Like a vast wave of other Ridley Scott fans, I joined the horde and went out the midnight show to catch Prometheus as soon as I possibly could. I am a big Scott fan from way back and still to this day rewatch Blade Runner every 3 to 6 months. The original Alien was a classic of horror back before the conventions of what made a movie scary were firmly established as clichés. And now, Scott has returned with Prometheus - a sort-of prequel to Alien that does so much more than just readdress the same kill-by-numbers, bug-hunting concept.
Unfortunately, I was forced to see the film in 3-D. I know people love the new format, but to me it just means a harder time viewing the nuisances of the film and a headache for an hour after I’m done. Luckily, Prometheus is shot in such a way that the 3-D effects don’t distract from what’s going on. Those that enjoy 3-D may actually find it to add to the film. But regardless of the number of dimensions, the camerawork was beautiful to the point of awe-inspiring.
The basic plot to the movie (if you haven’t seen one of the dozen or so trailers that have been released) is that a group of archaeologists discover some ancient art, spread across different regions of the world, that seems to point to distant location in the stars - a location that they should not even know of. The scientists end up on a starship, sponsored by the evil Weyland Corporation that was behind the original Alien mess. And that’s the first few minutes of the film. Afterwards, Scott jumps directly into the exploration of the destination planet and the discoveries that the crew make regarding the progenitors of man that they seek.
I don’t want to give too much away, as most of the film revolves around discovering what’s going on alongside the characters. What I can say is that Scott has created a new classic of science fiction with Prometheus. There are multiple layers of complexity at work and many philosophical and theological questions are addressed. The bad guys look amazing and are truly threatening on the big screen. When something pops up to cause death and destruction, you know it. The first kill scene is strikingly brutal and sets the tone for the rest of the conflicts.
My biggest issue with the film was that the characters were developed just enough to make them interesting but not enough to fully flesh them out. It seemed as if there was so much more to say about them that was left undone. Ridley Scott is excellent at building intriguing characters, as anyone who’s seen Blade Runner knows. I only wish there was another 20 minutes of character development in Prometheus. Unfortunately, there were so many other things to address that the characters got left behind a bit. I am hoping that a director’s cut Blu-Ray will correct this problem in the future.
Those just being introduced to Scott’s style of filmmaking will be duly impressed. Those of us who have seen almost everything he’s made will not be disappointed. There’s a bit at the very end of the film that’s been causing some people to whine and cry, but when you really think about the scene (which I refuse to spoil for my readers), it makes perfect sense and fits with the rest of the message the movie is trying to convey. I’ll be going back to see Prometheus at least once more and probably another two or three times to get all the subtleties from it. This time, however, no 3-D.