Saturday, June 09, 2012

Thoughts on Prometheus

(No plot spoilers, but if you're really excited about the film, maybe give this a miss 'til you've seen it.)

Having seen bits of the Alien movies but none of them the whole way through (in fact, the one I've seen most of is Alien vs Predator, which I don't *believe* is the fans' favourite) I think it's fair to say I'm not really the best person to discuss where Prometheus sits in the Alien canon. I didn't even see the Michael Fassbender viral until five minutes ago (though I knew it existed, I am on Twitter after all...)

But I love my sci-fi, and perhaps my crushing lack of knowledge did mean that I came to the film with lower expectations than most - and was perfectly willing (indeed only equipped) to view it as a standalone project. Seems a shame, then, that even my rather modest expectations weren't, for the most part, met.

To start with the positives, though, the visuals are pretty stunning. The opening, sweeping sequence which takes us whizzing across a Scandanavian-style (but deeply alien-with-a-lower-case-a) landscape is a majestic start, and the white, angular interiors of the titular spaceship are wonderfully retro. And while the 3D is forgettable, it's not, at least, actively distracting - the only major flaw in an otherwise massively enjoyable Avengers Assemble.

Plus, Fassbender is as impressive as ever - he's a charismatic cyborg, and while you might think it a tough ask to ham it up as a robot, he certainly manages it - and Charlize Theron and Idris Alba, while not given a whole lot to do, certainly give the Prometheus crew a bit of class.

But when we get down to the elements that transform a film from a spectacle into an experience - engaging plot, likable characters, quotable script - they're disappointingly flawed, or lacking altogether. The dialogue, in particular, is pedestrian, and Noomi Rapace's character Elizabeth Shaw is such a bland presence that I genuinely didn't realise that she was the lead character until the third reel.

There are a couple of plotty questions left unanswered for a decent post-cinema chat - the issue is whether you'll still be thinking about the film by the time you get to the pub. It may look great, but ultimately my main problem with Prometheus is simply... it's not a whole lot of fun.

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