Tag Archives: Prometheus

Prometheus: A step below greatness

Logan Marshall-Green, Noomi Rapace, and Michael Fassbender star in Prometheus. Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

It’s difficult not to become completely encapsulated in an epic horror/sci-fi the likes of Ridley Scott’s Alien from 1979. With the standards set from that film, any movie associated with it will be viewed under extreme scrutiny. Luckily, Prometheus separates itself from the original by focusing on the science and adds elements of horror to spice things up.

In Prometheus, a scientific discovery leads to a galactic exploration to find the origins of humanity. What they find when they reach their destination is nothing close to what they expected.

Ridley Scott, the once legendary director, has returned to where his major success had initialized with classics like Blade Runner. With the aid of writers Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindeloff, Scott takes us on a journey that explores man’s greatest mystery: Where do we come from? Both director and writers achieve an incredible level of thought provoking ideas and thrilling storytelling. However, they also left a lot of unexplored venues which will prevent this movie from reaching the stratospheric acclaim of its predecessor.

Casting for this movie hit an almost perfect score with an excellent ensemble of actors to portray the various archetypes. Michael Fassbender is yet again phenomenal in his role as the multi-layered, intriguing android. Alongside him, Noomi Rapace shows equal skill in manifesting her character’s emotions (very reminiscent of Sigourney Weaver in 1979). While the rest of the cast was great, Charlize Theron completely lacked everything that was required to make her performance memorable. Mind you, it is hard to be memorable when your character appeared to be tacked on haphazardly.

The cinematography is beautiful, but the musical score lacked atmosphere to really provide punch to crucial moments.

Scott’s use of the added 3rd dimension works phenomenally. The entire film viewed through 3D glasses delivered the most realistic “looking through a window” effect to date. Definitely worth the additional cost.

Bottom Line: No matter how great this film appears to be, the nagging flaws keep it from becoming an epic classic.

Grade B+

Runtime: 124 minutes
3D: Yes

Lockout: Not perfect, but fun

Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace star in the sci-fi action, LOCKOUT. Courtesy of Alliance Films

Science fiction films have brought eye opening ideas and experiences to movie goers for generations. Chances are these stories have probably made you ponder the possibility of a Utopian and/or apocalyptic future at some point or another. Along the darker lines, Lockout examines how we may handle our convicts in the not too distant future.

In the year 2079, convicted ex-government agent Snow (Guy Pearce) fights to clear his name and his freedom by venturing into space to rescue the U.S. President’s daughter who is being held hostage.

Guy Pearce (Prometheus, Memento) is too much fun in this role. His countless, hilarious one-liners add the perfect light-hearted touch to this adventure. Other notables include Maggie Grace (Taken), who shows a welcome maturity in her performance, and Joseph Gilgun (Harry Brown) as the psychotic, charismatic inmate.

The directing team of James Mather and Stephen St. Leger co-wrote the original screenplay with Luc Besson (Taken, The Fifth Element). Inexperience is present in their direction, but they got enough right to keep it enjoyable. It is because the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously that keeps the audience interested.

The special effects on the other hand…not so much. There’s a fair bit of CGI-heavy scenes throughout the movie, not all of which were necessary and some of which looked dreadful.

As a cinematic experience, this needs a lot of polishing, but there’s a solid amount of fun in there too.

Bottom Line: If you’re in the mood for an 80’s style action/sci fi, this movie will take you on the right ride.

Grade C+

Runtime: 95 minutes
3D: No

The Darkest Hour: Acting couldn’t save it

This sci-fi thriller is available on DVD April 3rd. Courtesy of eOne Films

Alien invasion movies are a dime a dozen, with most of them landing at the bottom of the trash pile. Even with an estimated budget of $30 million, The Darkest Hour gives off a strong smell of a “B” movie.

In this sci-fi action a strange race of aliens with electrical energy force-fields have destroyed most of the world’s population leaving a few survivors struggling to defeat them.

With a weak script and retro-worthy special effects (the aliens), there is no reason to expect very much from this movie. Not all is lost however.

What keeps this movie from being a total disaster are a couple of good performances from Emile Hirsch (Milk, Into the Wild) and Olivia Thirlby (Being Flynn, No Strings Attached). Both actors managed to keep every line of their dialogue convincing.

What is troubling about the script is that writer Jon Sphlaints has also worked on Prometheus, one of the highly anticipated films of 2012. We can only hope he shows more talent there than he did in The Darkest Hour.

For the DVD home release, there is a good set of special features for fans to enjoy. A short film Survivors gives a brief look at the continued battle against the aliens after the movie’s events. Visualizing an Invasion is an interesting featurette showing how the stunts and special effects came to life. There are also four deleted scenes and an extended scene that you can watch with commentary, as well as a full length commentary for the film.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking to get your money’s worth, stay away from this film.

DVD Release Date: April 3, 2012

Movie Grade C-
DVD Grade B-

Runtime: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.4:1