Prometheus (Blu-ray/ DVD + Digital Copy) (2012)

Actors: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba
Director: Ridley Scott
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Region: A/1
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 2
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: October 9, 2012
Run Time: 124 minutes




The very notion that a science-fiction epic could engender serious discussion in this day and age is a marvel. Prometheus, one of the most hotly debated science fiction films of recent years, earns props solely for getting people engaged in ideas instead of special effects.

But does that make it a good movie?

It depends on who you ask. For my part, I was blown away by the bold and audacious expansion of the Alien universe. No, it doesn’t tie in to Scott’s 1979 masterpiece as fervently as fans hoped. But it definitely fills in some very big gaps and leaves the rest as intriguing discussion points rather than crass exposition.

More importantly, the film holds up very well as a stand-alone motion picture. Set in the late 21st century, it presents us with the oft-used first contact scenario in which a group of astronauts encounter alien life for the first time on a distant planet. The twist is that those aliens may be our progenitors… and are less well-disposed towards their creations than we’d like.

The discovery comes courtesy of a pair of anthropologists (Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green) who find extensive evidence across multiple primitive cultures that we once received visitors from beyond the stars. They also find what they believe to be a stellar map pointing to a distant world, and convince the gigantic Weyland Corporation to fund an expedition. The expected gaggle of misfits come along for the ride, including an android (Michael Fassbender) who may be more than he seems and a company ice queen (Charlize Theron) convinced that she can bully any situation into submission.

The human drama remains largely irrelevant in the face of the larger questions, which Prometheus takes great delight in exploring. The “Engineers” who supposedly created us bear familiar features (and all too familiar emotions), but possess radically different technology. Their intentions beyond the moment remain indistinct but intriguing; Scott delights in teasing them out while letting his cast discuss the nature of our origins and the manner in which it shapes our collective destiny.

Those questions filter through the expected amount of Lovecraftian glop, deployed with great precision and guaranteed to produce its fair share of the creeps. When added to Scott’s meticulous production design and the ominous presence of the Engineers themselves, it makes for an unparalleled visual treat. Prometheus really needed to be seen on the big screen, but if you missed it, then a Blu-ray and hi-def TV is the only method that does it justice. The script blends the more disturbing aspects with the one human storyline that holds water – Rapace’s inability to bear children and the ultimately horrific way those scales get “balanced” – to keep it from drifting completely into the cerebral.

The remainder of the cast makes for an engaging presence, though their various dilemmas feel quite clichéd when faced with the cosmic enormity in front of them. We basically wind up picking the ones we like and watching with detached interest to see how many of them will survive. Scott’s technical polish makes the exercise an engaging one, though a little more personality infused into these figures would have gone a long way.

That was never the purpose of the exercise, however . . . and, if the film’s detractors are to be believed, neither are the deep issues it ultimately focuses on. We recognize numerous elements from that other Ridley Scott outer space chiller, and keep waiting for more direct answers connecting it to this movie. They never come . . . at least not directly. Scott prefers to infer rather than state overtly, letting us connect the dots ourselves and perhaps generate our own interesting theories in the process.

That, in part, helps make Prometheus such a fascinating – and at times frustrating – film. It respects us enough to draw our own conclusions, raising as many questions as it answers and allowing us to savor the possibilities instead of spoon-feeding us the answers. We’re not used to that, especially from an A-list production like this one. The technical polish keeps it running on the most basic levels, and lets us sample the more esoteric issues at our leisure. You just don’t see that much anymore, and the film benefits immeasurably from the results. We shouldn’t be surprised that it took someone like Scott to remind us of that . . . only that more filmmakers don’t follow his example.

THE DISCS: Few films benefit from the Blu-ray treatment as well as Prometheus. Scott’s fastidious attention to detail reflects in every frame, and the stunning color palette absolutely requires the beautiful transfer we see here. The 7.1 sound mix benefits from the same careful presentation: as rich and deep as the images themselves. The special features are much sparser however, consisting of a few online promotional shorts, deleted scenes, two audio commentaries (one from Scott, one from the screenwriters), and the expected DVD and digital copies.

WORTH IT? Whether or not Scott’s movie stands up as well as Alien has yet to be determined. In the meantime, we can happily explore an all-new corner of this universe, and “enjoy” a few sleepless nights in the bargain.

RECOMMENDATION: You might not like Prometheus, but it will definitely leave you talking . . . and fans will thoroughly relish the chance to study it at length on Blu-ray.


- Rob Vaux



blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Most Popular

Copyright © 1997-forward James O'Ehley/The Sci-Fi Movie Page (unless where indicated otherwise).