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Review: Prometheus

June 12, 2012

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia


What’s all the fuss about this film Prometheus then? Back in 1979 Ridley Scott released a film that would have a lasting effect on film audiences. A film that received both critical acclaim and box office success then spawned a huge media franchise that capitalised on the film’s lasting popularity throughout the following decades. The film was called Alien.

So what was the magical formula behind one of Ridley Scott’s most loved films? A mixture of imagination, attention to detail, Scott’s amazing timing – using silence to build tension before attacking the senses with notoriously shocking scenes: most famously the alien bursting through the man’s stomach, sending audiences flying off seats all over the world. Alien was without a doubt an achievement and the news of Scott’s prequel (although Scott has denied it is a prequel, only adding to the anticipation), Prometheus has had audiences praying that they wouldn’t be faced with disappointment. The film was released earlier this month and it’s caused quite a stir.

Ridley Scott is an ambitious director who definitely doesn’t shy away from a challenge. In fact, judging by the diversity of his career, he seems to revel in them. Scott has a unique ability to transport his audiences into new worlds and spaces that attack the senses and emotions, from roman empires (Gladiator), medieval kingdoms (Robin Hood), to harrowing war torn Somalia (Black Hawk Down) to a dark criminal underworld (American Gangster).  It’s safe to say that Scott’s films are usually what you’d call dramatic and epic – Thelma and Louise and G.I.Jane aside – so there was a lot of anticipation for his latest very ambitious picture. Scott’s received some criticism for returning to the sci-fi genre, being seen as a safe move by some but in fact it’s usually a risk for a director to return to a genre, even more so when they have had the kind of success that Scott saw with Alien. He’s already proven he’s definitely not a one trick pony so why did he go back? You’ll probably have to ask him for the definitive answer, but sci-fi certainly suits him, and when directing it he’s the boss. With Prometheus, he’s once again demonstrated he’s a master of sci-fi horror – to the relief of many fans.

Prometheus is an intelligent and visceral film in which Scott has used his experience, skills, and a touch of magic, to triumphantly execute what is without a doubt the film of the season. As per for Scott, this film’s visually astounding with brave cinematography and incredible special effects, especially in 3D. The writing is impressive and although the openness of the plot might not be to everyone’s taste, it has an existential centre that’s an impressive undertaking and uses various scientific discoveries, all of great impact to human history, to encourage us to question our own lives. Plus the story is ridiculously engaging.

Add a strong cast, including yet another stand out performance from actor of the moment Michael Fassbender as android, David, and a drama inducing operatic score by Marc Streitenfeld, a frequent Scott collaborator, and you have a cinematic winner. If you like to be transported, transfixed and left a little troubled by a film, then Scott, yet again, has got the ride for you. Just prepare to be left unsettled… in the best way possible.

Kerry Flint.