Prometheus Blu-ray Review
It’s hard for a director to revisit a franchise after being away from it for over 20 years. George Lucas found that out with Star Wars, Steven Spielberg learned the lesson with Indiana Jones and Ridley Scott learned the lesson with Alien. When you couple that with outrageous fan expectations, the odds were stacked against PROMETHEUS from the beginning. However, even if PROMETHEUS doesn’t fit in tone with ALIEN, it’s still a quality science fiction film with plenty of positives, regardless of how you compare it to the original film.
In a pre-ALIEN time, a team of explorers discover a series of mysterious paintings across several continents on earth that all seem to be pointing towards a specific solar system. Determined that the paintings hold the clue to the true meaning of life, the scientists team up with a wealthy businessman who finances an exploration to the new solar system on board a ship called the Prometheus. It doesn’t take long for the scientists to realize that the new planet is not intended to be friendly.
Much has been made about the questions PROMETHEUS raises with some complaining that it poses more questions than it answers. Fox even used that as part of their marketing campaign for the Blu-ray release, promising that “questions will be answered”. Perhaps the very idea of focusing on a team of explorers trying to solve the meaning of life was too lofty of a target for Scott. ALIEN was great because it was intense, yet simple. Everything about PROMETHEUS seems large, from the idea to the massive sets to the special effects. When you go out and try to solve the meaning of life, no answer is going to be sufficient. Adding in a story of “engineers” and not fully vetting the story out leaves a lot of us scratching our head to try and figure out what the message was supposed to be. When Scott got away from that ambitious storyline, he was able to create some intense moments. The vision of Dr. Shaw (Noomi Rapace) performing a c-section on herself was both terrifying and disturbing, which is what we want from a Ridley Scott directed Alien film. The science-fiction elements of PROMETHEUS worked exceptionally well, but the theological elements fell a little short. That said, I didn’t feel that the film promised anything and it provided enough answers to make the additional questions understandable.
Even if the basic storyline and message seemed convoluted, there were several really great aspects of PROMETHEUS. Over the years, Scott has gotten better at getting the most out of his actors and every cast member did very well with their roles. The highlight, of course, was Michael Fassbender, who did another masterful job playing the android David. He was captivating on screen, which was both a positive and a negative for the film since the scenes with him were great and the scenes without him were spent waiting to get back to him. I also enjoyed Noomi Rapace’s Dr. Shaw and even though she didn’t get enough opportunities, Rapace did great with what she was given.
As a standalone science-fiction film, PROMETHEUS works very well. It has more than enough impressive moments and plenty of intensity. As for the deeper meaning, the team of scientists is trying to figure out the meaning of life, so it’s not like that’s going to be answered with a simple “42”. And I liked how it ended; promising sequels, or at the very least, an open conclusion that fans can write themselves. If you resist the urge to compare PROMETHEUS to ALIEN, I think you’ll be pleased with the film.
Video: PROMETHEUS features a near perfect video transfer, displaying some of the sharpest black levels I’ve seen on a Blu-ray. This is a pristine transfer.
Audio: As if the video transfer wasn’t enough, PROMETHEUS features an equally impressive audio track.
Commentary with Ridley Scott: Scott is one of the few must-listen-to director commentaries and he doesn’t disappoint here. He spends most of his time talking about the technical aspects of PROMETHEUS and kind of avoids the backlash the film received.
Commentary with John Spaihts and Damon Lindelof: I was shocked when these two writers teamed up for a commentary since Lindelof was brought in to “fix” Spaihts’ original script for PROMETHEUS. But as it turns out, these are actually two separate tracks kind of spliced together, so there’s no drama. It’s still a good track, with the two offering great insights into the story of PROMETHEUS.
Deleted/Alternate Scenes (36:41): Most of these deleted scenes from PROMETHEUS are transitional scenes or character developing moments, but there is one highlight towards the end where the engineer speaks to David. I felt that the lack of dialogue from the engineers might have been one of the weakest aspects of the film and this doesn’t change that, but it at least gives us more than what we got in the final version of PROMETHEUS. If you’re going to only watch a few of the 14 scenes, I highly recommend the last 3, since they feature more of the engineers, which might help you understand PROMETHEUS a little better.
The Peter Weyland Files (18:54): There are four chapters, consisting of promo videos that shed more light on PROMETHEUS and tie it back to ALIEN a little better.