Okay, been out of the theatre for about half an hour, having sat through something I was almost ready for. After listening or reading or watching the many and varied reviews coming off the internet in the past 48 hours, I wasn't really sure what to expect, but what I got was pretty much what I was expecting before everyone got their bees in a bonnet. Unlike Kermode, I was fully armed and ready with my teasers and my virals all under my belt, ready for anything that Scott had to throw at me. I had been waiting for this and not since the six or seven year wait for Avatar had I anticipated a movie to such an extent.
It's been too long, frankly, since we've had an honest to goodness sci-fi epic to get in a lather about. Only a few months ago I was lambasting the movie industry for not giving us something exactly like what we've seen tonight. Big science fiction with huge ideas and a philosophy that matches the science step for step.
If anyone was going to deliver the kind of quality sci-fi that us geeks have been crying out for, then Ridley Scott has got to be the man. I mean, he brought us Alien. He brought us Blade Runner. Surely the man can do no wrong. Well judging by some of the early reactions today and yesterday, it seemed Scott could do wrong, and had done. Quite a bit, in fact. Scott may be responsible for some of the greatest cinematic science fiction landmarks in history, but could he really do it again?
That initial knee-jerk reaction to Prometheus may have been, well... a little (if you'll pardon the pun) premature. The naysayers out there that will tell you that this is not up to standard, or that Scott has bottled out of telling the story that the audience wanted to see is a load of old cobblers, really. The balls-out truth of the matter is that this film is not an Alien prequel that you would expect. This has pissed off a section of the professional media to such an extent that they have failed to see beyond what they are not getting for the actual thing they have been offered.
The acting performances are brilliant, though not rounded enough to call them complete. The character arcs are not fully formed in most cases and the criticism levelled at Scott for not developing the characters fully is justified. As such, when they are picked off, the audience cannot really feel for many of them. This is a trait that the many Alien and Predator sequel abortions were guilty of and is something I am surprised to find Scott allowing to happen. Given the lacklustre quality of most sci-fi we have been forced to live with since Scott last decided to weigh in, this is only going to come as a disappointment to those that dreamt of lining up Prometheus on their Blu-Ray collection.
This is not thirty years ago, but this is as close as you are going to get to it. In the days when Wagon Wheels were bigger, the horror of when no-one could hear you scream was more visceral. It's just not like the good old days? Well yes it is. It hasn't changed, you have. I watched the film with my thirteen-year-old son who raved about the film all the way home and whilst I have to say I wasn't any near as impressed as he was, I still appreciate that my hands in 2012 may be making the same Wagon Wheel seem smaller today than it did thirty years ago. Your memory might just be playing tricks on you.
The cgi is impressive and the storyline...interesting. I was more impressed by this than I had expected to be. It also leaves the future enterprises of the franchise almost begging for attention and I seriously hope Scott has a plan in store for us and doesn't just bugger off and leave it to other as he has in the past.
By the end (which many have said disappointed them the most) you do feel you have been through the ringer. Two hours is not a long time to revel in Scott's abilities and he does grab you by the scruff of the neck and give you a bloody good shake on occasion. It's not as scary or as creepy as Alien, to be sure, but don't let that fool you. Let's not forget that Ridley Scott on a bad day is better than most on their best days and this is not his worst day by any stretch of the imagination. Just ask Russell Crowe.
I'm not going to regale you with the story or hint at plot devices as I am certain you will want to pore over these yourself. Suffice to say that I was greatly entertained by Scott's vision and was quite passionately in favour of the project by the end of the screening, albeit in part by my very enthusiastic son. If you loved Alien, then you will also like this alot. You won't love it like you did before, all those years ago. At least, not now. But give Scott a chance, he will win you over. Some people will baulk at the storyline going in a different direction than they expected, or flitting in a way that they didn't like or want it to, but tough. Scott knows what he is doing better than you ever will. So enjoy the master at work, you may not get another chance.