Friday 15 March 2013

Film: Prometheus (2012)

I eventually got around to watching all of the Alien series of films for which Prometheus was advertised as a prequel, so it was natural for me to see this one too. I have to say that I watched it with some trepidation as I have reservations about the earlier films; while the first one is a classic and they are all very atmospheric, in general they dwell too strongly on the yuck/horror aspects for my taste.

A brief plot summary, with some spoilers: almost a century into the future, two researchers (played by Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green) believe that they have discovered pointers to a distant star system in prehistoric cave paintings and manage to persuade a billionaire to fund an expedition to the system. On arrival they discover a vast structure which is gradually revealed as a base for the Engineers, effectively the creators of mankind. Then things start to go horribly wrong in the usual - and depressingly predictable - fashion. You just know that when two members of the team exploring the structure get lost they are going to die horrible deaths; that the mysterious containers which start to leak black fluid are going to have horrible consequences for humans; and that when Rapace's character becomes impossibly pregnant she will be carrying something horrible rather than a human being; and all these duly come to pass.

There are some good aspects to the movie: Michael Fassbender plays a creepy android, Charlize Theron an android-like human, and Rapace is worth watching. There are some strong and atmospheric scenes, and I found the Engineers fascinating: I would very much like to have seen a lot more of them, including more exploration of why they created humanity and why they apparently turned against us, but presumably these developments have been saved for the sequel(s), should they eventually emerge. Instead, what we get is a gross-out yuck/horror gore-fest in the latter part of the film. The frustrating thing is that the potential was there: it has some of the elements of a great SF film but it ended up as yet another horror movie with an SF background and with nothing much new to say. Disappointing.


I also started to watch another recent SF film, Chronicle. However, after a quarter of an hour or so it seemed to be going nowhere of interest so I stopped.


Walt said...

I enjoyed Chronicle, although it does start slow. The ending is rather Super.

Anthony G Williams said...

Sadly, Walt, I have less patience than I used to. Unless a film (or a book) captures my imagination fairly quickly I go on to something else.

That doesn't mean that I want dramatic action (indeed, I think there tends to be too much of that, especially in movies) but I have to be intrigued.