Saturday, June 9, 2012

Movie Review: "Prometheus" by Ben Foutch

Release: 2012
Run Time: 124 min
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Greene, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, and Guy Pearce

Hype is an interesting feeling that is often accompanied by expectation. I went into Prometheus hyped to my core with extremely high expectations. Not only was this a new science fiction film from Ridley Scott, but the story also exists in the same universe as one of my favorite films, Alien. Does Prometheus live up to the hype and expectations we have from the legendary director? Yes and sort of...

Like the title, the film questions the creation of mankind. Where did we come from? Were we made in the image of a creator? These are also questions that the crew of Prometheus seek to answer as they arrive to a distant moon, guided by an ancient star map and trillions of dollars from the Weyland Corporation. Scientific marvels are discovered and horrifying, white knuckle suspense unfolds. As with most important questions in life, the answer isn't always what it's built up to be.

Prometheus is a visual treat that will probably see some Oscar attention for its art direction and effects work. Ridley Scott is no slouch when it comes to creating an immersive atmosphere and this is just as impressive as the work done on Alien and Blade Runner. His use of practical effects and computer animation is nearly flawless, and if I have only one gripe from an art aspect it is for the makeup work on Guy Pearce. Awful.

The performances are solid all around, and Michael Fassbender predictably steals the show. His take on an artificial intelligence will have people talking for quite some time. The film doesn't go into much of the characters' backstories, so we don't really care about what  fate has in store for them. However, this film is heavy on ideas, and to be perfectly honest, I wasn't looking to identify with any of them beyond the general human level. Just remember that faith, religion, and the quest for a higher truth are important themes that are used to bring these characters together and create a relatable anchor to the story.

The film's main problem and my biggest complaint is the uneven pacing. Suspenseful, masterfully shot scenes are sprinkled throughout and kept me on edge, but some of the slow, in-between scenes didn't always act as a cohesive binder. I guess, there was a higher expectation for more information, and the film didn't really deliver the full package (sequels?). However, science fiction that stands the test of time always leaves you with the big questions, and doesn't hand you all the answers on a silver platter. It forces you to use your mind. While this film didn't really meet all expectations, it is definitely a memorable piece of science fiction.

Some people will bash this film, putting it on the same pedestal as Alien. Ridley didn't give us what we expected, and I respect him immensely for his creative choices. He has made a film that can exist in the same universe as one of his earliest and most famous creations, and can stand by itself, carrying the weight of its own ideas. While the film certainl
y has its share of flaws, the questions will linger in the mind long after the movie is over.



I'm not the only Slacker who will be tackling this film, so come back to the site later for more Prometheus reviews!