Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Video review: "Prometheus"
Narratively speaking "Prometheus," director Ridley Scott's long-awaited prequel to his seminal 1979 space/horror film "Alien," is one big mess. But it's still a worthy cinematic experience, a potpourri of Scott's flair for sumptuous visuals and sly, creepy mood-building.
Set some decades before Ripley and her gang encountered the black and spidery beasties, Scott and his screenwriters take us back to those same dangerous locales and unnerving themes. The protagonist is again a female, archaeologist Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), who thinks she's found an invitation from the creators of all life. It turns out to be more of a deathtrap, as the crew is slowly dwindled one by one.
Along for the ride is Charlize Theron as a hardcase representative of the profit-minded company financing the mission, the usual collection of disposable crewmates, and an android assistant named David (Michael Fassbender) who, like all of his ilk, turns out to be less helpful than his cheery nature might suggest.
Things really get strange when they discover a massive alien ship filled with vials of black goo, video records of an accident killing most of the crew, and a 10-foot-tall bald humanoid with a seriously bad attitude. At one point Elizabeth finds herself with an alien creature growing inside her, though in a different method than we've seen in the other movies, and has to submit herself to a horrifically invasive medical procedure to get it out.
The experience of watching this film is akin to wandering in a daze, as you find yourself constantly asking questions, and receiving responses that only provoke more questions. But even if the movie is on some levels unsatisfying, that's because it leaves you wanting more.
"Prometheus" is a real head-scratcher, a riddle of a movie that doesn't really care about finding any answers. The odd, discomfiting journey is its own reward.
Ridley Scott is (in)famous for releasing director's cuts of his movies, but if you want one you'll likely have to wait a few years. Although the video packages being released now contain about 15 minutes worth of deleted/extended scenes, including a new opening and ending, the theatrical version of "Prometheus" is all you'll get.
Interestingly, the film is only being released as a Blu-ray/DVD combination -- there isn't an option for a solo DVD.
The two-disc version comes nicely loaded with features, including two separate commentary tracks by the filmmakers and access (via tablet computer) to a database on the alien culture.
Spring for the four-disc collection, and you'll also receive all sorts of making-of goodies, including pre-visualization drawings and videos, behind-the-scenes peeks and more.
Movie: 3 stars out of four
Extras: 2.5 stars