Do I even have to say, “spoiler alert”? Well, just in case, SPOILER ALERT!
We’re diving into Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel, Prometheus (2012). While Alien is a trailblazing classic, I believe that Prometheus ties in very nicely with the franchise. It keeps the dark and cloudy themes while introducing some lighter shades and new dynamics that haven’t been seen in the universe before. This movie is filled with brilliant cinematography, a spot-on, thrilling structure and overall flows very nicely with some small speed bumps here and there.
The cinematography was simply great. The opening sequences of the movie follows a beautiful landscape of mountains, plains and lakes that we, as the audience, can assume are that of another world, believably so! The cinematographer, Dariusz Wolski really set the tone of the entire film. With his shots, he opened up the audience to a theme of endlessness. With the amount of space travel in this movie, there needs to be a somewhat feeling of infiniteness, which was accomplished right out of the gate. I always feel that the Earth and its wonders can be the best way for humans to truly feel small. So for this picture to open up with shots of beautiful mountains and such, it lets the audience know that the universe we are about to enter is infinitely larger than any singular human or spaceship. This actually takes us to the point of one of my favorite shots of Prometheus, which is when the ship is flying over a newly discovered planet, but the shot itself is so simple: a bird’s-eye the ship effortlessly floating and covering ground. However, with the setup of the frame, the ship looks so small compared to the environment it is traveling through. This is quite nice when juxtaposed with the other shots in the film when the crewmembers are standing next to the ginormous ship. Again, this brings to scale how large the Prometheus universe is compared to the inhabitants.
Plain and simple, for me, when a movie has lots of potential victims, it makes it better. For instance, I think some films miss the mark with how many leading and supporting characters they have. For instance, Prometheus tells us in the very beginning of the story that there are seventeen people aboard the ship, which is pretty much spot on in terms of numbers. It gave them a chance to develop a core group of main characters, while also having other expendable personnel. Yes, there is always the argument that with too many characters a script can have difficulty in the actual character development, but I believe that as long as a production focuses on a select group primarily, they can still maintain the value of the that inner circle. That’s a huge obstacle with having so many faces, is how does a film give enough value to all the characters so that after they’re offed the audience actually cares. As I said above, the film needs to create value in a select few and branch out from there.
So let’s talk values for a second. One of the lead characters in this movie is Charlie. If Charlie dies, the audience will obviously care because, in theory, we’ve grown attached to him. Then we have Ford who is a supporting character. If she dies, it’s kind of like, “okay, well that sucks because we had enough face time to get a feeling for her.” Finally, there is Mercenaries (1-4). They’re all pretty much there to be thrown around and set on fire. However, with this movie we have to remember that there are only seventeen people. So even if Mercenary 1 dies, it still has some impact. Therefore, for every Charlie that dies, we need at least one Ford and maybe one or two mercenaries. Luckily, the writers of Prometheus seemed familiar with this formula because they kill off their characters with balance. As a final note on this, when a film hits the sweet spot with quantity of characters, it gives the film a bit more longevity. Because there are multiple characters ranging from low to high-value, the death sequences can be frequent and split up throughout the picture. When a movie only has three or four characters, rarely have I seen two or three of them die in one moment. With that being said, there is that one moment in Prometheus where a zombie of sorts comes out of nowhere and absolutely obliterates three mercenaries; perfect number right there, three low-value characters for one kickass action sequence.
HOLD UP! You know I need to talk about the exposition in this one. Honestly, not bad placement on their part. The exposition came into play at the right points in time and weren’t too foretelling. Sometimes when you hear a bit of information in a film, it can be a bit obvious that that info will come into play later on. With Prometheus, the information they give eliminates most pesky questions that an audience member might have when trying to be picky about different cinematic details. Also, the information they give simply needs to be presented. It adds to the realness of the film and doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.
Overall, Prometheus is quite an enjoyable and solid watch. There are a few small and unanswered questions, but we don’t really need those answers to be honest. There is quite a lot that Scott fits in this movie so for the most part it’s not super deep with intense dramatic moments, even though several actors get their time to shine at different points in the film. The action sequences are built with creative CGI and stunt-work so being entertained will not be a problem!
Date movie: Yes! Definitely. This can become quite a tense movie when it wants to be and sort of demands the attention of the audience. That being said, again there are a few small and unanswered questions so don’t you or your date become flustered if you feel like you missed something.