October 22, 2012

Something stirred, something Alien…



This weekend I watched Prometheus on Blu-ray disc. Twice in quick succession - unprecedented for me - in an effort to collate my thoughts into something remotely coherent. Artistic ambition has returned to the Alien franchise on an epic scale.

I wholeheartedly agree with John Rivers' excellent review! For all its precarious narrative flaws. Prometheus remains utterly enthralling: a compelling collusion of cerebral and visceral thrills.

The Engineer (AKA Space Jockey) as alien Adonis taps into the mythological underpinnings (a reprise of Star Trek V with 2001: A Space Odyssey aspirations) wrapped around amorphous Alien DNA. I won't go into story specifics per se. But, was delighted to see some of the mysteries surrounding the derelict spacecraft (Alien) answered in a way that, selfishly, satiated my college conjectures. Dark Horse comics for the win.

Damon Lindelof's (co-creator of Lost) pedigree for episodic television is unimpeachable. Yet, here there are too many characters for a two-hour multiplex pleaser. Cut out the Ensign Red contingency and you're left with a nuanced performance from Noomi Rapace, an ice maiden personified in Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender's scene stealing android. Frankly, Fassbender delivers one of the best acting performances in recent years. David's enigmatic introduction is director Ridley Scott's love-letter to silent filmmaking.

The ending is, arguably, anticlimactic when viewed in the context of a standalone film (a criticism that could be levelled at The Empire Strikes Back)! There's a nagging sense of a work-in-progress rushed to meet a studio-imposed summer deadline and the commercial necessity for a sequel. Presumably Prometheus will be followed by the search for Paradise? Make it so, Sir Ridley Scott.

It would be remiss of me, as a self-confessed Whovian, not to mention Dr Liz Shaw (Noomi Rapace)! Surely a Doctor Who in-joke and not coincidence?

From a technical standpoint. The Blu-ray disc is reference material and will reveal any weaknesses inherent in your home cinema setup. Therefore, it maybe worth digging out that old copy of Digital Video Essentials (DVE) on DVD before you can fully appreciate the deep focus photography captured using Carl Zeiss lenses.

Blu-ray disc with thanks @petehotchkiss.