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5 reviews, 26 user ratings

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by Jack Sommersby

"Puerile Prequel"
1 stars

Despite all the hype, it's nothing more than a high-minded sci-fi hustle with embarrasing degrees of grandeur.

Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski is the best thing to happen to director Ridley Scott in a long while. After over a decade of mostly inadequately-photographed productions, Scott replaced his usual cameraman John Mathieson with Wolski, and the difference in visual quality is considerable. Where before the color schemas were grubbily monochromatic (especially with Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood, both disreputable pictures), Prometheus looks genuinely spectacular with colors that really pop in the best eye-candy sense. It's a science-fiction tale, and taking place on a spaceship and a strange planet gives Wolski plenty of wiggle room to display his virtuosity: the variances in the color scale are wonderfully dexterous, consisting of gorgeous primary ones sans luridness and glossy secondary ones of lucid texture. It's too bad, though, that not only is the movie a botch, but that Scott still hasn't regained his knack for canny widescreen composition -- Wolski's lighting is stellar, but there isn't a single shot that makes expressive use of the 2.35:1 aspect ratio: the peripheries are underused and the focus of action stays in the center of the frame in a boxy-TV way, which is something of an anomaly in that Scott's magnificent Alien, which took place mostly on a spaceship, was shot in widescreen yet was considerably claustrophobic. But this is only one of many weaknesses in this unofficial prequel to Alien, which involved: a deep-space crew landing on an uncharted planet to investigate a transmission of unknown origin, discovering a gigantic alien spacecraft crashed and piloted by a space jockey, and a batch of thousands of knee-high eggs in the cargo hold; something from one of the eggs exploded out and attached itself to a crew member's face, he was brought back on board, the thing eventually dislodged but not before having implanted an embryo inside him, a baby alien tore itself out from his stomach, and it eventually grew into a seven-foot monstrosity that proceeded to pick off the crew one by one. Prometheus, co-written by Damon Lindelof of the moronic Cowboys and Aliens, concerns itself with the origin of the space jockey and those eggs, even though for die-hard fans of Alien this matter was best left to the imagination (as was the exact physicality of the adult creature, which Scott masterfully showed only sporadically) -- we were left to assume the eggs were some kind of manufactured biological weapon or a discovered species with biological-weapon potential, and the space jockey was delivering them before itself becoming infected.

The movie takes place many years before Alien, with a crew of a trillion-dollar spaceship arriving on the exact same planet to investigate the possible origin of mankind there: in the last decade of the twenty-first century, hieroglyphics are found in a cave that point to the creation of man, with a space constellation giving the coordinates of a planet known as LV-223; the discoverers of this have convinced the Weylan Corporation to fund the exploration, and the crew is an assorted array of various scientists and the like. Once on the planet, an apparent man-made structure is found, and the scientists investigate, finding remnants of long-dead creatures, and it doesn't take long for havoc to break out when some of the crew are either viciously killed off right then and there by some exponentially-growing organism or infected by a microbe-sized one where the unwitting human host is brought back onboard where it gestates. And it's hard for the audience to care because the characters are so ill-defined and impersonal that we have as little stake in them as we do the ho-hum story; added to which, excepting the always-welcome Charlize Theron, who's wasted playing the no-nonsense corporate bigwig on board, the cast is made up of second-raters. There's an intelligent human-looking robot that's a pale imitation of Ian Holm's unnervingly menacing one in Alien, and dastardly greedy intentions on the part of the Company warmed over from that movie as well. We also get high-minded trifle concerning Creationism and existence of God that come off as spewed from a stoned-out first-year theology student -- solipsistic sprinklings of grandeur that only accentuate the movie's vacuousness. (Mankind hasn't lived up to its expectations by its Creator, see, so it becomes a target for eradication.) No more of the puerile context need be commented on, and Scott's shorthand directing offers no alleviation of it. Excepting one terrifically staged bit involving the heroine desperately getting a rushed C-section by a full-body-operation machine before she can give birth to a baby alien, the scenes are poorly shaped and don't build off one another, thus dissipating any semblances of sustained tension; and there isn't so much as a tenth of the enveloping atmosphere of Alien, which was one of its chief virtues. Where Walter Hill's outstanding, thematically-similar director's-cut of Supernova challenged our imaginations and stimulated the senses, Prometheus is another of the intolerable Avatar vein offering up oodles of flat dialogue, dour dramatics, and empty expensive special effects. Wolski manages to give it some occasional surface oomph, but it still shouldn't have seen the light of day.

Revisit "Alien" or the second-best of the series, the unfairly maligned, widely misunderstood "Alien Resurrection."

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=23147&reviewer=327
originally posted: 06/13/12 13:50:47
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User Comments

10/29/16 morris campbell flawed but interesting gets better with repeat viewings 4 stars
4/01/16 David Hollingsworth Incoherent, misguided and pointless 1 stars
10/29/13 Charles Tatum Worthy, awesome prequel 5 stars
8/15/13 Mr. Appa Visually stunning, worst old man makeup, worst dialog, worst acting 2 stars
8/12/13 herbert excellent--can't wait 4 the sequel 5 stars
7/20/13 Ronin My expectations were too high. The Android is most interesting thing there 3 stars
1/28/13 M. Broxtermann Classic, intelligent SF, with a touch of horror. 5 stars
11/08/12 Eric Stevens EYE-EYE-EYE SEE you Hollywood tricksters- remaking much better films- Shame on you! 2 stars
11/02/12 JP Ward *sigh* 3 stars
10/21/12 mr.mike Intriguing and demands a second viewing. 4 stars
10/21/12 mwilde horrrible 1 stars
9/11/12 Langano Critics are giving it too much credit, lacks substance. 2 stars
7/13/12 Man Out Six Bucks Hell at least it's not a reboot 4 stars
6/19/12 Dr. Isaksson Brett, your review was stunning. I am right with u on all of it. 4 stars
6/18/12 Jiz An empty film more about the scenery than the narrative. Decent, but third act was dull. 3 stars
6/17/12 tooktheredpill wow, bad script and idiotically stupid in parts. 2 stars
6/16/12 Bob Dog A dumb horror movie. 1 stars
6/15/12 Davo Brilliant, just go and see it ! 5 stars
6/14/12 Flipsider This movie will make you think... about how dumb the script is. 2 stars
6/13/12 drdanny Gorgeous to look at, but unsatisfying. 3 stars
6/11/12 action movie fan well cfrafted but dull film alien 1979 was far better in every way 2 stars
6/11/12 KingNeutron Good sci-fi movie; some plot holes, but it should make you think 4 stars
6/10/12 GLC Awesome. A tremendous movie. You can think about it or just enjoy it. 5 stars
6/09/12 K. Sear Fun but not a piece of genius. Worth a look. 4 stars
6/08/12 radium56 Hell yeah! I find the movie perfectly fits Sobczynski's review IMHO. Go&see&have fun! 5 stars
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  08-Jun-2012 (R)
  DVD: 09-Oct-2012


  DVD: 09-Oct-2012

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