Prometheus

Prometheus

9 June 2012

 

Being the 'Alien' fan-boy that I am, I've been understandably salivating with anticipation for 'Prometheus' since it was announced in 2010.
 
I was somewhat intrigued when Ridley Scott announced that it was not going to be a prequel, as such, to his 1979 film, Alien. The idea of it just being a story inspired by the same universe seemed a little weak.
 
Tonight though, I finally got to see the finished product. And the fan-boy inside me was delighted at what he saw … mostly.
 
Firstly, it is an exquisitely beautiful film. Grand in scope, with wide vistas of other worldly landscapes and deeply felt impressions of the enormity of space and the comparative insignificance of human existence, with dazzling special effects that left me awestruck more than once.
 
Secondly, despite what Ridley Scott says, the film is clearly a prequel. It follows a distinct story path that aligns it to the end of the 1979 film, with several big questions answered, most importantly 'Who is the space jockey?' and 'Where did the alien ship come from?' From a fan-boy's point of view, seeing these blanks filled in so convincingly was a thrill.
 
Thirdly, the film did very well to put some new mythology into the grand narrative while it posed some very profound questions about the origin of life and what it means to be human. The part of me that loves to dwell on things philosophical was thusly warmed too.
 
But … there were a few things that didn't sit very well.
 
First of these was the acting. On the whole I thought it was just passable. Not anywhere near as engaging as the occasionally improvised dialogue of the 1979 film. The best performances were by Noomi Rapace and David Fassbender, who thankfully had the bulk of the screen time. Every other character seemed to just be walking through their roles.  
 
Secondly, the plot was quite muddled at times, and when a character rattled off some bizarre exposition just to move the story forward made me long for another monster to appear.
 
My third gripe was the denouement. It was way too rushed and implausible. I wanted a little bit more than a rehash of an iconic moment from the Alien movie to really round it up convincingly. As it was, I felt a little cheated. But I'll still go see the sequel for which they obviously left a wide gap to fill.
 
Overall, it was a relief to not be disappointed by Prometheus after waiting so long to see what Ridley Scott would do with it. It had enough complexity to bear further viewings, which I'm sure it will get, considering how many times I've watched the others. Who knows what more meaning will be found in it then. For the moment though, I'm glad it was as satisfying a viewing as I'd hoped it would be.
 
This is Brendan Boughen, a.k.a. Jim, last surviving cartoonist of my living room, signing off.