07
Jun
12

Prometheus

No spoilers.

As a massive Alien fanboy I’ve been eagerly awaiting Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s return to sci-fi and the Alien universe. It is a sort-of prequel and big-theme epic, he said.

I saw it last night in its Australian premiere, in 3D and on the world’s biggest IMAX screen.

I liked it a lot. It was not perfect; it’s no Alien or Blade Runner. But it is undoubtedly a massive, spectacular-looking, suspenseful, sci-fi epic. The combination of real and computer FX is stunning. There are blasts and scares and oozy disgusting bits. There’s peril, and there’s a laugh or two. There are big themes, very big themes. There are some answers, if you’re a clued-up fanboy and you pay attention.

The 3D is good. Scott shot the film in 3D, it wasn’t done in post-production, and it feels natural and puts you in the action.

There has been some criticism that the film is too short, too edited. I agree with this. Although it’s two hours long it feels cramped and rushed. Another 15 minutes would help. Extended version, perhaps?

Also, the characters do a few things that made me raise an eyebrow in the “oh, come on, now, no one’s THAT stupid” sort of way.

Some reviews have criticised the lack of character establishment; this doesn’t bother me as much, as you get there later. Alien didn’t have much character establishment, either, but repeated viewings make us feel like we know those characters.

But there is so much spectacle that you never get to the level of emotional buy-in of Alien or Blade Runner. I wasn’t filled with fear or existential dread. Still, I had a breathless, whiz-bang time, and I loved seeing the roots of a film franchise that I love, thrilled to see how that fictional universe will come to be.

I’ve been reflecting on it today and realising how subtle and intricate some of it is. Many fanboys are disappointed that it’s not a direct prequel to Alien (even though Scott said it wasn’t). The director has left clear room for another film to fit between Prometheus and that classic, and there are at least two threads to follow as we get there.

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