There was a flurry of excitement in the Media Measurement office at the end of last week when a prop from Ridley Scott’s new film Prometheus appeared by our offices in Covent Garden. Just for fun, as we ease ourselves back into work after a four day weekend for the Royal Jubilee, our commissioning editor Josh Darlington reviews the film.
Sumptuous scenes of science fiction are spoilt by thematic and character congestion in Ridley Scott’s blockbuster Prometheus.
Compensating for indulgent beginnings, far too much is attempted in the late of the film. It poses philosophical questions on human origin, creation, death, the afterlife, extra-terrestrials, the meaning of life, knowledge, evolution, the soul and robots, but fails to treat any topic in a meaningful, entertaining or absorbing way.
The speed at which the narrative sets itself up to discuss these concepts unravels a measured tension and intrigue, created earlier by the spectacle of futuristic technology and cavernous alien settings.
These over-zealous ambitions end up embarrassing the film as its philosophical preoccupation side-lines the story. The lack of tight focus results in plot holes and narrative leaps, some of which appear to have been created by a heavy editing process – presumably removing further hurried postulations.
In one scene you would be forgiven for thinking the captain of spaceship Prometheus, played by Idris Elba, has developed clairvoyance. With the script meandering, he inexplicably gives a full but succinct account of exactly what the ancestors of human life were doing on the planet the cast have travelled two years to visit.
Unfortunately Elba, who is an accomplished actor, forms part of an ensemble of superfluous characters – who seem to have been fleshed out at random. For example, we’re asked to suddenly care about two crew members of Prometheus, who underwhelmingly sacrifice themselves to save Earth at the climax of the film, after they’ve had a mere handful of lines.
Although it might run the risk of being too closely compared to Alien, a generally more claustrophobic treatment (limiting both themes and characters) would have greatly improved the dramatic tension throughout.
Ridley Scott has been eager to down-play the film’s link with his 1979 horror masterpiece, despite Prometheus benefiting hugely from the association. He has claimed the movie is not a prequel, however it ends with an unmistakeable reference to that story. As the last shot of the movie, it leaves a bitter taste – a commercially contrived decision to elevate an otherwise mediocre film by coupling it with a landmark franchise.
We crowd-sourced a few pictures and opinions from our London neighbours via Twitter for their thoughts on the film. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.