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Not sure what it wants to be
on 27 January 2013
I'm a huge sci-fi fan and we've tended to be on the back burner for some time with decent new films of this genre.
So getting stuck into the film it's certainly not bad by any means, but it's confused and rather than take a clearly defined "real Alien" prequel it merely skirts around the edges unsure if it's a new film or a re-treading pre Alien.
There are undeniable nods to Alien, from the actual seemingly abandoned "Alien ship", right down to the Aliens themselves which are very close to the ones you find in the original Alien film (ie the long dead ones which were wiped out by the well known Aliens)...clearly intended on the Director's part. But it stops short of being the prequel it should have been, and leaves more questions than it does answers.
Visuals are excellent as you would expect from a modern sci-fi with the power of up to date computers and talented CGI artists you won't be left wanting here.
Cast is overall quite good with Michael Fassbender taking the part of the android "David" and probably the best performance of the film. Charlize Theron stunning as ever, and decent acting but probably not quite the role I would have picked for her. Noomi Rapace, not a well known actress but does quite well with what she has role wise (I would have picked Charlize for her role). Few other cast members really stand out though, but that's not the real issue of the movie.
If Avatar was all CGI and not much story (which in my view it was, great visuals but predictable corny story/plot) Prometheus is a bit of a let down in it's conclusion, it doesn't deal with the questions you want, it fails to be the full blown no messing around prequel it should be. The ending clearly leaves things open for sequels which one hopes explains things (can we smell cash cow?). But as a stand alone movie you will probably be a little let down in the overall package.
It's great to see Ridley Scott back in the Director's chair, I only wish he'd have had the guts to do a proper prequel rather than too many nods and winks to Alien, but never taking the risk to really push the genre a bit more. The plot is decent enough (but with some padding in places) despite the lack of conclusions (it's at least more interesting than Avatar) Scott is famed for the original (and probably the best) of the Alien series (only Alien and Aliens were worthy IMO), and Bladerunner another cult classic. This doesn't live up to either movie either in tension or story, or dare I say cast (both films had superb casts this one merely decent), despite the stunning visuals it can't match the moody atmosphere of Bladerunner, not build the tension as well as Alien managed.
Overall I can't say it's a 2 star movie (clearly it's not awful or bad), but it's not really up to more than an "ok" 3 stars overall. I did quite enjoy the film the first viewing, but felt little incentive to watch it again. I can't hide my disappointment with the ending which explains little and merely leaves the door open to numerous sequels.
Had Scott sat down and done a full blown no fluffing around "Alien Prequel" this could have worked very well, esp since there is much to work with material wise, but we want answers and a proper prequel not a half way house! As it is it's not likely to satisfy Alien fans (and I'm one of them), and it's not departed from that title enough to stand on it's own as a (non Alien prequel) Worth a watch no question, but this isn't going to find a place in the sci-fi classic collection.