A close encounter – 3 out of 5
Review by Chris Stokes, Design Manager
There has been a lot of hype surrounding the release of Ridley Scott’s latest flick, Prometheus, a film which flags the director’s return to both the Alien franchise – which he kick-started back in the ‘70s – and to sci-fi itself.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the ad reel for this 3D film, but was pleasantly surprised to see a few ads embracing the technology in a justifiable way – namely the Nintendo 3DS and LG 3D.
Right from the outset, Prometheus sets itself apart from the rest of the Alien saga, breathing in huge open landscapes and bathing itself in natural light. Even the ship, the glitzy, polished Prometheus, is a world apart from its low-fi, grimy cousin, the Nostromo.
I knew that Prometheus was never going to be a straight-up Alien film, but knowing its background and director, I had certain expectations. The original thrived on tension and claustrophobia and relied on its characters’ realism to keep the viewer engaged and I fully expected a return to those qualities.
So what is Prometheus all about?
In 1979, Alien brought the horror of space to our screens, but left its audience scratching their heads at certain aspects of the film. Like, whose was the fossilised corpse the team stumble across on LV-426? Why was the ship carrying a cargo of thousands of eggs? With Prometheus, Ridley Scott sets out to answer these questions – and more.
Sadly, for me, the film never quite resolves these mysteries, but instead adds to them, setting up scenes and sequences that seem to hold no context and never get explained. Hardly surprising then, to find Damon Lindelof – one of the key names behind Lost – on the writing credits.
Take heart however, as it seems Prometheus is actually intended to be the first installment in a trilogy which promises to give us the answers we seek. I guess whether or not this will happen, will largely depend on how well the film performs at the box office.
That being said, as a film in its own right I found Prometheus had its fair share of goodies: a solid and fascinating performance from Michael Fassbender, who plays the ship’s morally dubious android, superbly engrossing visual effects, bags of tension and action scenes that leave you positively wincing.
However, Fassbender aside, the majority of the cast deliver disappointingly 2D performances from an upsettingly flat script. Themes of faith and God all just feel a bit wedged-in and it’s clear from early on that at least half the crew are just fodder and we as the audience are just counting down the minutes until they die.
Unfortunately, despite its plus points, Prometheus just didn’t deliver on the promise made by all the hype and, by the third act, I found things were getting a bit silly, especially in the final scene (which I won’t spoil) which just felt tacked on and quite unnecessary. It’s worth maybe a second try but sadly, after the first viewing, I walked away feeling rather empty-handed.