Friday, June 22, 2012

Prometheus: A Review

I've just indulged in one of my loner-trips to the cinema to (finally) catch Prometheus before it disappears from the big screen, after having heard mixed reviews. Many people seem to think it's brilliant, with an equal number proclaiming it a travesty against the genre.

For those who aren't in the know, Prometheus is Ridley Scott's latest number, set in the same universe as the Alien series of films. It's set prior to the events in Alien, Aliens and the other really rubbish sequels, but isn't a direct prequel of the series.

I think I liked it.

The Good Stuff.

It's slick, pacey and stylish, with convincing effects, and even the 3D* was good. The soundtrack was effective, although I like a bit more silence in my movies - yes, a film score helps to set the mood, but at the same time, creeping edgily through a derelict alien spacecraft on a godforsaken rock** is a bit less realistic if it sounds like you're being accompanied by a full orchestra. The story itself was enticing, and I felt that it went on for about the right length of time- I wasn't left thinking 'was that it?', nor did I breathe a sigh of relief when my aching backside was finally released from the torment that is a cinema seat.

The Bad Stuff.

Seriously, Ridley, geeks are clever people. Sci-Fi geeks are into the Fi largely because they know at least a bit about the Sci and want to explore the extremities of what's plausible. Give us some credit. The sciencey bits in Prometheus came straight from The Ladybird Book Of How To Make Yourself Sound All Sciencey*** with barely a nod to actual science. It strikes me at an odd angle that science fiction movies these days are all so blasé with regards to actually making the science believable. Right from the beginning I was left wondering at how the Prometheus had managed to travel five light-years in only two years whilst having only very rudimentary suspended animation technology. The very premise of the movie (which I shan't go into here so as not to spoil it for the few people who haven't seen it) had the biologist in me squirming uncomfortably, and there barely is any biologist in me at all.

I'm ranting - sorry. The plot itself was full of holes so large you could fly an Imperial Star Destroyer through most of them without worrying too much about scratching the paintwork.

But despite all that, I quite liked it. Fassbender's robo-Pinocchio was excellently played and wonderfully dialogued (and monologued, in parts), and he stole the show. Some of the other characters were a bit two-dimensional, and a couple may as well have started the film in red shirts and with targets tattooed on their foreheads, but clichés aside it was an enjoyable enough movie, and I'll be interested in seeing the inevitable sequel (they left that wide open...)

* I'm not always a fan of 3D, as it seems to be a gimmick for getting punters to part with more cash and doesn't often add much to a movie. It seems to be settling down a bit now, but it's still more moneygrabbing than innovative moviemaking, in my opinion.
** Yes, this particular cliché was delivered by Charlize herself.
*** Which doesn't actually exist, but I might write it myself now I've thought of it.