Posted by: greercn | June 5, 2012

Prometheus

What a stunning visual treat “Prometheus” is. Each loving bit of CGI, 3D and strange object framed by eerie nature is just gorgeous to look at.

Most of the cast have been kissed by the pretty fairy, too. Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green  and Idris Elba lead a group whose worst looking member is quirkily attractive.

Having somehow missed all three of the “Alien” films – I was so put off by the stomach thing in the first one’s trailer – I have no way of knowing if this is a prequel, addition or diversion from those movies. You don’t need to have seen any of these to enjoy “Prometheus”.

A bunch of people go to another planet, far away and in the future. It’s good to know that technology has not moved beyond the Ipad at the end of the 22nd century. Phew. I may yet catch up.

We start on the Isle of Skye, where there are cave drawings that are not up to “Cave Of Forgotten Dreams” standards, but, along with other pictures, issue an invitation. Our lovely crew accepts and goes to pay a visit.

Charlize plays a tough lady who keeps telling us she’s running the show. An industrialist has funded the trip. Guy Pearce does this in terrifyingly icky prosthetics, playing an old man who gets into a weird double act with android Michael Fassbender.

Is it just me or is there something of Monty Burns and Smithers from “The Simpsons” here?

Noomie Rapace was fabulous in the Swedish films of the Steig Larsson books but she disappointed me in the second “Sherlock Holmes” movie. She redeems herself here, but still manages to channel this weird little Celia Johnson from “Brief Encounter” kind of tremble as she goes through some of the bizarre scenes.

If you hated that stomach scene in “Alien”, you’ll feel your innards churn here, too.

I went to see this at Stratford Picturehouse with my utterly discerning film buddy, who knows way more about film than I do. Fortunately, I learn quickly. He noted the distinctive look of this and a few holes in the plot that escaped me.

There’s some strange business around a cross, a ring and childhood memories. Why is the alien baby here? Is there a threat to our planet?

The clues should lie in the Prometheus myth, about trying to level the playing field between men and Gods and suffering for it. But they don’t. I remain uncertain about what it all means. Still, it was a very entertaining way to spend a rainy afternoon. I was glad to be with someone who had agreed to let me clutch his arm, if it got terrifying. I needed that, twice.

People I spoke to afterwards were puzzled by it and divided between those who thought this was good and those who thought it was disappointing.

There are moments of glorious sci fi genius. When a character plays a musical  instrument that used to belong to Stephen Stills and then plays “Love The One You’re With”, I laughed out loud.

But there are also some long bits where people wander for too long. (My friend thought these were just fine.)

I am the biggest “Bladerunner” fan in the whole world, ever, and I truly adore Ridley Scott. I fear he could have done with tighter editing and a little more cutting, since the gap between brilliantly funny lines and corny hokem is a bit too thin.

Yes, there are bad bits that bored me. Most of it is terrific and the visuals lure you back whenever your attention strays. Truly, I hope there is a sequel. You HAVE to see this because it is a gorgeous achievement that moves on 3D and CGI in about a dozen ways.

Think about it as a horror movie with some sci fi conventions and you will get into it much more easily. Once I did that, I relaxed.

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Responses

  1. Slightly disappointed with Prometheus, but ultimately thought it was fun, escapist cinema. On the sweet side, was the look, action, and general ambience of the film. I also liked the subtle nods to the Prometheus myth, with technology being harmful to man, yet necessary for man to attain knowledge / understand existence better. I loved David the android, masterfully played by Fassbender, expressing a large amount of enigma and the whole time making you wonder what his motivations / emotions were, straight to the end.What irritated me, though, too much was the implausability of most of the characters. A geologist who gets lost in a cave and is not interested in the rock minerology, I have never met. A surveying biologist who does not notice the worms in the ground I have never met. A pre-historic archaelogist who has a medicinal knowledge of brain neuro-chemistry I have never met. A pre-historic archaeologist that gives up after a few hours search on what he was looking for (and on a large planet!) I don’t think would exist (archeologists are known for their patience). All in all, way too much “every man” was weaved into the characters (with the exception of David and the Weylands). A big scientific faux-pas to me was organisms growing without any clear carbon source (this bugged me more than the ships going faster than the speed of light). Ultimately, though, the plot did not stick out to me moreso than the classic science / horror – a group of diverse characters go to a planet / cottage, some mysterious force knocks them off one by one. Still though, as escapist cinema, Prometheus is a great ride and worth to see in 3D.

    • Thanks for a great comment, Peter! Yes, you identify just a few of the many different plot holes (as opposed to pot holes?) I think some of the “big ideas” failed to have the required depth because of the one-dimensional nature of the characters. I finally saw “Aliens” yesterday and I was intrigued by how big a character Sigourney Weaver is, in this. She moves from fragility to strength with a flick of her eyebrows. That depth is lacking in “Prometheus” except (ironically) for the robot, thanks to Fassbender. But the nods to the Prometheus myth and the beautiful 3D and CGI do stay with me. I will see it again.


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