While it might not have lived up to the hype and terror promised in the build-up to its release, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus comes to Blu-ray in a combo pack that is well-worth the money thanks to multiple formats and more than seven hours of extras that take you into the film and answer a question or two.
Sadly, the features, alternate opening/ending and deleted scenes don’t help the film overcome some of its shortcomings.
Prometheus has ties to Scott’s masterpiece Alien, but is not necessarily a straight on prequel. Still, the movie is peppered with enough nods to Alien to keep fans of the franchise happy and on that level they might enjoy it more than the casual viewer. Scott is also wise enough to make sure the movie stands on its own for those not familiar with Alien.
The director has created a film that is truly beautiful at times and has a story that is complex enough to keep you hooked to what is happening on screen. Unfortunately, some of the story’s holes keep Prometheus from becoming as great as it should have been.
While trying to stay as spoiler free as possible in the review, Prometheus is an origin story – not just of the Alien franchise but of life itself. The title even suggests the origins of humanity, as Prometheus gave fire to mankind in the Greek myths. Questions that have surrounded humans since the beginning of our time surround this movie. Where do we come from? Who made us? What was our history before history was recorded?
Set decades before Ripley ventured out on her quest and ended up fighting acid dripping aliens that had propensities to bust out of chests, Prometheus follows a team of scientists, their replicant/android David (played by Michael Fassbender, who completely owns this movie) and several crew members as they journey through the universe to discover our origins.
Noomi Rapace plays scientist Elizabeth Shaw, who is joined by her co-scientist Charlie Holloway, played by Logan Marshall-Green. They have been studying cave art and have come to the conclusion that there are messages within the ancient art -messages that are to us – an “invitation” as someone says.
The trip has been funded by their billionaire benefactor and president/founder of Weyland Industries, and it is being lead under the supervision of his daughter Meredith Vickers (played by Charlize Theron). Vickers comes with them, but at a price, as she seems to want to run things in a very corporate manner and might or might not have a separate agenda. Theron’s performance also left me wondering just how human she might or might not be.
Guy Pearce, in massive old age make-up, plays Peter Weyland -who sees the journey as a possible way to find a “fountain of youth.” Weyland is a Howard Hughes types that is both creepy and intriguing at the same time.
Pearce plays him to the hilt, making the audience doubt the true reasons for such extensive space travel that will take years to fulfill any and all obligations. Pearce’s performance as Weyland was aided by a great internet marketing campaign that gave the actor a chance to play a young Weyland in online shorts that also introduced David in a very creepy way.
Although the film is about the origins of life and those nasty aliens, Fassbender’s David is the main reason to watch Prometheus. From the opening moments (where Fassbender is enjoying the epic Lawrence of Arabia), his character becomes the most interesting and at times evil thing happening on screen.
Scott and company do a great job of never making David’s intentions clear. It seems he is operating under his own orders from Weyland, but at the same time he seems to just be enjoying the chaos and carnage he is causing. With morals and programing somewhere between Ash and Bishop, David might be the most complex “Artificial Person” ever brought to the big screen.
Although the film does start to unravel towards the end and is never quite as good as fans might have hoped, Prometheus works on many levels. It can be just a popcorn movie (instant entertainment with space aliens and epic scale action), but also has a story rich with layers that will keep you talking about it for days.
The Blu-ray Combo Pack (which gives an incredible picture and sound) comes loaded with features that take fans deep into the making of the movie, its origins, and offers fans more of a clear picture of what the filmmakers were trying to accomplish with Prometheus – which will hopefully get more sequels. The deleted/alternate scenes are all worth watching, but don’t do anything to fix the film’s problems or plot holes (again I am trying to stay spoiler free with the review).
At the heart of it, Prometheus is an origin story of human discovery and of one of the best franchises in sci-fi history. The movie moves slow, but the tension building pays off in the end – even if that ending might leave you with more questions than answers.
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