First ‘Prometheus’ Reviews Emerge Online

Published 2 years ago by , Updated March 9th, 2013 at 1:58 pm,

Prometheus Early Reviews First Prometheus Reviews Emerge Online

[UPDATE: More Prometheus Reviews Have Emerged Online. Scroll Down to Read Them.]

Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is not just one of the most anticipated movies of 2012 – it’s also one of the most mysterious.  We’ve heard all about how the film is prequel/spin-off of Scott’s famous sci-fi/horror film, Alien - though the exact details of that connection remain vague. But aside from the explanation of how Prometheus and Alien fit together, there is one question that the general moviegoing public wants an answer to: Is the film any good?

One critic has already posted his review of Prometheus online, giving us an initial impression of what we can expect. We’ve kept things SPOILER-FREE, but needles to say, if you’re trying to stay totally in the dark until you have a chance to see Prometheus for yourself, STOP READING NOW.

The review in question came from Justin Chang over at Variety, who may have jumped the designated embargo date, giving us a look into Prometheus before 20th Century Fox intended. As it stands, here are some RELATIVELY SPOILER-FREE snippets of what Mr. Chang had to say:

Landing in a parched-looking valley on an unfamiliar planet, the scientists venture into an underground cavern whose malevolent contents immediately bring “Alien” to mind, and it seems at first that “Prometheus” will follow a similar outline, as the crew unwisely decides to bring specimens back to the ship.

Yet a key difference between this film and its predecessor is one of volume. Incongruously backed by an orchestral surge of a score, the film conspicuously lacks the long, drawn-out silences and sense of menace in close quarters that made “Alien” so elegantly unnerving. Prometheus is one chatty vessel, populated by stock wise-guy types who spout tired one-liners when they’re not either cynically debunking or earnestly defending belief in a superior power… Scott and his production crew compensate to some degree with an intricate, immersive visual design that doesn’t skimp on futuristic eye-candy or prosthetic splatter.

Also providing flickers of engagement are the semi-provocative ideas embedded in Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof’s screenplay. The continual discussions of creation vs. creator, and the attitude of one toward the other, supply the film with a philosophical dimension that its straightforward space-opera template doesn’t have the bandwidth to fully explore… Still, the film contains the ideal embodiment of its sly existential paradox in David (Michael Fassbender), the man-made manservant whose soulfully soulless presence brings to mind both “A.I.” and “2001″; he’s like HAL 9000 with better cheekbones.

There is much more to the review, but it is admittedly filled with loads of MAJOR SPOILERS. Head over to Variety if you wish to read it.

UPDATE: Additional reviews pretty much fit in line with Variety‘s assessment:

THR: The buildup and arrival are the best part of the film, suggesting a sense of inquiry and genuine sort of thoughtfulness that promise a truly weighty slice of speculative fiction. Not that this territory hasn’t been amply mined in the past: In fact, the particulars of the ship’s interior design, visual projections, hibernating crew members, sports workout routines and Michael Fassbender‘s robot character as a sort of ambulatory HAL… are unavoidably reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Technically, Prometheus is magnificent. Shot in 3D but without the director taking the process into account in his conceptions or execution, the film absorbs and uses the process seamlessly. There is nary a false or phony note in the effects supervised by Richard Stammers, which build upon the outstanding production design by Arthur MaxDariusz Wolski‘s graceful and vivid cinematography synthesizes all the elements beautifully in a film that caters too much to imagined audience expectations when a little more adventurous thought might have taken it to some excitingly unsuspected destinations.

From Time Out London:

There’s plenty to recommend in ‘Prometheus’: the photography is pleasingly crisp and the design is stunning, nicely redolent of ‘Alien’ and its sequels. There is a small handful of truly bracing set pieces – one scene inside a medical pod is without doubt the most heart-poundingly memorable moment of the blockbuster season so far.

But its flaws are impossible to ignore. The script feels flat – a few pleasing nods to the original movies aside, the dialogue is lazy, while the plot, though crammed with striking concepts, simply fails to coalesce. After an enjoyable setup, the central act is baggy, confusing and, in places, slightly boring, while the climax has flash and fireworks but no real momentum… There’s no denying that ‘Prometheus’ will make for a perfectly entertaining night at the movies – but we were promised so much more.

Prometheus Reviews Preview First Prometheus Reviews Emerge Online

In case you have a hard time wrapping your head around all that, here is a SPOILER-FREE breakdown of the overall impression:

  • Prometheus is visually impressive.
  • It’s louder and more “busy” than Alien‘s quiet, stripped-down aesthetic.
  • The actors do a fair job in their roles.
  • Michael Fassbender’s David and Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw are standouts (surprise).
  • The script makes you think (a little bit) but leaves a lot open for a sequel to resolve.

Questions about the sheer level of tension and/or terror, or the specific connections (or lack thereof) to Alien remain just that… questions. On the whole it would seem (at least from this review) that Prometheus is neither a big disappointment nor a rousing success for Ridley Scott – instead it is something different (worse?): A middle of the road movie experience.

We’ll see if these initial impressions hold true for the general public, as Prometheus hits 3D theaters this week in the UK, and on June 8, 2012 in the US.

Check out the extended trailer for the film, below:

Source: Variety & The Hollywood Reporter

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TAGS: alien, prometheus

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  1. Jason and I are a little behind on watching this flick. But we are both going to see it, eventually.

    I often read the reviews here. There are some bang on ones and some hit and miss ones. But not everyone is the same.

    What is key for me, is: I do my best to not watch trailers. haha. They often film extra footage for trailers, or use footage that isn’t in the movie. There is nothing like being tricked like that. Walking into a movie with zero expectations is tough. But it has panned out a fair bit for us, over at we came the basement, with the style of movies we often review for our radio shows.

    When we see this movie, if the folks here at ScreenRant don’t mind, we can copy paste our review in the comment section. :)

    Hope you guys dig the movie as much as you hope to!

  2. Prometheus started with a great crisp backdrop of scenic water effects and a super human that appeared kind and intelligent, however 1 min into the movie you could see a much more darker side to this character. I enjoyed the script as it had more intrigue than the original Aliens. The horror, surprise and suspense was still gripping but the story line was far deeper in Prometheus. A few weak actors, but the David and the other actors made up for some of the motley crew.
    I am not a true fan of horror after seeing the last Aliens however this film kept me on the edge of my seat, anough gore and blood in the removal of an Alien foetus. Plenty of great special effects. I await the sequel so I can follow the good story line with anticipation . Can’t wait for next sequel, great movie, best this year.

  3. *Marginal spoilers alerty.*

    Best way to describe this is well filmed and watchable but very deflating of you are true Alien fan. There are multiple plot holes. How is the planet found, why is David fascinated with Elizabeth and reads her dreams, how does he operate alien computers, what exactly is Charlize Theron doing in this movie. And the huge mistake with the space jockey near the end.

    This is a movie which tries a chariot of the gods approach with religious undertones but fails. The characters are flat except for David and Elizabeth. Then ending is very poor. Single woman flies off to kick butt on the home world. Hmmmm.

    You do understand the idea – mainly because it is blatantly shoved down your throat yet so much more is poorly explained, straight from the masterful but ultimately inexplicable first scene.

  4. Prometheus is a must see.
    Repeat viewing recommended. :-)
    I loved it.

    • Justin at Variety has issues, because, as Ridley says, this movie “lives in its own universe,” so of course the differences between Prometheus and Alien are correct – The continuity gaps that the reviewers pull at – (the infamous Giger ‘Space Jockey’) – will increasingly spotlight their own lack of imagination. I found the film spectacular Sci-fi, and saw it 3 times (once in 3D) over 2 days. For me (*SPOILER ALERT*):

      The violently sexual attacks by the aliens in this film suggest Ripley’s British buggery beyond the bravura thespianism by Noomi & Fassbendy;
      The tech is spec-tech-ular , for a future in our universe;

      The more philosophical themes were indeed a bit ‘flan’, but whether to accommodate the general public’s lack of facility in this era, or to leave open the doors to a quintillogy (or “infinitillogy!” – Scott is NO one’s fool, as the back-end participation would be obscene – much like the excess American profiteering being flaunted by current corporate elites – in this aspect, Scott’s prescience is spot on with Theron’s character)

      So in the final analysis, Prometheus will delight visually; the underscore has a main theme that may haunt you; the questions left unanswered may hopefully inspire some of our race (unfortunately, not enough to actually get there). Scott’s biggest flaw is in the economics of this journey. His ‘luxury yacht’/research starship will not be available at the end of the 21st century for $1 trillion dollars. But oh, “Make It So, Number One”! (Oops! Wrong Universe…)

      I believe in God, but I define it much like those who see Phi Tori at the heart of it all. Scott does the impossible task of proposing a definition of our God (who may be simply more scientifically adroit ‘bio-engineers’), and only fails to answer that impossible question to Justin at Variety. What did you expect?

      ∞=42?

      I could go on (and hopefully, I will go on – through eternity..) Unfortunately, Peter Weyland won’t. And Justin wants to know Why not? (I figured that part out for myself.)

      Weyland wasn’t a Believer.

      I hope Riddles has started working on a sequel, as I’d like to get as much of Ridley Scott’s thinking on film as possible, before he, too, meets his maker (rather, ‘Our’ maker). And I’m enthralled that he pulled off this inspirationally epic sci-fi masterpiece. Like ‘Blade Runner’ was in its day, ‘Prometheus’ should become a similar landmark for this artist, indicating his evolution of style, mastery in his medium, a unique voice and groundbreaking ideas. The man deserves an Academy Award with this one.

      Now we wait to see what James Cameron delivers with Avatars 2 & 3 (good luck with those. Anyone can relate to the troubles of a purple eleven-foot-tall, native American-like-with-a-tail), whilst I try to find time to propose some ideas at taking Elizabeth and David through the heavens.
      While the perverse greed exploited through consumer capitalism ravages our resources, and petty materialists govern, our planet is being pillaged, and our future is being stolen. There will be no Research Expeditionary Vessels darting through the universe at warp speed in this century, (or the next), except, perhaps in our imaginations. And I envy (not worship) the species that achieves this great conquest of physics and engineering. Are they truly Gods? Demigods? Angels (or Demons)? Or are they just great engineers? Will they, too, be forced to follow the law of the jungle, so that only the strongest survive? God, I hope not! For that vision, go see ‘Prometheus’! Then go see it in 3D. (and get off yer arse, and do something good for the planet, so that we’ll be around long enough to become that which we seek – The Answer! (And no, sorry Douglas, it isn’t 42. Just then, I hear a voice, which says “what is six times seven equal to?”..). I keep looking.

  5. Spectacular art direction, production values and visual effects aside, this film was unconvincing simply because it’s characters behaved in such utterly foolish and inexplicable ways. You expect me to believe that a spaceship filled with highly educated and trained scientists, pilots, geologists and astronauts would make such reckless decisions and act in such juvenile ways? The story was more like a group of naive teenagers from Nightmare on Elm Street launched into space. I didn’t believe a moment of any of it. The script was preposterous.