And… some quick thoughts.
Three things I liked:
- Guts: And not just in the literal sense either. (Though there is plenty of body horror, as one would expect.) Scott’s film has huge ambition and also runs with a number of fairly ballsy ideas that you wouldn’t expect from a Hollywood blockbuster. In a way, this film is kind of nuts.
- Beauty: This is the prettiest movie I’ve seen in recent memory. From grandiose spectacle to the tiniest details, the aesthetics of the film are remarkably thoughtful and cohesive. At times grand and strange, at times familiar yet frightening.
- Acting: The acting is good throughout both the film and the cast, with standout performances from Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender.
Two things I didn’t like:
- Lack of focus: Is it because the film is so gargantuan? It sounds like a bit of an excuse, but whatever the case is, it felt a bit diluted in the midst of its huge concept and ambition. Scott’s film is a hectic run from start to finish, and he often seems interested in taking it in more directions than his vehicle can handle. This makes the film feel sometimes like an unsatisfying salad of meaningless revelations and sketchily sketched characters. It’s not enough to undo this otherwise engaging film, but one can’t help but feel as if it could have done with more time.
- Predictability: The plot is somewhat predictable (particularly, I think, the ending), and this becomes doubly true if you’ve watched Alien before because it treads on the same territory. This is at odds with the strangeness that the film works so hard to build in the first hour or so.
Overall, sure, I think the film had a bunch of issues, but the gambits that it takes, the sheer beauty and spectacle of the picture, and the assured hand of Ridley Scott (noticeable in the balanced drama, the careful suspense, and the accomplished body horror) all remind me of why I go to the pictures. It’s also the first film to make me wonder about that newfangled 3D thing. (Us Luddites!) It’s the sort of sensory treat that you should catch on the big screen if you can.
If nothing else, I’m glad to see that Ridley’s still got it. Roll on the Blade Runner sequel.
The elements that dominate in the film’s first hour—the displays of technological wonders, the comparative charts of ancient astronomical imagery, the android with his limitless powers of analysis and extrapolation, and the inevitably truncated conversations about religion and Darwinism—are meant to suggest an atmosphere of intellectual voyaging, as if we were here to find the solution to a puzzle. From the halfway point on, we tip rapidly into grand guignol country, with an accelerating number of variations on the human body made monstrous by contact (external or internal) with alien life, the inevitable result of messing around in old tombs. Pseudoscientific speculation and pulp images of corporeal horror just naturally go together, and when set side by side they split the difference between “there must be something beyond all this” and “let me out of here.”
Geoffrey O’Brien on Prometheus.
Ridley Scott’s latest, Prometheus, in pictures, over at the Telegraph. [via The Telegraph]
Ridley Scott will direct and produce a new Blade Runner picture. [via Deadline]