Prometheus Blu-ray Review: Does it answer all the questions?Posted 1:18 am on Tuesday, October 9th, 2012 by John 'Spartan' Nguyen
The version we reviewed is the Prometheus 2-Disc Blu-ray/DVD edition. Plenty of spoilers ahead, so beware.
This is one of those tough movies for me to review because I have a love/hate relationship with it. Prometheus is a movie that is technically a prequel to the Alien franchise, but doesn’t share the horror and suspense-style like its predecessor. That’s fine because I was very excited about the concept of explorers wanting to find out about the origin of mankind. Prepare to throw away evolution and God out the window. Yep, it was all Powder’s doing all along.
From the opening scene, we get a glimpse of how mankind started, via an Engineer drinking black goo. The Engineers are big, muscular, albino-looking dudes. The black goo the Engineer drinks dissolves his body into the ocean, thus creating life.
Fast forward to the future and archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Holloway find clues in a cave that points to a star system where the Engineers are from. Thanks to trillionaire (according to Ridley Scott’s commentary) Peter Weyland, he funds the whole expedition to LV-223 (different than the planet in Alien) with a diverse group of scientists on the Prometheus ship. The cast includes David (Michael Fassbender), an android created by Weyland Corp; Vickers (Charlize Theron), who represents Weyland Corp; Janek (Idris Elba), Prometheus’ pilot and the rest.
What Prometheus does wonderfully are the visuals, score, and sense of wonder. Both the visuals and score create that sense of wonder. We get some gorgeous shots of the different landscapes in the beginning, the Prometheus ship entering LV-223 and David activating the hologram inside the Engineers’ ship. The movie does have some interesting scenes including Shaw getting a cesarean and the whole eeriness of how the Engineers died on LV-223.
So what’s wrong with the film? My main issue is the power of the black goo. This shit does everything. I feel as if the writers took the easy way out by having the black goo do everything, thus making it easy for them to write such silly concepts. For example, the black goo can dissolve an Engineer and create mankind, turn alien worms into alien snakes, turn humans into superhuman mutants, infect a man’s semen that can create a squid facehugger inside a woman’s womb that can impregnate an Engineer and conceive a fully-grown xenomorph. Whew, try saying that three times fast.
Another issue I have with the movie are the questionable things the characters do, like the biologist trying to pet a dangerous-looking alien, Holloway taking off his helmet to breathe air, the geologist Fifield getting lost even though he mapped out the interior of the alien place via his “pups”, David testing the black goo on Holloway just to see what it does and Vickers running in a straight line as an alien ship slowly falls down on her.
In the end, the flaws really knocked the movie down. Other than that, I enjoyed the characters when they’re not doing stupid things (they sure do plenty), the special effects, the way they connected the Space Jockey with the Engineer, and Charlize Theron in a skin-tight space suit.
Video and Audio
The video is presented in 16:9 (2.40:1) and looks atmospheric and detailed, like when the Prometheus ship enters LV-223, the beauty of the nature shots in the beginning, the scene when David activates the hologram of the planets and pace in the Engineer’s cockpit room. The picture is sharp and clear throughout with nice details on the characters’ faces. The audio is presented in English DTS-HD-MA 7.1 and sounds superb. The surround sound really roars when the Prometheus ship flies into space and lands on the alien planet. The dialogue is clear, but when the action starts, get ready to be amazed.
This is the part where you’re wondering how it answers all the questions. So what are some of the questions? I’ll list them out below.
- Is the planet in the beginning Earth?
- Is the black goo that powerful?
- Why did David “contaminate” Holloway?
- Why is Millburn, the biologist, an idiot?
- Why doesn’t Vickers run sideways when the Engineer ship is about to fall down on her?
- How come the xenomorph looks different?
- Why does the Engineer hate humans?
The answer to these can be found by listening to Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof’s commentary, or by being very observant when watching the film. They do give their explanations, but it’s up to you whether you like them or not.
Lindelof stated that the planet was Earth, yet he also states that it’s up to our interpretation. Make up your damn mind already. He also mentions why Millburn is an idiot. There’s a deleted scene that shows Millburn excited when he sees a living thing. Just think of him as a stupid kid that wants to touch everything.
Lindelof explains why David puts the black goo in Holloways drink, and that is to see how it would affect him, since he’s trying to experiment whether that would help Peter Weyland’s goal of immortality. And why is Peter Weyland, a really old man, so intent on risking his life to seek immortality? Well, he’s already dying, and to stay back on Earth would eventually mean that he’d already be dead. So he embarks on a risky journey because, well, he has nothing to lose.
As for why the Engineers hate humans, David explains that to create something new, one must get rid of the old. That means that it’s really nothing personal, but the Engineers do things just because they can. Another reason for the Engineers hating humans is because they consider us as chimpanzees. Imagine if an ape gets smarter, would would we do? Try to capture and kill them. What, you didn’t watch Rise of the Planet of the Apes?
And the Xeonomorph at the end of the movie? They mention that it’s an alien queen. Is it the queen in the Alien films? We’re not sure, but the reason that Xenomorph looks different is because it came out of an Engineer compared to having it come out of a human.
The surgery machine that’s designed just for men is actually meant for Peter Weyland. There’s a reason why there are few of those expensive machines. When Vickers talks to David about whether everyone is alive when reaching the destination, she was referring to Peter Weyland.
I wish I can list more explanations, but this can go on forever.
In the commentary, I find it funny that Lindelof has confessed that he’s pretentious and knows people may hate him for butchering the Alien franchise, but at least he’s aware of it.
With commentary by Director/Producer Ridley Scott, commentary by Writer Jon Spaihts and Writer/Executive Producer Damon Lindelof, other extras include The Peter Weyland Files, Deleted and Alternate Scenes that include an Alternate Opening / Ending and the Prometheus – Weyland Corp Archive Second Screen App.
The movie has some questionable actions from its characters and the plot can be considered child’s play, but I still enjoy the visuals and the core theme of aliens engineering mankind. If you can let slide the many flaws in the movie, you’ll have a nice demo you can enjoy for your home theater system.
John “Spartan” Nguyen is the editor-in-chief at Nerd Reactor and is based in Orange County, CA. He is a graphic designer and illustrator.