I usually start my reviews with random thoughts and such, yet with this one I decided to put down a quote from H.P. Lovecraft instead as it says everything quite perfectly about the Alien franchise including this one,
"The true weird tale has something more than secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains according to rule. A certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present; and there must be a hint, expressed with a seriousness and portentousness becoming its subject, of that most terrible conception of the human brain -- a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the dæmons of unplumbed space."― H. P. Lovecraft, 'Supernatural Horror in Literature'
While everyone is saying how much the film is stolen by Michael Fassbender as David, I'll get to him in a second, Noomi Rapace as Elizabeth Shaw to me is the best actor in the film. Rapace's character will no doubt be compared to Ripley as both are strong female leads in a hopeless situation. The reason why I'm saying this is plain and simple the film is about her and the faith she has then loses. Rapace adds a softness to the character that all the other characters are lacking. This doesn't mean that she is the weakest character, in fact this adds a humanity to her that saves her life at one point in the movie. Michael Fassbender's David is the quirkiest character in the film as we the viewers can tell that he is always thinking, or processing if you want, of the other characters and what makes them different and what motivates their actions. There is a childlike quality to David that Fassbender adds to the role that almost makes you feel betrayed after watching some of David's actions he takes against the crew. These actions aren't out of cruelty or revenge, but out of more curiosity and wonderment at what would happen and his questioning of his own role among humanity. Charlize Theron's Meredith Vickers was the one true question mark out of all the characters as she is mostly always seen standing away from everyone and tries to keep the entire crew at arms length. The reason for this is explained later on in the film and up until a certain point the viewers may think that Vickers is actually a second android next to David, though you find out that she is in fact human and a very weak one at that as she seems to lose composure whenever her authority is threatened or a order is disobeyed. Despite Vickers' icy exterior inside she is severely insecure and is trying to overcompensate for that fact.
I will admit that before I saw Prometheus that I read a couple of reviews. One thing I've noticed about them is that they either loved the movie or hated it. So much so in fact that the two sides have broken down to name calling on some boards. And do not doubt that you will either love the movie or hate it as there really is no in-between when it comes to this. This has to do with that the fact that the movie asks you to think, which is almost a unheard of these days. It asks us to get the notion of God out of our heads and in it's place to put in a notion that takes hold throughout the film. What if we were made by another alien race. Would you be willing to have all that you hold true, that wall that we built, knocked down to truly know the truth. These are lofty questions that most everyone can understand and it is these questions that are the foundations of the story to Prometheus. On the flip side is the mythology aspect of Prometheus. The one where the Gods become pissed at the titan Prometheus and punish him for giving fire to the humans. For giving them knowledge. What is not widely known is that by giving humans knowledge, it is this knowledge that helped mankind stop their own destruction from the Gods. The knowledge being sought in this is why did, as Elizabeth Shaw puts them, the Engineers create humans. For what purpose. Yet by the end of the film this question has changed to why are they, the Engineers, trying to destroy us. Did we overstep our bounds by learning and asking to much? While not all the answers are giving in the film some are answered. Another interesting story point that is brought up in the film is that the planet the crew find the Engineers on turns out to be a staging point, or to put it more simply, a military installation. The one bad aspect of this is that how they came to this conclusion or found out is not giving. This is more than likely from a cut scene that explains how they found out. This is the only real slight I found with the film. Ridley Scott set the film up this way for a reason and I can't thank him enough for making a film that is smart and doesn't take the idiot route that most do.
Director Ridley Scott has done something that I thought really wasn't possible after so many years of bad movies that had the xenomorphs in them and that is to make the alien films mean something again, while creating something completely new with something that could be just as deadly and potentially more dangerous with the Engineers, or as they are more well known as the race that is the Space Jockeys. The film is beautifully shot with a even hand that doesn't pull away from a shot. When what action there is happens the camera doesn't pull away from it, try to hide or make the camera shake to make it seems like there is more going on than there really is. What we are seeing is what is happening, nothing more or less. Prometheus is more about the tension and the unknown. Most of what is happening cannot be explained, and that makes the film more powerful. As we are there as an observer only, not everything is explained and I think that is what makes most people hate the film. There are stand out scenes that are amazing to watch and see and I'm not going to go into those scenes as to go into it will ruin it. What I will say is that if you can watch it in 3D, do so. While a lot of the films that are using the format to make things pop out on the screen or for a quick jolt to the audience, Scott does something different. Scott uses the format to help the film and not for thrill, but to enhance what is shown and help add depth to what is being seen. The reason for this is that this is not a small movie, in fact Prometheus is a far reaching film that has ideas that pushes the audience and what is being seen has to match it as well. And the visuals do. What also helps with this is the use of as much in-camera effects as possible. Prometheus is a film that will with time become more accepted such as a lot of Ridley Scott's other works have become. But to me this film is a classic already as it pushes boundaries and ideas and isn't afraid to leave it up to the viewer to think for theirself.
Directed by Ridley Scott
Noomi Rapace - Elizabeth Shaw
Michael Fassbender - David
Charlize Theron - Meredith Vickers
A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
Fifield's melting doom.
You know what this place is? Hell.
Designer and artist H.R. Giger, who worked on the original design of the Xenomorph Alien, was brought in to assist in reverse-engineering the design of the Aliens in the film.
Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski convinced Ridley Scott that it would be possible to shoot the film in 3D with the same ease and efficiency of typical filming. 3D company 3ality Technica provided some of the rigs and equipment to facilitate 3D filming, and trained the film's crew in their proper operation. Since 3D films need high lighting levels on set, the traditional dark shadowy atmosphere of the Alien films was added in post-production through grading processes, while the 3D equipment will be based on post Avatar technology. Supposedly the first quarter of the film was finished filming when the decision to film it in full 3D was agreed upon causing the shot scenes to be re-shot in 3D.
During production Ridley Scott kept the use of computer-generated imagery as low as possible, using CGI mainly in space scenes; Scott recalled advice VFXpert Douglas Trumbull gave him on the set of Blade Runner: "If you can do it live, do it live", and also claimed that practical VFX was more cost-effective than digital VFX. And in my opinion look better as well.
Ridley Scott and James Cameron both were working on a sequel to Alien franchise in 2002 together that would explore the engineered origin of the aliens in the film series, when both dropped out due to Fox's greenlighting of Alien Vs. Predator. Cameron was very vocal about the potential of the cross-over ruining both franchises and wanted nothing to do with Fox's influence on any Alien sequel do to it.
According to Ridley Scott, the film's plot was inspired by Erich von Daniken's writings about ancient astronauts: "Both NASA and the Vatican agree that it is almost mathematically impossible that we can be where we are today, without there being a little help along the way. That's what we're looking at: we are talking about gods and engineers, engineers of space. Were the Aliens designed as a form of biological warfare, or biology that would go in and clean up a planet?"