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Movie Review: Prometheus (2012)

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Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is a bold film that sends its characters on a journey to find truth, only to leave them with as many questions as they have answers. This is one of the best science fiction films in modern memory, and it will leave you feeling completely mesmerized from beginning to end.

Prometheus is a Ridley Scott film, so it’s no surprise that it looks absolutely incredible. The visuals are dark, haunting, and truly original. This is the best looking movie I have seen this year, and it may very well be one of the best looking science fiction films of all time. 

If you’re looking for scares, you will still find a lot of great horror moments in Prometheus, many of which will bring back memories of the original Alien (1979). One scene in particular, involving an emergency extraction surgery, is the modern equivalent of the famous chest burst scene that shocked audiences more than 30 years ago.

It’s difficult not to mention Alien when talking about Prometheus, mostly because Scott constantly makes rather heavy-handed references to his sci-fi classic. Some of the tie-in scenes force Prometheus into the shadow of Alien which is quite unfortunate, especially considering that Prometheus has its own self-contained plot.

The story here is quite good. Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) finds artifacts on Earth that hint at extraterrestrial answers to the origins of human life. The spaceship Prometheus sets out to find the truth; however, once they reach their destination, everything goes terribly wrong, and the crew finds themselves battling for survival against hideous alien creatures.

Sadly, most of the crew is one-dimensional and uninteresting, with the exception of the ship’s brilliant android, David, played by Michael Fassbender. The performance of Fassbender is absolutely excellent, making him a strong contender for best male actor in a leading role.

Despite the complaints I have with the characters, Prometheus is still an intelligent sci-fi film with a lot of depth. While this isn’t the best film in the genre from director Ridely Scott, it’s still an excellent addition to his legacy that will be held in high regard for years to come.

I’m happy to say that Prometheus is one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Rather you’re in the mood for some bloody thrills or brainy science fiction, this movie has the perfect blend of both. Prometheus is an incredibly well-made film that may not quite meet its own philosophical aspirations, but it will still stay on your mind long after you leave the theatre.

3.5 Stars


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About Chad Michael Van Alstin

Chad is an award-winning libertarian opinion columnist. He's done with that now. Having earned himself a B.A. in Mass Communication, Chad now spends most of his time as a wage laborer, killing the pain by consuming as many video games and movies as possible. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadVanAlstin
  • al

    It was a terrible movie. Ridley Scott basically pulled a George Lucas. Visually stunning. Take it all away and you’re left with what on earth did I just watch. So many plot holes where even if you put your brain on neutral it’s still bad, they really need to stop beating the same franchises to death over and over again. I’ve never seen a more incompetent group of scientists in my life, you really could not care less about the characters, they’re all typical horror movie ones that do really dumb things to get themselves killed (and deservedly so). Acting wise, only noomie rapace was all right. As for Michael Fassbender, its not hard to play an android, anyone can. As for the story, its nothing original, the movie is basically a high budget dramatisation of history channel’s ancient aliens. Magic black goo is a poor plot device and could come straight out of a harry potter movie. There was no genetic consistency either. How do we go from space cobras of death, zombies, noomie having the squid/facehugger, then to an alien from the Enginner thats not even THE alien. In my opinion, pretty bad film

  • I really can’t agree at all, especially on the performance of Michael Fassbender. To say that he’s just playing an android (and I don’t know why that would be easy) isn’t fair at all. His lines are full of subtly — David is a very compelling character.

  • Brooklyn Based

    I thought the film was visually stunning, but fell short of continuity of plot as al mentioned. I wanted the film to be longer so the genetic link between the creatures could be explored… were they all weapons that went astray? How did the egg pods turn from stylized and totem like in this film to gooey and egg like in Alien, I have to suppose accelerated mutation as the unexplored answer, but I wanted them to at least start me on the path to that. The squid extraction was great its giant squid adult form was great, and ties it to life on earth well ,but i wanted more, was that first alien that popped out of the engineer a cousin precursor to our dinosaurs a planted branch on earth that did not evolve to be alien? the long pointed skull seemed to hint at that…. as opposed to the more ovoid exoskeleton of the alien we know. The genetic trail was very confusing to me ,but I don’t hate it for that I wanted it to be better that’s all, and I know they will probably follow this up with another movie ……
    Acting wise, the characters were a bit flat apart from Fassbender, I liked everything about him, his Lawrence of Arabia coolness and detachment. I thought Charlize Theron’s character would have suited an actress like Carrie Ann Moss…. steely but darker, thought Theron was too pretty and needed to be slightly more dimensional to stand away from Fassbender’s android …. Noomi Rapace was very good,the other doctors and technicians were all expendable, didn’t understand how the guy with the red hair suddenly became super human and 10 feet tall, is that what happens when the sludge cobra gets you?,I felt the majority of the other characters had no brains,were unevolved and too emotionally unstable with few social skills to be taken on such an expensive one off journey… In Alien the characters were raw but they weren’t trained academics as this crew was supposed to be..yep like al I was hoping for their painful demise….
    I still love the art direction and the visual of this film, and even though CGI is common place these days the taste level of CGI is something you have to get right in order to amaze and this achieved that admirably.
    i’ll see it again just to be sure……

  • al

    I may have been a bit rash on Fassbender’s performance, but I still believe Prometheus was a an overhyped turd of a movie. Let me put it this way. They went into gruesome detail for a self administered pre xenomorph uber facehugger abortion. I mean… sick…discovery channel level detail. But right when we find the aliens who (In this universe) created us…They break out the cross and make the aliens look stupid. But, if you love beautifully shot movies that are riddled with so many plot holes (engineer – human DNA match? Genetic inconsistencies?) and sloppy writing that you’d think someone took a Mini Gun to it, then by all means…enjoy it.

  • I didn’t have any problem following the plot — there really aren’t any holes in the story. A movie doesn’t have to answer all questions. That being said, I do agree that the characters could have used some development.

  • They say “In space no one can hear you scream.” Unfortunately, I couldn’t hear anyone screaming in the theater, either, as I watched this visually arresting sci-fi odyssey, which ultimately failed to engage in such a way as to realize its true potential.

  • Rosie

    Ridley Scott did not pull a George Lucas. The STAR WARS Prequel Trilogy was twenty times better than “PROMETHEUS”.

    Let’s be frank . . . shall we? “PROMETHEUS” is basically a mediocre to solid, sci-fi horror movie that is obviously a prequel to 1979’s “ALIEN”.

    By the way, there’s going to be a sequel to this thing? Why bother? Why not simply watch “ALIEN”?

  • I agree with most of the comments here. I don’t think this film will be highly regarded in the future. I think it will more likely be forgotten or maybe a footnote in the Alien legacy.

    I liked Fassbender. I don’t think David was a great character. I don’t think any of the characters were great. I liked the captain, but he wasn’t an important enough part of the story. I also liked Vickers. I didn’t care for Shaw. I don’t think Shaw will be remembered as a great movie character and that will hurt the movie’s legacy in the long run (along with the other problems the film has).