Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba
Director: Ridley Scott
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled,
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
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
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
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
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
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
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
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