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NOTE: After my second viewing of PROMETHEUS, I decided to come back to this review (which I wrote after my first sit down) and tweak it. I knew I should have followed my initial instincts and seen it a second time (with expectations out of the way) before writing my drivel, but hey it had to go up at the time. So here's Round 2!
Jerry Goldsmith’s ALIEN score is seeping out of my speakers once more, am feeling it, let’s rock!To say that PROMETHEUS was my most anticipated film of the year would be an understatement. ALIEN and ALIENS are two of my favorite movies of all time, and I’ve been waiting for eons for a worthy companion to them. Sure ALIEN 3 (assembly cut was the best of the two cuts IMO) was okay and I didn’t hate ALIEN VS. PREDATOR as much as everybody else did, but both didn’t come close to the mastery displayed in the aforementioned classics. Running a movie website for 12 years, you kind of get jaded about hype and I personally don’t anticipate movies coming out like I used to. PROMETHEUS on the other back-hand jacked my fanboy arterial pressure to CRITICAL. I hadn’t been this pumped for a movie since ALIENS in 1986. Now, expectations can mess with your melon and no matter how many times I told myself to lower them suckers down before my first screening; I couldn’t wing it, they were up there and there to stay.
After my first screening, I mulled it over for 7 days (the longest I ever
took to digest a film), before typing my thoughts. Expectations can be finicky
f*cks, they can blind you as to what the film REALLY IS cause you're too busy
being concerned with it not fitting with what you thought it would be. So for
me, seeing PROMETHEUS a second time, was like seeing it for the first time all
over again. Except this time; I truly SAW IT. Here are my revised thoughts. First and foremost
in my book PROMETHEUS IS an ALIEN prequel. Not a DIRECT one though cause
the continuity in terms of the Space Jockey was off but more importantly ALIEN
was set on planet LV-426 and this film took place on LV-223. Initially in Jon
Spaihts script the flick was set on LV-426, but since they decided to distance
themselves from ALIEN down the road (via Damon Lindelof's re-write), they
altered that. Personally, they could've shown me the SAME film and kept it
connected 100% to Scott's initial masterpiece and I still would have been a
happy jerk. But hey, that's just me. With that, it is a prequel none the less as it shed some light on the WHO, WHAT and WHY behind
the findings of the Nostromo crew in ALIEN and to some degree we witness HOW the
first incarnation of the famous xenomorph came to be. So it's prequel enough for
me to call it a prequel. I was mucho fascinated by the back-story and the thought
provoking answers the film gave me. It’s rare that you get to absorb a Sci Fi flick with a strong existential streak these days,
one that puts emphasis on religion/faith versus science. It’s more about kapow,
hump-hump and kaboom today (hey I dig those too, but this was a breath of fresh
air). But PROMETHEUS went old school on my ass and THANK YOU oh so much for
that. On top of that; seeing two unused yet fly ideas they had for ALIEN (won't
reveal them so not to spoil) finally put on screen here was a blast and witnessing the “alien ship,” akin to the one the Nostromo crew found in ALIEN
in action made my day! Needless to spit; the many nods, winks and “remages”
related to Scott’s ALIEN jacked my enjoyment of the picture. Why? Cause I'm that
On its own, as per every Ridley Scott film, it was a full meal visually! Sumptuous camera moves, epic shots, scenery that had my jaw drop, oppressive atmosphere galore (largely helped by Dariusz Wolski’s stunning cinematography), detailed and simply astounding production designs, all backed up by an immersive 3D that didn’t take me out of the film but just reeled me in deeper into its dark depths (my second watch was in 2D, film came through on that front as well)! I’ve heard some people complain about the CGI. Not sure what movie they were watching cause the CG that was used and the practical effects (enhanced by said technology) worked for me! Ridley Scott even went on record saying how he tried to avoid using CG as much as he could, so I esteemed the old fashioned approach. Content wise; the flick’s core theme was one we can all relate to: our quest to meet our creator and our relationship with him/her/it. Here that angle was played on three different potent levels: God and Man. Artificial Intelligence and Man and Child and Parent. The question of “where do we come from” was addressed both on a religious and scientist standpoint. So yeah I had some meat to chew whilst being dazzled and creeped out. What about the cast you may ask? You couldn’t have asked for a better lot! Hot to trot Charlize Theron looked yum in a skin tight suit and managed to bring some nuances to her could have been “black and white” role. Idris Elba was mucho charismatic as the ship's pilot Janek, Logan Marshall-Green nailed his sceptic/regular dude role, Michael Fassbender often stole the show as the ambiguous Android with a penchant for Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia (nice) while Noomi Rapace was a swell mix of sweet, feminine, vulnerable with a pinch of hard ass Ripley jive for good measure. The latter trait came to mind many o times during the last act. Yup, the spirit of Ripley was in the house! It should be said that she had a handful of emotionally intense scenes to wrangle in this flick and she nailed every single one of them and then some! Props girl! The secondary cast was solid too; making their thin roles feel "real" due to their talent.
Add to all that love a stirring score by Marc Streitenfeld (reminded me Jerry Goldsmith’s soundtrack for STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE), some moments of high suspense, a potent love story, a visceral gore laced bit that acted as the equivalent of the famous chest-burster scene in ALIEN, some emotionally charged laced moments that moved me and lots of tantalizing unanswered questions that will hopefully be covered in upcoming sequels and you get a retro-ish Sci-Fi horror film with one foot dipped in the mainstream and the other stomped firmly in the “auteur” pool. Peeves? Minor ones. Some of the side characterization was fairly one-note, we got some dumb moves too serve the plot much like we got in ALIEN (first two victims...come on guys, the f*ck is wrong with you and Charlize, RUN TO THE SIDE), one blatantly exposition monologue (I didn't need Janek to explain to me what was going on, I got it already yo) and I caught one small plot hole (we got one in ALIENS too)… but to be honest I was so engrossed in the happenings that it didn’t hinder my sit down. NOTE: On my first viewing some of the characters motivations were hazy for me, I didn't fully get WHY some did what they did. On my second watch though, I picked up on stuff I had missed and got it. So! By and large PROMETHEUS was an exceptionally ambitious film, one that pretty much accomplished all that it set out to do while at the same time being a nifty companion piece to ALIEN. I actually watched the latter again after PROMETHEUS, yeah, I don't see it the same way now. I have a feeling that PROMETHEUS will be one of those that will be appreciated more and more as time goes on or/and via multitude viewings (Ridley Scott knows about that jive - BLADE RUNNER anyone?). That’s my assumption anyways, but last I checked, I don’t know Jack or his good buddy Shit all too well. On my end, after two viewings, I am in totally love with this picture and officially hooked to this potentially new Sci Fi franchise Ridley Scott has created. It made $141,500,000 worldwide in its opening weekend. Pretty damn good for an R Rated Sci Fi/Horror flick! Make it happen Hollywood! Give me PROMETHEUS 2! Big things start in small places indeed!
They should have kept this shot from the trailer IN the movie! Was organic to the scene IMO...
Ridley Scott has said that the PROMETHEUS Blu-ray will Have 20 to 30 Minutes of Deleted Scenes.
The film was written by Damon Lindelof (Lost) and Jon Spaihts (The Darkest Hour)
Gemma Arterton, Carey Mulligan, Olivia Wilde, Anne Hathaway, Abbie Cornish and Natalie Portman were all considered for the role of Elizabeth Shaw.
The film was originally called ALIEN: PARADISE.