Prometheus (Ridley Scott, 2012)

Prometheus

I avoided spoilers as best as possible in order to wait until this came out at the Bradford IMAX, though I heard enough reaction to know that fanboys had generally been disappointed and the overall critical reaction was, at best, mixed so I didn’t go in with unrealistically high expectations.

A not-immediately-before prequel to Alien, this film kicks off with an extraterrestrial visiter to Earth engaging in some cryptic behaviour in a primordial landscape, and then picks up, in Skye, in our near future (2089) when two archaeologists find cave paintings that seem to clearly indicate that Earth was visited by aliens in our ancient past and, what’s more, they told us where they came from – an invitation to visit.

We, along with the archaeologists, then move to the spaceship Prometheus as it conducts its mission to find the source of that invitation and, when they arrive, to find out who our visitors were and why. I managed to avoid spoilers so I’ll avoid giving any here, and just discuss the film in the most general terms.

Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron are extremely good and no-one on the acterly side lets things down. Likewise, the special effects and visuals were, for the most part, terrific though the middle and long distance 3D were far more effective than near-ground, and the 3D split into component parts at the edges, and left my viewing companion with eye-strain and a headache by the end.

Much of the reaction has said that it isn’t scary enough, and this is certainly true. Some critics and other viewers have said that this doesn’t matter because the film was more thoughtful and was a film of ideas rather than thrills. I can’t agree. It might have been intended as such but there were few ideas that hadn’t already been explored in numerous films already (and the central idea is taken wholesale from the ridiculous Chariots of the Gods nonsense of Erik von Daniken), and more imaginatively, and there were very, very few suprises.

Scott has indicated that there are other cuts of this film to be released, and that some of the missing scenes would address many of the complaints about plot holes and oddities. But that is an excuse not a justification. All we can go by at the moment is the cut that has been released to cinemas and that is, unfortunately, simply underwhelming. Spectacle alone rarely makes an engrossing film.

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