Friday, June 22, 2012

Prometheus movie review.

Ridley Scott. Does the name ring a bell? It should. Scott is the cinematic mastermind behind classic movies like Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator. He's also the unfortunate creator of recent clunkers like A Good Year, Body of Lies, and Robin Hood. Which category does his latest movie Prometheus - an ambitious indirect prequel to the Alien franchise he started 33 years ago - belong to? Hard to say, simply because the movie is just that divisive. This really is one of those love it/hate it movies, and I can certainly see the points of both sides of the argument. Despite well intentions and big visual style, I just cannot get nearly as enthusiastic about this movie as many fellow movie-goers.

Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her boyfriend Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) find what they believe to be clues to mankind's creation all over Earth, and lead a team of space soldiers, along with the secretive Captain Vickers (Charlize Theron), to a small planet that they believe will answer questions of theirs. If you've ever seen an Alien movie, you know this is a bad idea. Even though the team finds the answers they're looking for, they've also indirectly started a chain of events that could affect the world as we know it.

Allow me to break out of my usual review format and split my thoughts on the film into what worked, and didn't work for me.

Michael Fassbender: WORKS!
What works: Without a doubt, Prometheus is a seriously impressive example of spectacle. Dariusz Wolski's claustrophobic cinematography, Arthur Max's chilling production design, the epic visual effects by supervisor Robert Stammers, and the surrounding sound mix and design are all vital to enhancing the ambiance and atmosphere of this strange planet, making it feel completely believable. Also impressive, for the most part, is the talent. Noomi Rapace makes for a strong, emotionally involving, and compelling hero, making Shaw a worthy successor to Ellen Ripley. The most fascinating aspect of Prometheus, oddly enough, is the perplexing and curious android David, played with calm nuance by Michael Fassbender. Sprinkling David with a Peter O'Toole vibe, delightful comic details, and subtly captivating mannerisms, Fassbender adds another powerful performance to his résumé.

The Story: DOESN'T WORK!
What doesn't work: The screenplay by John Spaihts and Damon Lindelof (the latter a former writer of LOST) plays a big job in the mysterious nature of Prometheus, but it also turns out to be a downside to the film. You can definitely detect the subtext of creation and religion that the writers were going for, and the film poses some very mind provoking questions, but not all of these questions are answered, and the writers just can't bring the themes together properly. The movie just adds up to a confusing whole with numerous loose ends, made worse by mixing in horror techniques that worked for Alien, but doesn't quite fit here. Early on, it's easy to tell that many of the characters are merely here as human bowling pins waiting to get knocked down, so nothing ever really comes as a surprise. Also, despite an even first half, the second half's rhythm is off, undone by serious pacing and length issues.

But maybe there's something more to it. Maybe it'll get better with a rewatch. Maybe it'll get better with a sequel, which the film not so subtly hints that there will be. However, as of right now, it's just not up to proper par as an overall, singular product.

**1/2 / *****

No comments:

Post a Comment