Prometheus Movie Review
Written by: Johnny Marcondes
Directed by: Ridley Scott
From director Ridley Scott comes Prometheus, a suspected sequel to the Alien series turned prequel. While Scott himself didn't pen the film, that's not to say he didn't have a hand in creating this movie. Obviously from a directorial stand point Scott used that keen eye of his. Being his creative brain child, this film offers you nothing less of an "Alien" experience, while offering nothing less it sure does offer more. From the beginning to end, Prometheus is a film that doesn't live in the shadows of its predecessors. While revolving around the same universe and even eventually tying in pieces to make it a prequel, the viewer is always left feeling this movie could stand on its own.
Exploring space on a hunch.
Following archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway in the year 2089, the two discover a star map that connects from several ancient cultures. Seeing it as an open invitation to meet mankind's creators or "engineers" they present their findings to Peter Weyland. Weyland being the elder owner of Wayland Corporation funds their plans to travel across space to find these engineers. While boarding the ship named Prometheus, the entire crew heads for the distant moon LV-223 where the star map leads them. Nearly three to four years later, the crew awakens after spending the entire trip in stasis while being sought after by the android David. Once landing on their long sought after moon, the crew begin to search for any life forms. Wanting to meet their creators and have answers to some of life's greatest questions, curiosity surely leads them to realize that some questions are better left unasked.
Not everyone's a forgettable face.
With a handful of crew members to take on this voyage, do all of them leave a lasting impression? Yes and no, even in a film centered around a handful of people not all of them are bound to be standouts. The film, at least in my opinion has three breakout characters. Even though every face isn't a memorable one, that doesn't make them any less entertaining. However it's because of characters like Elizabeth Shaw, David, and Meredith Vickers that really steal the show. What makes these characters stand out is the fact that they're all vastly different from each other. Elizabeth Shaw is the stable faith believer that searches for answers, always wearing her fathers cross she is the most relatable human character. Asking the same questions we all ask ourselves at one point or another in our lives. Why are we hear? Who made us? What's the after life like? It's those relatable thoughts she has that draws you in, while a more grounded character that doesn't make her a pushover. Viewers are introduced to Shaw as Charlie Holloway's partner and love interest, but they will soon recognize her as the films strongest character. David was instantly the most interesting and compelling character in the film. David being an android, there are limited acts the character do without leaning too far on the humanistic side or too far on the robot side. Actor Michael Fassbender found the perfect balance between too, having David come across as intellectually superior while still sympathetic. From the way David walks to the way he interacts with the human it becomes more and more forgettable that he his an android. Unlike Shaw, David isn't that faith heavy often viewing humans like children. Questioning their beliefs, superiority over other life forms and even questioning his existence. While its stated early on that David lacks the one thing that will make him truly human, that being a soul. It's safe to say that the character of David was more human than most of the crew. Giving off the same presence and feeling as HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, anytime a synthetic life form questions their creature or starts to realize that they're superior to them, the character doing so always steals the show. What makes humans unique is our sense of compassion, how we're all emotionally needed and involved in everything we do. From a viewers stand point, when we see a character develop over time be it synthetic or organic that grows on us. It's their curiosity and questions they have towards their own existence that make us relate to them, even so when a non human character revolts against their creator it's also highly relatable. Like a child speaking out and rebelling against their parents, its something everyone is programmed to do at one point or another, David may be an android but he can also be seen as a reflection of ourselves. The third character to stand out the most had to be Meredith, the complete opposite of Shaw. Where Shaw is a compelling, has faith and wants to find answers, Meredith is far more straight forward and cold. A character that is such polar opposite to the main hero is needed, grounding Shaw with a sense of realism bringing her back to focus. While Meredith isn't as free of a character as Shaw is, there are key moments in the film where every important thing revolves around her actions. On a personal side note, actress Charlize Theron who portays Meredith made me realize something. There was a scene in the film where she's putting on her suit, from the way she had her hair and the way the director filmed that one scene. It made me sit back and realize that if they ever made a Super Metroid live action movie, she would be perfect for the role of Samus Aran.
Seeing is believing.
While a film that falls heavily on the sci-fi side, it's easy to get distracted by all the visuals. However it wasn't the futuristic aspect of the set pieces that drew me in as a viewer, it was the over all cinematography. While the set pieces were beautiful and made you feel that sometime down the line everything you saw could possibly be created, there's a whole lot more to see. There were some amazingly simple and yet overwhelmingly beautiful and powerful scenes shot, some of which had nothing to do with the story of the film but just looked amazing. Ranging from the simplest of scenes such as the waterfalls in the beginning of the movie, where as a viewer especially one watching it in IMAX you almost feel as if the waves are brushing past you. Another beautiful shot took place when the crew first explore the cave, with the use of lights and silhouettes really made the scene stand out. Giving off the feeling of being stranded, lost, confused and clueless perfectly. While the directed, cinematographer, and editing team did a great job piecing the movie together, there are many other small things to pick up on to keep people happy. Fans of Stanley Kubrick will also be walking away with a smile on their face, there are a handful of scenes that perfectly pay homage to Kubrick's directing style and even the character of David will make fans happy. There is a one scene in particular that reminded of Kubrick, it was a quick scene that involved no talking or much movement. A scene where David walks into a room a the doors open, the camera stays focused behind David and the entire hallway and room fills the screen. After the door opens there is a room that's mostly if not all white, what initially brought Kubrick to my mind was the beautiful use of symmetry. Although symmetry is what initially sparked the thought of Kubrick, what really made me as a viewer and fan of Kubrick's work was how David simplistically interacted with that room. Filmed from behind the character in a third person perspective, the way David simply walked into that symmetrical room all stiff and emotionless really sunk it in. Visually Prometheus is one the best movie's I've seen recently, from their beautiful set pieces to their amazing CG work. The way the film combines both CG with the actors and background, they work so smoothly together it's hard to not fall in love with the visuals.
While Prometheus is a beautiful film visually, that doesn't necessarily help its story. There are a lot of questions you're left asking long after the movie ends, in a film that's about two hours the build up to some sequences we're too long. Plot holes appear here and there mainly towards the end, but with a movie that ended the way it ended it's expected. Being a prequel you expect to see or hear a lot of references to the other movies, while you do get those it's done in a much appreciated subtle way that feels natural. Some of the dialogue between characters is forgettable, the movie tends to give you way more to look at than to listen too. Which is fine, but they should have made sure that what they did give you to listen too was nothing but great. Sadly most characters speaking had lines that were either hit or miss, even taking that in mind the film was a pleasant ride to be a part of. The best way to experience Prometheus is in IMAX 3D, while the 3D isn't used frequent the times it is used it's done so perfectly and subtly. Scene's weren't shot with items coming at the camera for cliché effects and jumps, the 3D used only enhanced the viewing experience. Still being a film that's a prequel it didn't answer a lot of questions instead it left you asking some more. Although to be honest it's easily looked over if you really sit down and enjoy the movie. If you're looking for a film that's beautiful to look at, has great elements of science fiction, and has a story that's interesting enough at its core and concept then this is it.