It appears that much of the highly anticipated films of 2012 all belong to an existing franchise, if not a reboot or remake (The Avengers, Dark Knight Rises, 21 Jump Street, The Hobbit, The Amazing Spider-Man, Men In Black III – to name a few) and so we must address just how these films stand beside the already rooted successes of their prototypes. However, the greater supplements and sequels, often push their forerunners so far back in the viewers mind that they emerge completely independent of them and develop a wholeness that casts the previous into a mere echo of its newer, greater form (Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and The Dark Knight are notable examples). Is Prometheus one of these fine works? Does it steal fire from the gods that created it? Not really.
Prometheus looks incredible and is a 3D experience that will not make you nauseous or anxious because your eyes are darting around erratically to synchronise the foreground and background – though it is largely a horror film so nausea and anxiety may occur anyway. The immense clarity of the picture is arresting in the first scene, until the poor writing comes along and unnecessarily complicates things. The sound design and score are likewise stirring but nothing that you didn’t already sample in the trailers.
The extra-terrestrials, in the H. R. Giger tradition (though the Swiss surrealist was not directly involved), offer both an explicitly vaginal AND scrotal beast – finally men and women can be equally credited in the horror genre’s fixation with sexual disgust. The most frightening, claustrophobic scene occurs inside a machine designed to perform surgery without human aid – let the procedure be a horrifying surprise – the concept is almost worthy of Cronenberg and is fantastically gross.
Hype over Michael Fassbender’s turn as an android is not exaggerated. It is a performance that may cement for some the theory that he is actually a cyborg, as he does appear too good to be human in most performances. Director Ridley Scott recently expressed a wish for stronger female roles in films but Charlize Theron’s ambitious Vickers is just a man in a woman suit and feminine strength should not be measured in masculine faults. Dr Elizabeth Shaw (The Millennium Trilogy’s Noomi Rapace), despite some very tactical survival skills, is just a little ridiculous with her far-fetched mutual belief in genetic science AND Jesus. Christ, its 2093. Anyone would have preferred more time with Idris Elba’s cigar-puffing, space cowboy or Fassbender’s perturbing robot over these two poorly written creatures.
Prometheus will be released theatrically on June 7 through 20th Century Fox.