Prometheus (2012) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

Prometheus (2012) Directed by Ridley Scott. With Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce and Idris Elba

Ever since George Lucas drop-kicked me in the privates with his Star Wars back stories, the word ‘prequel’ has been a dirty word in the Rhodes household. Fast-forward a few years, and so comes the announcement that my other favourite sci-fi series is getting a prequel with its original director, Ridley Scott, at the helm. Now, I’ve always been a ‘take-the-story-forward‘ kind of chap, particularly in science fiction, a genre which I believe like science itself, should always be pushing the boundaries to make new discoveries. In this case, I’m glad to say that I’m completely and utterly wrong. In my view Ridley Scott has achieved the impossible and created something unique and fascinating that not only works as an exciting film in terms of the discoveries it poses to your average ‘Alien’ fan, but the way in which it engages the brain on a subject far bigger and wider than I would ever dare to dream – the very creation of mankind itself.

Scott’s love for his own baby, the much celebrated masterpiece Alien, is plainly evident. From the start, the film looks beautiful and the production design is as jaw-dropping as anything I have seen in sci-fi. As the years have passed, the Alien series has become a dumber and less mysterious place to live. While never able to harm the lasting legacy of Ridley Scott’s teasured original, the much maligned Alien Vs Predator spin-offs have gone a long way to reducing the on-screen power of the Xenomorph and for my money, they doesn’t deserve the association.

What’s immediately noticeable about Prometheus is that it is a confident, well thought out film with its own story to tell. Scott’s ideas, while maybe too grandiose for some, are brimming and bubbling all over the place. Levels of expectation these days are hard to meet, and many that have turned against Prometheus seem to have done so because it isn’t Alien. Did they really just want to see Sigourney Weaver running round a ship with a flame-thrower all over again? Don’t get me wrong, I love those films, but after all these years, I’m ready for a new adventure and it’s thrilling to find out that Scott is in the mood to give us one.

Performance-wise, the tone is quite similar to that of the crew of the Nostromo. Everything is deftly muted, wise-cracking and mildly distrusting between colleagues and there’s that initial period of working out who’s the good guy. If there is a Ripley here, then it’s definitely Noomi Rapace’s ‘Elizabeth’, whose basic instinct for survival strikes a strong connection to Scott’s original film. Other main players include Charlize Theron, herself a strong-headed, play-it-safe Ripley type, Idris Elba as the ships Captain and last but not least the excellent Michael Fassbender as the ships android, David. Fassbender occupies his role with relish and conviction, sitting comfortably aside Ian Holm and Lance Henricksen as yet another beautifully carved out portrayal of an ‘artificial person’.

Everywhere you look in Prometheus, there are ideas. Even down to the smallest details, it seems nothing has been left to chance. There is the sense that you are on a mission of discovery with this crew, and while modern CGI allows for more visual exploration than was possible 1979, it’s cleverly applied alongside some stunning scenery and sets to make for a hugely involving two hours of sublime science fiction. Of course, there are those who feel differently, and anyone without a basic love or understanding of the original Alien film might not feel quite as warmly towards this as I do. But I believe in time, this film will find its place as a classic within its genre and deserves to sit aside Alien and Aliens as a film that operates strongly on its own terms.  4/5


About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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6 Responses to Prometheus (2012) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. RobThom says:

    Your review is somewhere in between an exaggeration and a work of fiction.
    Similar to your self proclaimed “massive alien fan” status.

    You’re praising attributes that either just aren’t there, or nowhere near the level of every soaring adverb that you thought up and crammed in.

    I have no problem with you liking the movie,
    but your review is just an exercise in dishonest rhetoric IMO.

  2. garethrhodes says:

    That’s more than just a little unfair Rob.

    I’m a great lover of difference of opinion when it comes to films, and I genuinely believe that we all see a film in a slightly different light, which is something that I find fascinating. I particularly enjoy the opportunity to engage with others and explore any differences of opinion, without the need for personal attack or overly negative aspersions.

    Your message reads very much like the latter, in as much as you offer no counter-arguments to my opinions of the quality of the film, but instead choose to focus personally on me, my ‘dishonest rhetoric” and my self proclaimed “massive Alien fan” status without actually knowing anything about me in the real world.

    I loved Prometheus, but according to you, I’m being dishonest about that. Not really sure where to go from there.

  3. cevans1982 says:

    I’d be lying if I said I held Prometheus in as high a regard as Alien but as you quite rightly point it – it isn’t mean to be Alien. Having said that I’ve found myself enjoying Prometheus more on subsequent viewings and it’s intellectual SF concepts. Fassbender is a revelation as well and I’m curious to see where the sequel takes us.

    • garethrhodes says:

      Yes, I’m aware that I liked Prometheus a LOT more than most. It really worked for me, though. Like Interstellar, it expanded my thinking beyond what I had expected. I think Ridley was brave to tackle such huge subjects within the confines of the Alien mythology. I respect him for being so bold. I’m just glad the sequel is happening. I feared it might never get the green light, such was the division of opinion on Prometheus.

  4. Lloyd Marken says:

    It’s exciting sometimes to find yourself outside the majority’s opinion and I’m glad this film gave you much joy. I did think it was a good film but far from a great one. This had little to do with taking the franchise in a new direction and more to do with plot inconsistencies and characters that I failed to care about. Waving at space snakes really got my goat and Rapace’s boyfriend was an asshole. If more characters had been likeable I might have been more emotionally involved. As it is, Fassbender’s David was the most engaging character in the film for me. Positives to say now. It is a fantastic looking film with the location shooting, production design and special effects all top notch. Just wonderful. Scott said he was bored with the Xenomorph so I love the eye worm and genuinely creepy new monsters which revelled in the grossness of their parasitic nature. Original drafts that were dropped were apparently very disturbing. The grey giant men were cool, the prologue sequence on Earth had me really excited about what was to come. But this is a film that raises questions that it won’t truly answer banking on a sequel. Another lament I have about the age of franchises. Just tell me a story and wrap it up. But I’ll come clean, yes I’ll probably shell out the cash and see Alien Convenant which means I’m part of the problem. 🙂 Are you worried Gareth given your joy of this film’s originality that they might make the next one too much like Alien? Final positive. The cesarean surgery.

  5. Lloyd Marken says:

    I might also add, I’ve only seen it once and would like to see it again soon given this review and the fact that I did enjoy it.

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