Posted by Guest Writer on Tue, 12 Jun 2012.
"BIG THINGS HAVE SMALL BEGINNINGS"
- David (Michael Fassbender)
In 1979, Ridley Scott made his Directorial-breakthrough with the ground breaking and literally gut-wrenching space-epic 'Alien', which saw Sigourney Weaver's 'Ripley' fend off a nightmarish creature in the coldest, most hellish confinements of space, whilst all the time impressing the exceptionality of a female lead. It was a truly exceptional piece and one that cemented Scott's place in the Hall of Fame for centuries to come. Scott then left the Sci-Fi scene but thirty five years later, he returns with 'Prometheus' - a sort of "spiritual prequel" to 'Alien' set in the same universe - and it promises it all; equally as detailed scenery; equally as epic an atmosphere; and as equally as epic stakes, and at a far more personal cost to the audience. You can understand, then, why this dark sci-fi is expected to do so well.
And for the most part, that's exactly what it does.
At heart, Prometheus is a prime example of a gritty piece that delves into deepest, darkest corners of the human condition and explores the very nature of the soul and everything that it means to be human, all of which you would expect in an origin story. This is even referred to in the film's title, 'Prometheus', the Titan who stole fire from the gods and gifted it to humans. As Peter Weyland (an unrecognisable Guy Pearce) states in the film, he wants to put us where we belong; up there, with the gods. Most notably this is explored through what is an exceptional and tantalising performance from the fantastic Michael Fassbender in the form of 'David', who practically steals the show. It's sometimes cold, unnerving and a little bit creepy, oddly humorous, even, but truly a performance you do not want to miss.
Being an android, David is rather lacking in emotion and 'want', unaware of how an imposing idea such as a greater purpose other than to serve his 'father', feels. He therefore acts as a questionable doubt to Noomi Rapace's female lead Elisabeth Shaw, who is on the journey to find out where we humans came from. He poses the important questions of just how far they are willing to go to get the answers they desire, what they would do should the questions and/or answers prove unknowable, and what exactly it means to understand your origins. At each turn, these questions increase the anticipation of a satisfying response that you feel these characters are so deserving of, and it definitely succeeds in building up to a promising climax.
These questions, however, remain largely and annoyingly unanswered. After one of the most interesting and largely personal themes that could be presented to an audience is built up to a hopefully satisfying climax, the film fails to deliver. Instead, it leaves you with two further questions to ponder: is there going to be a sequel? And what on Earth just happened at the end? You even expect some amount of generous communication with the Engineers that you don't get. At times it feels a bit pointless, and somehow empty. However, this is the part where it doesn't matter that these questions aren't answered and it doesn't matter that it fails to deliver, because - and I quote - "Big things have small beginnings."
Prometheus explores a wide range of awesome and breath-taking environments, whilst at all times retaining that classic 'Alien' feel of claustrophobia, giving you an unparalleled sense of realism and scale. Perhaps its best scene is one that reflects this; five solid seconds of an awkward silence in the room as a shooting star passes from one side of the screen to the other. It is truly a beautiful moment. This shows Prometheus has spirit and soul. Prometheus has the very nature of a human down to a tee and despite feeling like only half of a film in being somewhat inconclusive; it lends itself nicely to the potential to be epically conclusive next time round.
'Prometheus' is a classic in its own right. It is epic, wondrous, sometimes repetitive and annoyingly inconclusive, sometimes it dances around more themes than it can handle, but it is a very cool film indeed. There are great things to come of this, I am sure, and that is reassuring. It may well end up being the case that 'Prometheus 2', for lack of a better title, is 'The Godfather Part II' to its 'The Godfather', or even its own 'The Dark Knight' to its 'Batman Begins'.
As previously stated, big things have small beginnings.
And that they do dear reader.
That they do.
- Review by Sean Olding