Like many millions of people, this week I saw Ridley Scott's hugely anticipated Prometheus. Now, my knee-jerk reaction to the film as the lights were coming up was "Need to see that again". Having already been charged a fortune, however, that was not a possibility so here are my thoughts on the first viewing....
Two words: Fantastic experience. Honestly, that's how Prometheus can be summed up, but we'll return to that in a minute. Better explain the plot, don't fret if you have not had chance to catch the film yet, this review will contain no spoilers. It's the year 2089 and a team of explorers are searching for the origins of mankind on a distant planet, but what they find is not particularly nice. There, that's all the plot summary you need because the best way to go into Prometheus is exactly the same way those explorers arrived on that planet; excited, nervous and, above all, oblivious to what's ahead.
First things first, Michael Fassbender. He is proving himself to be the finest actor of his generation. His David - a robot, by the way - is a cold, calculating creation who is obsessed by the David Lean film Lawrence of Arabia. That movie's protagonist is fixated by that most difficult of questions "Who am I?". And Fassbender prooves very effective at conveying this same struggle within David over what he is; his end of the day conversations with Shaw are especially chilling "Doesn't everyone want to murder their parents?".
Scott has always been an impressive world builder and Prometheus is no exception to this rule. The original designs by H. R Giger have been used, of course, but Scott has shaped an entire planet around them. And the enormous sets on display ensure you believe in the world completely, although the 3D hinders this slightly. Its too dim by far, especially considering the darkness of Giger's designs.
When you consider how much of recent science fiction output has been action orientated - I'm looking at you, Lockout - it becomes apparent that Ridley's latest is a breath of fresh air. Prometheus dreams big, really big. Its querying who made us and why. Not an original question, I know, but the results it conjures from asking this question are thought provoking and awe-inspiring. This is what sci-fi - good sci-fi, anyway - needs to be doing.
There are, however, more issues than just poor 3D. The script seems hammy in places and some scenes are just baffling. One moment involving Charlize Theron and a squeezebox playing Idris Elba bears no relation to either character or plot. And, aside from David and Shaw, the crew are hard to really get behind. Elba and Theron seem underused and why in god's name did they cast Guy Pearce as a man who's ancient? He just looks absurd under what appears to be an entire bucket of make up.
But, despite feeling uneven, Prometheus remains a big, fat, spectacular science fiction experience. Who, with any justice, could have asked for more than that?