movie film review | chris tookey


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  Prometheus Review
Tookey's Rating
6 /10
Average Rating
6.64 /10
Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender , Charlize Theron
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Directed by: Ridley Scott
Written by: Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof, based on elements created by Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett

Released: 2012
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 124

Alien goes philosophical.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Like so many classic horror films, Alien (1979) was critically underrated and even vilified on release, as was Scottís other venture into sci fi, Blade Runner (1983). Perhaps thatís why Sir Ridley Scott has taken his time to go back to the future.

Itís not giving too much away to say that Prometheus is a prequel to Alien, though another film will be needed to bridge the time gap between the two.

Scott even recycles elements from his 1979 movie: a blue-collar crew on a spaceship (called Prometheus), an aloof android (with Michael Fassbender, pictured right, taking over the Ian Holm role, to droll effect) and not one but two strong female characters: Noomi Rapace (the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, pictured left) as the tough-guy heroine, and Charlize Theron as the corporate boss who matronises the mostly masculine astronauts.

Thereís more philosophising than in Alien, for the crewís mission is nothing less than to discover the origin of mankind, why man was created and by whom. To accomplish this, they visit a distant planet where all kinds of unpleasantness awaits them. As in Alien, there arenít many survivors.

The film is on a much grander scale than its predecessor. There are sufficient epic vistas to have satisfied David Lean, whose Lawrence of Arabia is quoted from throughout - not a great idea, as thereís no doubt which is the better film - and enough space gadgetry to satisfy the most obsessive Top Gear presenter.

Less impressive is the filmís split personality. It starts out as a thoughtful take on Darwinian versus Creationist theory and as an investigation of faith, but it turns into a fairly conventional monster movie, with icky special effects catering for the grisliest of fanboy tastes.

The sequence about a self-inflicted Caesarean is even more gruesome than the famous exploding stomach scene involving John Hurt. Do not watch if youíre expecting a baby.

As a piece of speculative fiction, Prometheus falls well short of greatness; but it shows abundant visual panache and, as a horror flick, delivers plenty of nasty shocks. Technically, the film is a triumph.

Disappointingly, the film leaves its deeper questions unanswered, which comes across as a cop-out. Though solemn and portentous, Scott doesnít get any closer to the meaning of the universe than Douglas Adams did in The Hitch-Hikerís Guide to the Galaxy.

Much of the movie takes place inside an enormous, hollow, alien structure, and that is all too apposite a metaphor for the whole movie. Thereís little sense of human contact between the crew, and we are not encouraged to feel much as they are exploded and eviscerated. With the possible exception of Noomi Rapaceís leading character, the characters are as sketchy and undeveloped as in the most sub-standard slasher flick, so the experience is emotionally underwhelming.

Prometheus isnít a classic, unlike Alien and Blade Runner, but there are enough quality ingredients to make me hope Scott gets the money to make the sequel.

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