Prometheus – Film Review

With Ridley Scott back in the Captain’s seat and Sigourney Weaver looking a lot like Noomi Rapace, fans can finally sink their rabid teeth into what may be the truest prequel/sequel/sidequel in the Alien franchise to date. Of course though, as my Uncle Ben once told me*: with great expectation comes great disappointment.

For those of you that never caught any of the eight hundred spoilerific trailers and posters, Prometheus sends a misfit group of scientists to a distant solar system on the dime of a God-complexed Guy Pearce to discover the origins of both the Alien franchise and the human race. Of course, this being a film in the Alien canon, events take an awry turn and things get pretty tense and icky for the naive explorers.

The disappointing thing about Prometheus was its marketing (as alluring as it was). Prometheus is by no means a perfect film to begin with but the trailers and posters gave away almost every major plot point and impressive reveal there was to be seen. Your experience of the film is then tarnished by nagging thoughts such as: “I’ve already seen all of this, why do I have to pay to watch the trailer last over two hours?!” and “Grrrrr.” If I’ve not explained that very well, imagine how you might have felt if Star Wars Episode V’s trailer revealed the pivotal Vader/Luke “No, I am your father” moment**. That is essentially what happened with Prometheus and its alluded to Alien mythos.

As dissatisfied as the words above come off as, once you get over the fact that the entire film had been spoiled by the film studio itself, Prometheus is an enjoyable – if at times oddly paced and occasionally confusing – film.

It doesn’t really answer or deliver on what it sets out to do in plot or idea as a prequel, but – as co-writer Damon Lindelof would often say to calm Lost fanatics – the journey itself is the exciting part. For every vague and unanswered question there are numerous phallic, gooey creatures that creep you out. For every unforgivable bit of prosthetic on Guy Pearce’s head there are countless enchanting landscapes and stunning set-pieces to gape at. For every moment you miss Ellen Ripley and Xenomorphs, Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw is there to kick the arse of both of their memories with an extremely cool performance (even if she and the rest of the characters are, on the whole, a little two dimensional). And finally, I would be remiss to not mention just how subtly amazing Michael Fassbender’s token android David is.

I am itching to detail more of the film’s particularly great moments (of which there are some corkers), but to even allude to them may spoil the little left that is unknown.

The amount of flack that Prometheus is taking is understandable. It is hardly the most stunning or exciting film of 2012 but as far as Ridley Scott films go – and I write this as someone who doesn’t place much stock in Blade Runner – this is one of his best, and it easily equals Alien in style, character and idea development. It isn’t the easiest film to love but please, just hold back on angrily throwing face huggers at Scott et al until you’ve had a good and lengthy cryostasis sleep to think about the film properly. You might find that actually, you kind of liked it too.

*This might not have been what he really said … or even been my Uncle.

**If I’ve just ruined that then I really have no words for you except for how old are you?!

Britain in a Day

Remember Life in a Day, the crowd-sourced documentary about what the world was up to on 24th July 2010? Well they’re doing it all over again but with a much less global outlook. This time the BBC are teaming up with Ridley Scott and director Morgan Matthews to create a documentary snapshot of the UK in a day. To get this together they need you to film your day this Saturday, 12th November 2011, and upload it to YouTube.

The resulting film, once edited down to something coherent and watchable, will be shown in cinemas and on BBC Two next year as part of the London 2012 Festival. This Saturday make sure you film something, no matter how mundane. Fingers crossed we’ll all be watching footage of me editing a small film blog on the big screen next year. For everyone’s sake drown out my potential footage with your own.

Here’s Ridley Scott and Morgan Matthews to explain more. Hi Ridley!

More info on the BBC Website.

Why Robin Hood Won’t Be Any Good, Maybe

A new trailer for Ridley Scott’s upcoming Robin Hood arrived online today but I have more than mild concern about the way the movie was developed.

At first the project was called Nottingham, giving a unique telling of the story from the Sheriff of Nottingham’s point of view with Russell Crowe as the Sheriff.

Then there were rewrites and the story focused on both the Sheriff and Robin Hood with Crowe playing both roles, possibly as the same character bringing an even more unique telling of the story. Then of course there were rewrites and the film became Robin Hood all about Robin Hood as played by Crowe.

I worry about any film that completely overhauls it’s plot through rewrites rather than simply refining the script. I’d have preferred a fresh take on the story or even just an English actor; its a crime that Cary Elwes is the only English actor to have portrayed him. Of course I could be completely wrong and we could have a new, more foresty, Gladiator. Either way the new trailer is below, though you’ve probably already seen it.