PROMETHEUS (Scott, 2012) - I was planning to unleash some snark about how inconsistent and poorly thought-through the science in PROMETHEUS was, but someone’s already done that for me (warning: VERY spoilery). I was going to refer to one of the actors as “a poor man’s Tom Hardy”, but that’s apparently not very original either.
Instead, I’ll talk about why despite being disappointed and frustrated by PROMETHEUS, I did enjoy many aspects of it. Ridley Scott’s direction, for instance, is truly refreshing, with carefully composed, steady shots, and old-fashioned suspense-building. It’s not a horror film though - the ALIEN franchise is kind of unique in its genre-hopping, from the true haunted-house horror of the original to the pure action of the first sequel and the (unfortunately not very thought through) science-fiction of ideas of this one*.
The second great thing is the acting. Michael Fassbender is wonderfully “off” as David, and his coldness is balanced out by the warm humanity of Noomi Rapace’s Elisabeth Shaw and Idris Elba’s Captain Janek. The rest of the cast is less memorable, alas, and aside from one impressive moment Charlize Theron gets very little to do, though she can certainly pull of the space-suit look.
It’s difficult to say more without getting into spoiler territory. Overall, it seems the film is a bit too beholden to ALIEN, too set on offering some kind of explanation (with a handy embedded lesson) about what happened in that film, while at the same time not connecting precisely enough to that film to satisfy sticklers. It’s not a miss - but it can’t be called a hit, either. However, I’m certainly happy they at least aimed high.
*Disclaimer: I have not seen the third and fourth film, or any of the ALIENS vs. PREDATOR movies