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Early Reviews Say 'Prometheus' Impresses Visually, But Not All Agree The Movie Delivers

by Kevin Jagernauth
May 30, 2012 12:30 PM
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Prometheus Noomi Rapace

"Prometheus" has landed. The highly anticipated return to sci-fi by Ridley Scott and the quasi "Alien" prequel is opening in theaters overseas today, and the first reviews from the trades and a handful of papers have arrived. And for the most part it seems the wait has been worth it, while a few argue that while the spectacle on screen is impressive, the movie doesn't have the substance to back it up.

On the positive end of the spectrum, The Telegraph is ecstatic, saying the film is "majestic to look at in every way, and wild enough that many of the opening-night crowd -- this viewer included -- will be right back for seconds." Meanwhile, the London Evening Standard has run an early response in advance of a full review that sums up their feelings by calling it "a great ride back to 'Alien' territory as Ridley Scott triumphantly return to space." ScreenDaily is equally enthused saying that Scott hit the bullseye and "it is clear his striking sense of vision, drama and excitement fits perfectly with the genre and he has delivered a film that is already one of the most anticipated titles of the summer and should thrill, challenge and provoke audiences ready for his signature brand of intelligent and visceral film-making."

But not everyone agrees, with the trades in particular coming down a bit on the movie, wishing it had delivered even more. THR trumpets the technical achievements but says the "visually stunning return to science-fiction by Ridley Scott caters too much to audience expectations when more imaginative boldness would have taken it further."  Variety is even harsher, saying the movie "remains earthbound in narrative terms, forever hinting at the existence of a higher intelligence without evincing much of its own." 

But it's the Guardian that splits the difference between the positive and negative reviews, saying: "It is a muddled, intricate, spectacular film, but more or less in control of all its craziness and very watchable. It lacks the central killer punch of Alien; it doesn't have its satirical brilliance and its tough, rationalist attack on human agency and human guilt. But there's a driving narrative impulse, and, however silly, a kind of idealism, a sense that it's exciting to make contact with whatever's out there."

All this to say, we still can't wait to see it with our own eyeballs. "Prometheus" opens in the U.S. on June 8th.

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More: Prometheus, Ridley Scott

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  • Julian | May 30, 2012 3:49 PMReply

    I just saw the film and I have mixed feelings. As previously mentioned it is visually huge. The cast is pretty good, especially Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron, even if some characters make clear reference to others in the Alien franchise.

    The expectations were high concerning the story and I consider that the job is done correctly. That being said it raises more questions than it gives us answers. I would say it is a good prequel for the Alien mythology. But we want to know more about those "origins" of mankind and those "engineers" who remain quite mysterious.

    And there is something that do not match in the end or I do not get it. But I don't want to spoil anything.

  • Huffy | May 31, 2012 7:21 AM

    I'd agree with you but from the sounds of it Prometheus isn't a post-modern, ambiguous film that refuses to give easy answers. If Scott went full-on Kiyoshi Kurosawa I'd be all for it, but from the sound of it the actual film is too conventional and doesn't delve deep enough into it's own ponderings.

  • Christian | May 30, 2012 4:06 PM

    Wel, I'd much rather prefer a post-modern, ambiguous film that asks more questions than a film that spoonfeeds the audience with explicit answers and with no mystery. Great horror films are rarely that coherent or give definitive answers to the madness.

  • KitCon | May 30, 2012 1:37 PMReply

    OK, so maybe it's not the sci-fi masterpiece of the new millenium, still sounds good enough for me.

  • Adrien | May 30, 2012 1:14 PMReply

    The film is out here in France and yes, the film is visually huge but the screenplay is disappointing. Damon Lindelof did a horrible job but the film is still excellent.
    One more thing : I think that the film would have been better if Ridley Scott cut all the links with the Alien universe. In Prometheus, we don't really know who to see the film and my personal opinion is that if Scott chose to create a new mythology, Prometheus would have been better. (approximate english, sorry if there is any mistake)

  • carrie | May 30, 2012 2:20 PM

    i just saw the movie too(i live in France):it's Alien without Alien and Ripley.
    The story is basic (predictable) and a few confused but it's visually huge.
    I agree with you on it was able to be better without Alien links

  • Christian | May 30, 2012 1:03 PMReply

    Remember this is not a crowd-pleasing entertainment ride a la The Avengers; this is hard science fiction. I have a feeling the true fans of science fiction will get a kick out of it, but mainstream audiences won't be that thrilled about the film besides its jaw-dropping special effects.
    Also, sometimes you need to see films multiple times to absorb the themes. Remember 'Room 237' about The Shining. Let's see!

  • Yod | May 30, 2012 11:46 PM

    Who are you trying to convince? Leave the reviewing to those that have seen it.

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