I finally got round to watching Prometheus, and I am finding  it a struggle to compose what I want to say in this blog. I really wanted to be involved in it. The film, for all intent and purposes, was glorious on all scales – except the one that counted. Viewer connection. (Warning – spoilers ahead).

Shaw, from Prometheus. Graphic created by Rhiannon Szulc. I do not own the character.

As it is directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) you sit down with Prometheus feeling like it will be something special. In Prometheus, a group of explorers and scientists board their spaceship to visit an alien planet in search of the truth behind the origins of mankind. There, they come across dangerous species and a fight for their lives.

Scott is a forerunner in directing Science Fiction epics, so why would this be any different? The cast, also, feels like a winner. All the characters have been carefully chosen to respect the various attitudes of the crew members and this really shines through in the acting. Highlights are Charlize Theron as the cool Vickers, Noomi Rapace as the fairly naive Shaw, and especially the cold and enigmatic delivery of cyborg David, played by Michael Fassbender.

However, the way these characters are represented leaves the viewer wanting more. Although the cast is excellent, they do not really have much to play with. The pregnancy and subsequent “caesarean” scene with Shaw sets you on the edge of your seat and does leave you feeling uncomfortable – but as she loses her boyfriend, discovers she’s pregnant, performs a crude foreign object removal of the foetus, then seems to get over all this by running and jumping around (all in the space of roughly ten minutes) you find yourself losing momentum with the film. The plot events are mainly kicked off by the errors of the crew – despite it being their job. Why send electricity through an unknown head, just to see how it will react with no intital testing? Why go back to discuss the meaning of life with an alien after finding the corpses that said alien had been responsible for? Why constantly prod alien goo and strange lifeforms, whilst also having no regard whatsoever for alien planet contamination protocol? It leaves you wishing the fantastic cast had characters with a little more depth and sense behind them.

A saving grace of Prometheus is undoubtedly the visuals. The opening sequence with the Engineer is beautifully done and sets the tone for the gorgeous cinematography and scenery throughout. The way the inside of the alien spaceship is shot is genuinely creepy and really does create the atmosphere and tone that is carried through the entire film – there is always a sense that something is not quite right. This is science fiction cinematography created at its best, there is no denying that. The storm clouds were breathtaking, the desolate landscape of the planet was suitably eerie and the overall atmosphere was spot on.

But that is not enough for me to care. And I really, really wanted to. The characters are not given enough meat for us to make any connections with them, the storyline overall feels a bit weak and wanting in places and you really do struggle to care for any of it. It just needs that sprinkle of viewer connection and it would be there. But it just does not quite reach it. Which is such a massive shame for what we expected Prometheus to achieve. 3 out of 5 stars.

Advertisements