any time it's played take one immediately out of any sort of suspense that might have built up to that point. Absolutely stupid and again it makes one wonder just how Scott could have made such a plainly wrong decision - it is a horror movie after all, right? At other times, when the shit hits the fan, the music is so loud and so wrong that it literally kills any danger that characters you barely care about might be in.
And lastly, the continuity errors. Just oodles of them when compared to the original, including two so huge they had to be on purpose... didn't they?
In the end, you really have to ask yourself why this movie was made. Whatever it does for the storyline could have been done in about a 1/4 of the screen time - and regardless of the storytelling (or lack thereof), it covers much of the same ground that ALIEN V PREDATOR did (without ever telling the audience whether or not we should consider that movie canon or not). If I sound frustrated, that's because I am. The ALIEN universe is a cool one, with more then enough story-lines to do something new. The "revelations" this movie shows us are A) predictable and B) underwhelming, both in scope and execution. At times, just when you think the movie might pull it's feet from the blah mire it's in and reach something special, it falls right back into the goop.
Simply put, a movie set in that universe with a $150 plus million budget aught not be so average. It feels like it should be a great film, or at least a very good film (mostly because of the amazing sets and CG work), but in the end it's terribly blah. In the end, I'd have to say that AVP is actually a better movie, b/c while that film doesn't reach nearly so high, it does actually achieve what it sets out to do.
Hate to say it, but after ROBIN HOOD and now this, it's clear that Ridley's lost it.
BOTTOM LINE: 3 I think Michael Fassbender looks like a young Peter O'Toole too! out of 5
115 of 158 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2012
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
While most of the reviews I have seen so far regarding the release of Prometheus on Blu-ray have done a fine job at criticizing much of the movie and director for some reason, I would just like to review the features list for this release in particular. According to recently released specs, the 3D 4 disc set is the one to go for. On Amazon.com there is no indication of the special features list for either the 2 or 4 disc versions, but evidently this release, the 3D version, is the one that will have an extra special features disc and is actually referenced as the "Collector's Edition" release. The additional features available on both the 2 and 4 disc sets are as follows:
*Commentary by Director/Producer Ridley Scott
*Commentary by Writer Jon Spaihts and Writer/Executive Producer Damon Lindelof
*"The Peter Weyland Files"
*Deleted and Alternate Scenes that include an Alternate Opening / Ending
*Prometheus - Weyland Corp Archive Second Screen App
*DVD / Digital Copy
The four disc has these additional extras:
*3D Theatrical Cut of Movie
*"The Furious Gods: Making Prometheus"
*Weyland Corp Archive
So for those of you, like me, that really enjoy the extras (and by the way the trailer video for the 4 disc set leads with the words "questions will be answered" and references Planet LV-426 and the Alien tie-in questions that other reviewers mention as faults with the movie), this is the one to go for.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
What a let down this film was for me, as huge big fan of the original Alien franchise I cannot fathom what the creators of this project were shooting for. In the original Alien film it would be understandable that upon being woken up from hypersleep that a crew of miners would be pissed off about having to investigate an unknown "signal" on an uncharted planet. But on a mission of such massive significance as the Prometheus that we would find such a dysfunctional crew of meatheads an self serving douche bags. Shortly after waking up from an extended sleep the crew look at each other like its the first time they've ever met and one of them trying to be friendly to another gets a response (in a gravely voice) that goes something like... "I'm here to make money, not be your friend, so leave me the hell alone..." REALLY? A mission of this magnitude and they felt the need to write into the script this totally unbelievable B.S.? They couldn't create enough drama and tension without the need to add this manufactured nonsense into the film?
Well, that was it for me, my suspension of disbelief was gone 15 minutes into the film. Very dissapointing too as this could have REALLY been something to behold, plus coming from my all time favorite director well...all I can say is the next two films really need to shine to mask the stink of this one.
323 of 449 people found the following review helpful
I saw the two original Alien movies when I was young enough that they would forge my lifelong love of movies. These films transcended the science fiction I was used to seeing and offered a grown-up, more cynical and dangerous version of Star Wars, Star Trek and the like. So I was one of the first in line to get tickets to Prometheus which I hoped would reboot the franchise and erase the memory of the later inferior Alien films.
Overall, there are moments of supreme cinematic greatness combined with a few gaffs of bad science and plot logic but largely it's a fusion of some of Ridley Scott's most brilliant themes.
*** Potential spoilers ahead ***
First, the weaker parts: scientists discover a drawing of 5 dots in a cave in Scotland which they've seen in other caves throughout history - they take the massive leap of logic to presume that not only did these come from aliens as a map, but these same aliens were the creators of humans. These scientists use this flimsy thesis to convince a death-obsessed rich guy to funnel one trillion dollars into developing the technology to reach the dots.
The really bad science doesn't end there. Once we reach the alien cave, they continue to make one bad decision after another despite some very scary things happening. This is where it lurches more into the teen horror flick genre where characters disband, poke around the dark and inevitably meet their Alien-oriented grisly endings.
There are also some weaker moments of dialog that seem like a tack-on from test audience screenings not understanding what's happening: one has Shaw discussing her infertility with her partner in a conversational segway that's really off. Later, Charlize Theron reveals her true relationship with Weyland which is a little tired. I'm probably being a little harsh because I expect so much from this film.
But on the plus side, this is an excellent movie in any regular context but also a welcome addition to the Alien universe. There is so much overlap from Alien and Aliens that there is a sense of having seen much of it all before but large parts of the idea do stand on their own. There are some truly great horror moments that are simultaneously gripping, revolting, disturbing and original, and it's these handful of scenes that stand out after watching the whole thing.
The visuals have never been better, featuring an alien landscape that's seductive, fluid and organic, supported by the invisible use of first class CGI - and it looks even better in 3D. Whereas Alien pulled back from the full sexuality of H R Giger's designs, this film doesn't pull punches in the creature designs and attacks of the face-huggers. The design of the engineers, the creative use of holograms and look of the ship are all extremely well conceived.
This is also an exceptional cast. Noomi Rapace reminded me of how great Sigourney Weaver was and delivers ferociously in this role. Similarly Michael Fassbender crafts a delicate performance as the ship's android, treading the line between its appreciation of the beauty of life's designs and the psychotic nature of something that can think but not feel. His character is essential in connecting the themes of death being a part of life and the desire to meet and sometimes destroy your creator.
This is all wrapped in a very, very complicated backstory about how the engineers spread life around the universe like space-travelling gardeners. There are mythical connections to Prometheus (wiki it to see) and some not-too-subtle religious parallels (Shaw is a barren woman made pregnant by God?). There are strong themes of selfishness and self sacrifice, natural death and immortality, and many many references to other science fiction works.
It's worthy of five stars since it's a league ahead of anything else I've seen this year and it's good to see Ridley Scott at the top of his game.
76 of 105 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2012
*** WAY TOO MANY SPOILERS***
Visually, Prometheus is a stunner. The CGI and photography look fantastic; you get your money's worth in that regard. The same can't be said for the script and characters, which are dumber than a bucket of dirt! Here's why:
1. Peter Weyland, who funds the expedition, appears at the beginning of the film via recorded video, introduces himself to the crew and reveals that, by the time they see this, he would be dead. Near the end of the film, he re-appears, but in human form. In the ship. Right there. In the ship. The question arises: Why the hell would Weyland appear to be dead, hide in his own bloody ship - HIS OWN SHIP!! - then casually re-appear an hour or so later in the movie to ask the Engineers to prevent his death from old age?
2. Before heading out on their mission, Shaw informs Jackson, expedition SECURITY, that this is a scientific expedition and that no weapons are allowed. Why was Jackson included for the mission then? If he's not allowed to carry weapons, how will he defend the team in case real trouble arises on an alien planet on which no humans have ever set foot? What's he going to use? Karate? The Judo chop?
3. Fifield's tantrum upon finding the first dead alien. Why would Weyland choose a wimpy geologist - who just "loves rocks" - for an enormously expensive and potentially dangerous expedition to an alien planet gazillion miles from earth? Surely the suitable candidate for such a mission should be robust and prepared for any sort of emergency, including finding dead weird stuff he's never seen before! But instead, Fifield scampers off back to the ship, taking scared-stiff biologist Millburn along with him! Where did Weyland find these wimps?
4. Why is David, the programmed and therefore supposedly obedient and smart android so ill-disciplined? He opens alien doors without asking permission ("oops, sorry"), he touches the stone cylinders without thinking ("sorry"), he inexplicably and intentionally poisons Holloway with the black liquid (not sorry, I presume). Why doesn't he test the stuff in a lab first? He's android gone wild! And yet, towards the end he helpfully and sincerely assists Shaw to find another ship! How touching. Aw[...]
5. Before the storm arrives, why do Millburn and Fifield wander around aimlessly in the caves? They're lost, see. And they're smart, too. They're scientists. Why then, don't they ask help from Prometheus who could EASILY guide them back to the ship via the mapping system which, only recently, had mapped out the entire cave?!
6. Fifield and Millburn are scared of dead aliens. Apparently, Millburn is not scared of live alien snakes. What does he do when he's confronted by a threatening alien snake? He pets it of course. Fifield just stands by. And watches. Why not? Makes perfect sense. The snake then kills Millburn. Even better.
7. With the help of a medicinal apparatus, Shaw performs abdominal surgery on herself to remove an alien host - a squid. Shortly after, she stumbles into a room filled with crew members. Nobody notices her exposed stomach with surgery staples the size of door handles. Nobody bothers to ask her: "Excuse me, but WTF happened to you?" Nobody. Amazing huh? What's more remarkable is that a mere few hours later she dashes around like an Olympic athlete, trying to get away from a ship, completely pain-free and mobile. Oh yes.
8. Why doesn't Holloway raise the alarm when he realizes he's infected by some weird bug that's crawling around in his eye? You know, have it looked at in the lab by his fellow SCIENTISTS? Seems like the smart thing to do, right? No. The smart thing would be to not tell a soul and become so ill that you REQUEST to be doused with fire and die a horrible, painful death. But of course!
9. Why does Shaw, who remains a professional for the most part of the film, suddenly act like a petulant child towards the end when the group and Weyland confront the Engineer? Why yell and scream like an irritable toddler at the Engineer? Doesn't make one bit of sense.
10. Shaw convinces Janek to ram himself, his two pilots and all of Prometheus into the Engineer's craft. It takes her only a few seconds to persuade three other human beings to give up their lives by turning their spacecraft into a giant fireball. And they happily oblige. Just like that. No questions. No discussions. Really? REALLY?!?!?!
11. When Shaw and Vickers run from the falling alien spacecraft, why do they run in a straight line? It's obvious to everyone and their mother that, if you just turn right or left, just by a few meters, that you'll avoid the craft and save your life. But noooooooo. Eventually Shaw realizes this. Not Vickers. Turns out she's not only a bitch, but a stupid one, too.
See? If you break it down, this movie is just unbelievably f***ing stupid. Roger Ebert awarded this film four stars. Ironic, since he's always been an ardent crusader for films with intelligent scripts and characters. Strangely, I do recommend this film. Grab your popcorn and soda, but DON'T switch your brain on. Unfortunately nobody told me. But now I can tell YOU, you lucky devils!
51 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2012
Ridley Scott's legendary attention to detail is on full display here, although I couldn't help but wish for a more complete, uninhibited storyline to go along with it. For all his promises that this wouldn't just be a direct prequel to Alien, the director sure seems to stretch this concept to bring the two films together, rarely to the benefit of either. That's a pity, because while the core questions that Prometheus has to ask are worthwhile if not unique, its constant urge to poke and prod several of Alien's richest, most eccentric mysteries keep it tethered to the ground floor. A more compassionate cast may have smoothed over some of those rough spots, but this tight squad of explorers is thoroughly cold and conniving, naive and unlikable at their best. I wanted to adore this, and for the whole of the concept-heavy first act I did, but by the onset of the final standoff I'd been bucked like a fledgling cowboy. Fantastic, breathtaking special effects, stirring atmosphere and an astounding vision of near-future tech can only go so far.