So the hype and expectation are over and the film that was both heralded as a prequel to Alien and not is finally on our screens.
I am writing this about an hour after seeing the film so these are pretty much my first impressions only slightly ruminated upon.
Despite being a fan of the original run of Alien movies I had, since the announcement of Prometheus, been concerned as to if we really needed to have the blanks filled in, but had confidence that Ridley Scott would at least come up with something interesting that would, hopefully, render the Alien Vs Predator films redundant (and I’m pleased to say, if nothing else, that has happened).
I had also done my best to avoid as much of the hype and speculation about the film as possible, though I had seen one of the mock TED videos and an early trailer.
So I headed into the cinema with mixed, but hopeful, expectations, and that is kind of how I still feel now I’ve seen the movie.
While the film is undeniably well made with some amazing special effects, some great performances (Michael Fassbender in particular) and some massive ambition, I can’t help but feel Prometheus was allowed to run away with itself leaving the finished film as something of an undisciplined mess.
What really struck me was that it seemed the filmmakers really didn’t know whether they wanted to make something that stuck with the horror of Alien, the action of Aliens, a more adventure style film or a film dealing with the biggest of big questions, so they threw in bits of all four leaving a film that never seemed to be any of these enough to be a coherent whole.
This meant the tone and mood seemed to shift around a lot, occasionally from one scene to another, and made it very hard to properly get lost in the film in the way I had with Alien and Aliens or any other great movie.
While the film was imbalanced, it wasn’t without its impressive moments, though these were mostly visual and referencing Alien in one way or another.
The designs by, and inspired by, HR Giger, were undeniably astounding and suited the ‘ancient aliens’ premise to a tee, looking at once both futuristic and primeval in the way that only Giger seems able to manage, and the other aspects harked back enough to the old designs but with enough that was up to date to create something new but clearly in the same universe as Alien.
So in all on first impression I found Prometheus to be a film with too many good ideas for its own good and that seemed worryingly obsessed with setting up its own sequel in the final scenes rather than rounding off its own story. I just hope that with the sequels that seem to be on the cards we get some of these thing dealt with and questions answered, and we are able to get more properly attached to the characters.
As well as this review I also joined the guys from the 24LPS podcast (including Wynter who writes the CinemaScream blog), and Claire Mockett, to take a look at Prometheus (and a few other movies), you can listen to that here: