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Prometheus – 8

Director – Ridley Scott

Cast – Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Emun Elliott, Benedict Wong, Kate Dickie

Release Year – 2012

Reviewed by John of the Dead

When the horror news sites began posting word of Ridley Scott beginning work on a two-film prequel series to his 1979 classic I could not believe what I was reading. Alien remains one of my favorite films of all time, mostly due to its superb mashup of horror and sci-fi written by Dan O’Bannon and directed by Ridley Scott. Eventually the two prequel idea was condensed to a single prequel (for now), and this marks Scott’s first horror film since Hannibal debuted over a decade ago. Word of this prequel that would answer the questions posed by Alien left me a giddy fanboy and sent me running to a viewing of this piece at my earliest convenience, and I must say that I was pleased with the results. Prometheus was not exactly what I expected it to be, and that was very much the case for those who did not enjoy the film, but in the end despite its faults it did provide me with a good horror / sci-fi experience that I recommend.

While searching for clues to the origin of mankind a group of explorers on Earth stumble upon a cave that connects the dots to a mystery that has teased them for years. This discovery lands them onboard Prometheus, a research vessel, several years later and en route to a planet they believe holds the answers to the questions we have no concrete answers for. Little do they know, the planet does in fact hold answers to our deepest questions, but it also serves as the darkest and deadliest corner of the universe.

While Prometheus returns Alien‘s Ridley Scott as director, I was a bit disappointed to see that Dan O’Bannon (The Return of the Living Dead, Dead and Buried, Lifeforce, Heavy Metal, Total recall) was not brought on to add to his original story. Instead the story comes written by Jon Spaights (The Darkest Hour) and Damon Lindelof (Cowboys & Aliens, “Lost”), who did a decent job getting the overall story across. I loved the idea of the researchers discovering the final clue to a long-lost mystery while exploring a cave system in Scotland, and then taking to the stars to seek the source of the enlightening information and knowledge that predated current mankind by no less than 35,000 years. These writers kept my devout attention by playing on the “answers” element very well at first, with the researchers looking to make contact with the beings that created “us” but instead finding a much different world / planet than they imagined. This entry does not focus as much on the “xenomorph” creatures that made the Alien series so popular but more on the “engineers” who apparently created mankind and believe that in order to create you must also destroy. However this flick does take place in the same universe as the other Alien films and does play into the original storyline. The first half of the film is heavy in development and paced just right in that it kept my attention without moving too quick or too slow. Eventually the second half kicks in and the horror finally surfaces, and when it does we are given highly tense and chaotic scenes that left our researchers wishing they had never arrived on that planet of death. As the film progresses we learn that the researchers are not only facing the giant obstacle of surviving their ordeal but that the continuation of life on Earth depends on the outcome of their dilemma. As far as action and elements of horror and science fiction go I really enjoyed the story and felt that Spaights and Lindelof did a good job of providing entertainment for the viewer. Sadly they also seemed to miss the entire point of the film in the midst of the eye candy. The answers that the researchers AND the viewers of this film were searching for were left in the background for most of the film, with only a few revelations revealed and the other questions never answered. I believe this is the biggest reason behind the negative reviews the film has received, along with some very illogical scenes that took place on several occasions. Nonetheless I still found the script and enjoyable one that at least got the big things right in giving us good tension, horror, and science fiction.

Despite the faults of the screenplay I found absolutely no faults in Ridley Scott’s direction. His atmosphere was fantastic and he employed incredible sets that leave the viewer marveling over what is going on before them – instantly sucking them into the experience and overlooking all faults until after the end credits roll. Scott’s concoction of live-action FX and CGI FX was amazing and the film’s budget showed in just how realistic the planet / moon LV-223 and its underground systems looked. In addition to the great atmosphere we were also given great performances from everyone involved, although Michael Fassbender (Blood Creek) definitely stole the show as the charming and lovable android David. He was not the only star to grace the screen though as Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce also sold their roles very well, with Guy Pearce’s role being the most surprising of them all. Scott also showed that he still has a knack for dark and atmospheric horror, giving us some good jolts and genuinely scary sequences that left me hoping he would continue his original plan for a second prequel that ultimately leads up to the film that put him on the map and created his career…Alien.

Overall, Prometheus is a great addition to the Alien series that while not exactly a film about the aliens it does manage to provide the horror and science fiction expected from those who view it. The script has its issues and could have been much better, but Ridley Scott quickly makes up for the story faults by giving us a visual masterpiece that also comes with superb acting performances and good horror as well.

Rating: 8/10

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