Tuesday 5 June 2012

Prometheus - My Thoughts

Prometheus is the first film in a long time that I've actually been willing to see in 3D. Between the landscapes in Alien and Blade Runner, I could see the appeal in seeing Ridley Scott working in 3D. In fact, as disinclined as I am towards retro-fitting 3D into movies, I would be very up for a 3D Blade Runner, just for those cityscapes.

Scott has been very clear that he does not regard this as a prequel to Alien, and rather an extension of the same world. Whether this is the case or not, it's reflective of a rather muddled thinking that permeates the entire film.

As an example, Guy Pearce plays an elderly character, with heavy makeup in order to make him look realistically old. Unfortunately, this is difficult to convince with. I suspect that even if Guy Pearce was an unknown, it would come as a revelation to precisely nobody that he wasn't the age he was playing. It appears that the main reason to cast a much younger actor is for the viral promotion in which a young Pearce addresses an audience at a futuristic TED conference.

Now, that's not to say that Pearce isn't good in the role. He's as good as he always is, as is just about everyone in it. There's a whole load of really good actors working really hard. And the direction is good throughout. The music is great, and other than the opening disintegration, the special effects are lovely throughout.

A lot of it does work, but it has problems. The dialogue is clunky at times, with people volunteering information for no particular reason. One character's infertility is introduced awkwardly, as is another character's motivation. On top of that, the supposedly unfeeling android repeatedly displaying obvious emotions (and not in such a way that suggests that he is just designed to pretend) means that the question of his humanity is a rather strange one. And the big questions ("What does it mean to be human?" "Why are we here?") are not so much subtly asked as repeatedly asked out loud.

Also, there are plot points that happen in such a way that they appear to be purely to allow the plot points to happen.The rest of this paragraph will have some plot spoilers, but I'll try to keep them vague. A remarkably handy hologram effect turns up occasionally to advance the plot, even interacting with surroundings to the point of switching on a star map. A medical bay appears to be gender-specific for no reason other than to add tension (I can think of a reason it's there, involving the revelation of another character, but not why it's gender-specific in the first place). A character reveals a secret plan which appears to have been secret for...absolutely no reason.

It's a frustrating movie in a lot of ways, but that's not to say that it's bad. It isn't. It's quite good, and that actually makes it more frustrating. I watched "Double Headed Shark Attack" the other day, which was absolute dross, so I didn't care about the ludicrous plot.

This movie, I liked a lot of, and so the frustrating elements were more frustrating. It doesn't hang together like it should, and it doesn't get me to care about the characters as much as it should. But it does mostly work, and I did care about the characters to an extent. It made me care enough about the movie that the issues with it annoyed me more than they would with a lesser movie.

It isn't as good as Alien. Or Blade Runner. But it is interesting, and there are a lot of good people doing very good work.

Oh, and Fassbender is great, but you didn't need me to tell you that.

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