Ridley Scott who directed the first Alien film returns to direct the prequel to Alien, Prometheus. Previously his directing career isn’t really successful than back then, his previous film, Robin Hood was not technically great and seems somewhat a disappointment in box office ratings and negative reviews. His other films like Body of Lies, A Good Year and Hannibal were terrible and aside from American Gangster which redeemed his career; Prometheus indeed brought back his talents in directing watchable and exciting films.
Prometheus is a prequel to Ridley Scott's sci-fi horror film, Alien following a group of scientists and archeologists led by a religious archaeologist, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), the captain of the ship, Janek (Idris Elba) and Weyland employee, Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) to monitor this expedition on board the ship of the same name, Prometheus after discovering strange, unknown drawings from Scotland in 2085 tracing to an unknown planet from another galaxy. Eager to find these so-called “engineers” that were once humans, they were funded by Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) CEO of Weyland Corporation to a distant moon, LV-223 and what horrors lay deep in an ancient alien spaceship.
What I find disappointing is how Scott tried to rush the story, having less exposition on how they were able to analyze and find the planet quickly. He doesn't let the audience know who are these anomalies are or anything besides the fact that there were humans back then and justified this through when the group of scientists had entered the alien spaceship and out of sudden seen holographic images that was activated by the android, David (Michael Fassbender) who out of neglect of the group were able to activate it even though we don't know what the heck is going on. There are some instances like the main characters revealing that these aliens were humans once and that there weren't the first ones who had a expedition here.
I do not feel connected or felt any sympathy with the characters in this film, even though there were mostly Scottish and British - it felt like Scott just has the same stereotypes in mind like the arrogant person. I really did not care for the main character and it felt like the characters werent thoroughly explain. Plus the android (Michael Fassbender) wasn't really convincing, the previous two android possessed. Sure, Fassbender's character fascinates to be a human, learning the universal languages of Earth (and the alien language), watching black and white films and learning emotions and expressions. It's surely like that type of cliché of robots having feelings and also fascinated with alien technology although like Holm's character is somewhat mischievous in his fascination with his objective to his company to rid all the group and infect the crew aboard to be scientifically tested; although I question why this android wasn't an ounce of a malfunctioning robot like the first one despite the fact that this was a prequel.
There are many theories of the main character being an android but I'm not really convinced that she is anyway an android which implies that her childhood dreams when she had parents weren't really a reality but what she wanted. It implies that this was indeed a red herring if she was one even though dialogue from the Fassbender's character clearly implied that but since its a prequel I don't think technology back then would technology and scientifically develop a perfect android with emotions and feelings like an actual human being.
The design of these humanoid aliens look like they had been ripped off from another horror movie by David Cronenberg with the exception that it doesn't have needles that spiked in it's head. I really loathe the make-up for the old guy, it just felt like they put too much prosthetics to make him look like an aged man rather than having an actual actor to be replaced with a young one. Although what’s more worse is that I found out that Guy Pearce plays Peter Weyland and had to apply prosthetics to make him look like an old man. I mean, it’s no excuse to reuse the same actors for a script that of which did not get into play in the actual film but for Pearce to play both roles of his characters is just pure bullshit.
What I also found disappointing is the lack of tension and horror that previous Alien movies have - the fact that the previous ones had this kind of paranoida and suspension where no one is safe or could be trusted as well as being quite claustrophic which the first Alien movie has. This film however doesn't really go in that route which was disappointing but it still has that atmospheric and action vibe that the second film, Aliens had. However, the first Alien movie relies on that certain aspect, heavily while this film lacks it and from time to time, I thought that I was watching another sci-fi film. Granted that Prometheus did not fault on deriving it's moments from the previous ones that much but there aren't any specific moments with the exception of a few scenes that did, or at least made me jump specifically when the headcrab pops out.
However the pacing, action and drama wasn't what I expected, it's one of these films that what other people found to be lacking unlike the previous films and did not really have the dark vibe specifically like the third one. It did have some parallels and references to its sequels like the main character was infected by her boyfriend who was injected by alien blood by the Fassbender's character and became pregnant of that thus giving birth to an alien headcrab. Ripley had this nightmare in the second film where she dreamt of waking up with something growing in her stomach, lashing out. The pacing was quick but there are times where it soaks the atmosphere in like when the group first travelled to the spaceship or when Fassbender's character finds the command centre where the aliens had develop a death ray kind of weapon and the atmosphere seemingly absorbs into it. Furthermore, when all hell breaks loose at the spaceship, even if the action was short-lived, it’s really badass when Idris Elba goes out and smokes the mutated human with his crew.
As a sci-fi film that doesn’t really add much horror and admits no relations from the first one, this film did have some intense scenes from time to time that were good. The film did borrow favours much of Cameron’s Aliens though as it replies on the action and less of the elements from the first film.
Another aspect of the film that I found lacking is the 3D - there were not that much of it. I was surprised that there isn't one of those alien headcrab thingy jumping towards the screen. The 3D is just an excuse to have stuff like debris, thrown in your face but there are some instances where there are decent effects. I think that the reason why 3D wasn't focused heavily in this film is that, it was rushed and they had done post-production with this aspect but had implement less of it.
As I said earlier, after watching this film, I did not really care for the character’s fate and this is because while the acting is impressive, I did not care for the performance by Noomi Rapace who is known for her character, Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Her character is a believer “in God” as she is probably a Christian and this religious type of deal did play a part in the film much of my scrgrim and amusement. The religious in fact plays with the themes of this film along with Rapace’s burden of her cross that she wears, Weyland (Pearce) also is suffering from a god complex and furthering the ideal of throwing religious beliefs in this film.
To this day I don’t understand Scott’s decision to cast Guy Pearce rather than Max von Sydow who seems to fit into this character, it’s like they or he is mocking the character in the universe with Perace’s fake old men impression and it felt like his performance felt apart from some sketch from SNL done wrong then turned into a serious sci-fi flick such as this.
I did not like Fassbender's performance of David, he just doesn't have that stale personality and robotic performance as Henderson or Ian Holm. The character he plays has the same objective of wanting to cause havoc on the spaceship by first injecting an alien sample from the egg that he took and spiking a drink. At first I thought he wasn't an android until they stated that. He just did not make up a convincing android despite being somewhat an antagonist. The main character plays a convincing role that throughout the film I did not felt like her performance ever connected with the audience unlike Ripley. Although I do give Fassbender credit, he did not “replicate” and avoided watching the first two movies.
The CG effects are another aspect why this film was impressive, the designs of the ship and the controls just look like there were pulled from Minority Report with the holographic interface and the scenes in the alien spaceship looks quite impressive. It feels like Scott has made more of a dynamic atmosphere around the characters, giving them more room to breathe and making it less claustrophic and grim than the previous Aliens films.
While Prometheus had led made with a sour note seeing that I hope to anticipate a claustrophic horror film much like Scott’s Alien film, this film however was satisfying and did not disappoint me from watching the IMAX version of it. However I was surprised that as a recent film, the theatre that I went to was nearly empty and this is the top five movies in the charts right now. I did not regret any moment of me watching this film despite the many religious overtones and prosthetics that Pearce’s foul-looking face can consume.