prometheus feat

Embargo blown. Nothing new. Variety and THR typically play with a disregard for rules that comes from decades of cavalier entitlement. I always feel like an enabler when posting things that “leak” but I think we know by now nothing much happens in Hollywood by accident. Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter enjoyed Prometheus a lot more than Justin Chang at Variety. Both agree that Prometheus is no Alien. Shock! It’s probably not a cure for cancer either.


Be careful what you wish for, especially if it involves figuring out who invented humankind. That’s the warning at the heart of Prometheus, a visual feast of a 3D sci-fi movie that has trouble combining its high-minded notions about the origins of the species and its Alien -based obligation to deliver oozy gross-out moments. Ridley Scott’s third venture into science-fiction, after Alien in 1979 and Blade Runner in 1982, won’t become a genre benchmark like those classics despite its equivalent seriousness and ambition, but it does supply enough visual spectacle, tense action and sticky, slithery monster attacks to hit the spot with thrill-seeking audiences worldwide…

Scott doubles his Alien pleasure with not just one but two strong female roles here. Rapace credibly expresses her character’s combined scientific and religious convictions… Blonded up, perfect of diction and elegant of body, Fassbender seems almost alarmingly neutered at first as the ship’s all-purpose valet but excels as he’s allowed to begin injecting droll comedy into his performance. As the captain, Elba has a few strong moments standing up to his “boss,” Theron, while the other actors are mostly cannon fodder…

Technically, Prometheus is magnificent. Shot in 3D but without the director taking the process into account in his conceptions or execution, the film absorbs and uses the process seamlessly. There is nary a false or phony note in the effects supervised by Richard Stammers, which build upon the outstanding production design by Arthur Max. Dariusz Wolski’s graceful and vivid cinematography synthesizes all the elements beautifully in a film that caters too much to imagined audience expectations when a little more adventurous thought might have taken it to some excitingly unsuspected destinations.

I’m pretty much just skimming past the middle parts of both these reviews because I don’t even want to dialogue quoted, much less read a condensed version of the plot. You know where to find more if your idea of fun is hearing about somebody else’s orgasm or their failure to achieve one. Variety’s review, after the cut, along with the most interesting of all the overnight reviews, from Mark Adams at ScreenDaily.


A mission to uncover the origins of human life yields familiar images of death and devastation in “Prometheus.” Elaborately conceived from a visual standpoint, Ridley Scott’s first sci-fier in the three decades since “Blade Runner” remains earthbound in narrative terms, forever hinting at the existence of a higher intelligence without evincing much of its own.

a key difference between this film and its predecessor is one of volume. Incongruously backed by an orchestral surge of a score, the film conspicuously lacks the long, drawn-out silences and sense of menace in close quarters that made “Alien” so elegantly unnerving. Prometheus is one chatty vessel, populated by stock wise-guy types who spout tired one-liners when they’re not either cynically debunking or earnestly defending belief in a superior power. The picture’s very structure serves to disperse rather than build tension, cross-cutting regularly between the underground chamber, where two geologists meet an ugly end, and the ship, where efforts to contain the threat are thwarted by the increasingly uncertain chain of command.

Scott and his production crew compensate to some degree with an intricate, immersive visual design that doesn’t skimp on futuristic eye-candy or prosthetic splatter… Also providing flickers of engagement are the semi-provocative ideas embedded in Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof’s screenplay. The continual discussions of creation vs. creator, and the attitude of one toward the other, supply the film with a philosophical dimension that its straightforward space-opera template doesn’t have the bandwidth to fully explore.


There were once plans to script a formal prequel to Alien, but the project evolved into Prometheus, which, while its climax offers tantalising answers in terms of the acid-for-blood alien creatures and the space craft they are first discovered in the original film, is very much a stand-alone film…albeit one that is very aware of the place it takes in the mythology of the Alien series of films.

Ridley Scott is a master when it comes to visualisation of the environment his stories are set against, and it is clear from the majestic opening scenes of Prometheus as his camera traverses an alien planet (in truth a blend of Icelandic vistas with more than a little CGI) and a magnificently muscled white skinned alien ingests something that causes him to melt away and genetically mix with the make-up of the world itself.

One thing that Prometheus isn’t is an Alien-clone. Alien – despite that it may feel slowly-paced set against current editing styles – was a film that embraced its horror-in-space format, and after a slow-burn set up and magnificent central gore moment as the mini-alien bursts from John Hurt’s chest settled into a brilliantly shot monster movie before Sigourney Weaver’s final memorable battle. While Prometheus has some striking chilling moments it never plays the all-out horror card, instead developing the science alongside the action and punctuating the film with moments that jolt and amaze.

…Alienfans will be on the look out for horror scenes that are variations on the theme of the ‘chest-buster’ or ‘face-hugger’ in the original film, and while in Prometheus things are never played for pure horror, there are some brilliantly staged scenes that will make audiences jump and squirm, and yes beasties do find their way into human bodies in nasty ways…and want to make their way out in an equally unpleasant manner.

The effects are brilliantly woven into Scott’s film, with cinematographer Dariusz Wolksi delivering some beautiful moments (the 3D is also very easy on the eye, and never too dark), while the production design from Arthur Max and Janty Yates’s costumes help give the film that real sense of a sci-fi epic. A Ridley Scott film is always perfectly shot, intelligently edited and easy on the eye, and Prometheus is no different.

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  • Exactly what I expected.

  • mikhail

    Les Miserables – Official Trailer

  • PaulH

    My opinion on embargoes; if you’ve got a sure-fire hit, screen it for critics at a certain point like 8 days out or so if a studio decides to restrict reviews until release day, perhaps, that tells me of possible trouble.

  • steve50

    I’m with PaulH on the whole “embargo” idea. No advanced screenings for critics guarantees a dud, while marketing using human nature’s inability to contain enthusiasm ony builds interest.

    This sounds like what I was expecting – and hoping for: great visuals, solid Fassbender and Rapace, and more-than-average intelligence behind the script. Can’t wait.

  • Nic V

    It seems that the Producers and Mr. Scott have decided to go right for the audiences and perhaps by passing the critics to some degree. On Demand has already started “The Making of” process with an intense interview or soliquoy by Ridley Scott himself that was quite impressive. Then beyond that there is an entire section devoted to one or two minute “snips” of Prometheus. Scott’s visuals and designs are amazing but the one thing that struck me when watching or viewing most of these small clips was that there wasn’t a great deal of attention to the cast. There was however during the “Making of” the cast chatter which was a plus. Fassbender stood out among the cast as well as Rapace. The thing that struck me was that Signorey was such an integral piece of Alien and Ford was such an integral piece of Blade Runner. I didn’t get that feeling with Prometheus. Maybe it was just the clips that were available but it seems from what I’ve seen that might be where Promethus misses the mark.

  • Peter Bradshaw has written a 3-star review that reads like a 4-star review to me.

    Everything he says sounds spectacular to me.

    I do wish people would stop comparing it to Alien. We get it. Prometheus is not Alien. The Artist wasn’t City Lights either.

  • Jonas Grondahl

    As always a well written review by Mr. Todd McCarthy. He sure is, along with Roger Ebert, the best critic.

    Looks like a promising film. Well acted, great cinematography and quite a few scaring moments.

    But not quite the film that raises the bar, when it comes to science fiction.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    “This sounds like what I was expecting – and hoping for: great visuals, solid Fassbender and Rapace, and more-than-average intelligence behind the script. Can’t wait.”

    All this is good. And more.

    I will see this film again soon after it opens. I rarely say that. This should be well-reviewed overall, no-one will probably hate it. When you completely forget that you are wearing 3D-glasses, something works.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    “But not quite the film that raises the bar, when it comes to science fiction.”

    Is it possible to “raise the bar”? Even technically, what scifi did that since The Matrix? I think some films can still bring in many new ideas in scifi genre. Some films have so many new ideas and details that a lot is lost in first viewing. Some films are so full of them that there’s enough information/design for 3 or 4 films.

  • steve50

    From Bradshaw’s review: “…one terrifically creepy performance from Michael Fassbender, who steals the film with … chilling, parasitic relentlessness….”

    Oh yeah. That’s what I wanted to hear.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    I don’t think a film like this would get many Oscar nominations, but Fassbender could be a big surprise considering his recent years and that he has – as these early reviews have now pointed out – a very showy role. There might be a spot for scifi in Best Picture, we don’t know.

    This will probably be more technical – Cinematography, Art Direction, Original Score (unless the use of pre-existing music is a problem), both Sound categories and Visual Effects, naturally. I think Academy will see Prometheus, nevertheless.

    Is the soundtrack anywhere online?

  • Jake G!!!

    Critics are going to be harsh and compare this to Alien! Thats so stupid of them! Ridley has already said many times that this film has nothing to do with Alien!!! What don’t the critics understand?

  • Jake G!!!

    Prometheus holds an 89 percent on RT so far:)

  • I think I just got spoiled by accident. Not you guys’ fault. It’s them. And I only read one sentence. Pfft.

  • ^
    Just dream up some unique symbolic interpretation after you see what you think you expect to see.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    “Ridley has already said many times that this film has nothing to do with Alien!!!”

    In that case Ridley has lied. Maybe he didn’t want to spoil too much and hoped that people wouldn’t be expecting an Alien prequel (which it originally was). It has quite a few links to Alien, but not to any of its sequels. Things that are well-known to everyone at this point: the space jockey, the character played by Guy Pearce, the credits, the music, and then there’s more…

    But I’m sure you meant that Prometheus works perfectly as a stand-alone IF you have not seen Alien (and where’s that person?)…

  • julian the emperor

    The leading Danish newspapers have online reviews posted now and they are all negative. Words like “un-focused” and “messy” and “not worth the effort” get bandied around a lot, I’m sorry to say. I had my hopes up for a return to form for Scott, but I have to say that I have great faith in the reviewers who dismiss Prometheus. Oh well.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Haa, and the Finnish press loved it. Go figure.

  • julian the emperor

    Really? Well, you Finns are a rare breed;)

    Well, 63 on metacritic by now…not exactly dazzling numbers…

  • Tero Heikkinen

    ^with good taste. Sometimes.

    AD will be happy that some ninety years from now all older movies are in 3D and you watch them without glasses, naturally.

    “The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts.”

    David the Android just LOVES Lawrence of Arabia. It’s his/its favourite film.

  • KJBacon

    Like many of you, seeing this tomorrow. We’ll see, I guess.

  • Josh Locklair

    Disappointing reviews. Another vivid Ridley Scott epic with a mediocre script. Think I’ll pass after all.

  • drake

    i’ve rewatched almost all of scott’s films in recent weeks. even when the movie is subpar- he’s a visual master. i expect that here- its the script that is always his downfall (and sometimes acting i guess).

  • Brian

    Movie critics and the Science Fiction genre:

    After the John Carter debacle I have no faith in (most) movie critics in their ability to review science fiction films. John Carter was a supremely entertaining film and yet only received a 48% on rotten tomatoes.

    Prometheus is a must-see … ignore the critics completely

  • Tero Heikkinen

    What’s with all the hate for critics? Prometheus is rather well-received (not Denmark) among them, the worst reviews are like 3/5. Is it because both Alien and Blade Runner were panned when they first came out, and later declared as masterpieces?

    In the case of Prometheus, I will definitely side with critics (like I usually do), because I think the general audience will not understand the plot.

    If you had 10 questions before entering the film, you have 30 when coming out of it.

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  • Nic V

    In all the clips I saw I didn’t see anything that would cause anyone to compare or think that Prometheus was a partner to Alien. The only thing that the two have in common is the genre. I wasn’t comparing Alien to Prometheus I was stating that there seemed to be in the clips that missing connection with a centered character. But the clips were really all about the designs and machinations of how everything came together and how it worked. From what little I saw there is no resemblance to Aliens at all. Prometheus has a broader canvas than Aliens had and it seemed to me that Scott was able to use a multitude of brush strokes to paint that canvas. I personally think this is going to be a blockbuster. I also think that based on what little I saw of Fassbender he may very well steal the show when it comes to characterization. Sadly in this genre most actors are playing to the effects and the script and that’s fine by me. I think Scott is a incredible director and in fact i thought his Robin Hood was one of the best versions of the famed hero. I’m a big fan of Scott and he’s certainly going to pick up a number of nominations for this film. We’ll just have to wait to see if they are more than just tech noms.

  • Nic V

    The truth of the matter here is that most people are not going to go see Prometheus for the plot. They’re going to go too see it for the whaalapalooza effects and all the toys. The plot is going to be the sidebar for most audiences.

  • “…most people are not going to go see Prometheus for the plot.”

    I have no qualms about the plot.

    “a sense of inquiry and genuine sort of thoughtfulness that promise a truly weighty slice of speculative fiction… Little by little, however, elements of other, less philosophical films come into play, including Fantastic Voyage, Rosemary’s Baby and, inevitably, Alien.” — Todd McCarthy

    “Creation and destruction are the twin-burners of Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof’s ambitious screenplay, which bricks up an epic new mythology… it’s exciting, tense and fully impregnated for sequels…” – Jonathan Crocker, Total Film

    Relax kids. Don’t let the 63 on Metacritic worry you. Inglourious Basterds has a 69.

    Stop thinking Prometheus is a prequel. It doesn’t connect that way. It’s the first installment of a new franchise whose arc touches on the first franchise with a tangent.

  • Have seen it yesterday in Moscow!!! Stunning visuals – plot holes – good but not great performances – Oscar noms only in technical categories!!!

  • Tero Heikkinen

    “I personally think this is going to be a blockbuster.”

    In Europe. I don’t see it doing too well anywhere else. Sorry, but it’s too thoughtful for American audiences for example.

    I can talk about this now, embargo is over.

    I LOVE THIS FILM. Best scifi since Moon and Sunshine, I think.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Danes hate this, Finns love it.


  • Julian the emperor

    To stress what I said earlier about the poor reception of Prometheus in Denmark, Politiken (the second biggest newspaper in Denmark) ran an online feature today about how Danish reviewers dismiss Prometheus across the board. There is not a single positive review among prominent Danish film critics, which apparently is a news-worthy story…

    Maybe I should participate in the online debate and tell them that the Finns happen to love the movie;)

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Do it, and add that for once Finns have actual taste, even when you Danes make the better movies.

    But hey, this always happens with scifi. Alien and Blade Runner were pretty much hated when they first came out. A.I. – Artificial Intelligence? I gave it 5 stars immediately, almost everybody else gave it 2. In 2030, let’s see who was right on that one.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Politiken 3 hjerter
    Ekstra Bladet, 4 stjerner
    Berlingske, 4 stjerner
    BT, 4 stjerner
    Jyllands-Posten, 4 stjerner

    I know you have a 6-star system, but how bad is 3 or 4 out of it?

    Be honest next time, ok?

  • brian

    Too thoughtful for American audiences? lol

    I guess thats why Battleship tanked in America but did huge business overseas …

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Argentina UIP 5/10/12 $582,985 41.4% $1,409,866 5/27/12
    Australia UPI 4/12/12 $4,089,849 40.1% $10,194,275 5/20/12
    Austria UPI 4/13/12 $428,537 38% $1,128,193 5/20/12
    Belgium UPI 4/11/12 $692,211 48% $1,441,885 5/27/12
    Bolivia UPI 5/10/12 $42,032 38.9% $107,982 5/27/12
    Brazil UPI 5/11/12 $1,376,462 36.8% $3,743,194 5/27/12
    Bulgaria UIP 4/20/12 $40,884 22.1% $185,057 5/27/12
    Chile UIP 5/10/12 $217,688 33.7% $646,855 5/27/12
    Colombia UIP 5/11/12 $439,247 30.8% $1,425,381 5/27/12
    Croatia UIP 4/19/12 $60,472 44.3% $136,642 5/27/12
    Czech Republic Bontonfilm 4/19/12 $134,065 43.2% $310,095 5/20/12
    Denmark UIP 4/12/12 $288,927 45.9% $629,098 5/6/12
    East Africa UIP 5/11/12 $12,166 40.1% $30,360 5/27/12
    Ecuador UIP 5/11/12 $119,718 31.7% $377,611 5/27/12
    Egypt UIP 4/18/12 $46,333 22.1% $209,454 5/27/12
    Finland Finnkino 4/13/12 $100,568 39.9% $251,827 5/20/12
    France UPI 4/11/12 $3,983,395 44.7% $8,918,606 5/6/12
    Germany UPI 4/12/12 $4,270,011 44.7% $9,546,461 5/20/12
    Ghana UPI 5/11/12 – – $4,557 5/20/12
    Greece UIP 4/19/12 $304,122 48.8% $623,133 5/20/12
    Hong Kong EDKO 4/11/12 $1,207,716 48.5% $2,490,367 5/20/12
    Hungary UIP 4/18/12 $188,886 43.9% $430,553 5/20/12
    Iceland UIP 4/13/12 $34,432 41.3% $83,333 5/20/12
    India UPI 4/13/12 – – $1,790,632 5/6/12
    Indonesia UIP 4/13/12 $1,084,962 28.2% $3,842,089 5/27/12
    Israel UIP 5/3/12 $150,928 41.4% $364,842 5/27/12
    Italy UIP 4/12/12 $2,796,494 48.7% $5,747,869 5/6/12
    Japan Toho-Towa 4/13/12 $3,559,492 19.6% $18,128,606 5/20/12
    Lebanon UIP 4/19/12 $55,282 43% $128,535 5/20/12
    Malaysia UIP 4/12/12 $2,398,969 35.6% $6,746,828 5/27/12
    Mexico UPI 5/11/12 $3,326,655 35.5% $9,378,733 5/27/12
    Netherlands UPI 4/19/12 $609,153 39.4% $1,546,652 5/27/12
    New Zealand UIP 4/12/12 $466,854 38.9% $1,201,129 5/13/12
    Nigeria – 5/11/12 $17,058 36% $47,386 5/27/12
    Norway UIP 4/11/12 $385,749 32.1% $1,201,917 5/27/12
    Peru UPI 5/10/12 $398,525 34.6% $1,153,007 5/27/12
    Philippines UIP 4/12/12 $1,084,761 38% $2,851,193 5/20/12
    Poland UIP 4/20/12 $304,781 32.7% $931,981 5/20/12
    Portugal Lusomundo 4/19/12 $218,402 35.3% $619,169 5/27/12
    Russia – CIS UIP 4/19/12 $11,195,264 50.9% $21,982,260 5/27/12
    Serbia & Montenegro UIP 4/19/12 $10,387 32.7% $31,792 5/20/12
    Singapore UIP 4/12/12 $1,573,454 37.6% $4,188,073 5/27/12
    Slovakia Tatrafilm 4/19/12 $40,192 47.7% $84,325 5/13/12
    Slovenia UIP 4/19/12 $29,521 31.8% $92,908 5/27/12
    South Africa (Entire Region) UIP 5/4/12 $314,644 44.4% $709,231 5/27/12
    South Korea UIP 4/11/12 $4,487,425 30.8% $14,552,031 5/6/12
    Spain UIP 4/13/12 $2,811,693 50.1% $5,610,782 5/27/12
    Sweden UIP 4/11/12 $527,884 36.7% $1,437,234 5/13/12
    Thailand UIP 4/11/12 $1,643,246 34.1% $4,817,092 5/27/12
    Turkey UIP 4/20/12 $360,179 26.3% $1,371,277 5/27/12
    Ukraine UPI 4/19/12 $999,879 49.8% $2,007,807 5/20/12
    United Arab Emirates UIP 4/19/12 $929,818 54.7% $1,699,834 5/27/12
    United Kingdom UPI 4/11/12 $6,030,389 49.4% $12,216,671 5/27/12
    Uruguay UPI 5/11/12 $16,528 35.2% $46,936 5/27/12

    Where did this movie make the most? Oh, sorry – USA.

    You must be an American.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Domestic: $49,386,925

    WAY more than anywhere else, even when population is concerned and the FACT that USA had The Avengers competing against this. Overseas – no Hollywood competition.

    Learn about box office, DUDE!

    You would have had a point if Battleship made 10 million in USA, but not when it makes 50 (at the same time when The Avengers was on).

  • julian the emperor

    Tero, granted, the star system is tricky business…and, yes, on paper, the 4/6 ratings look rather ok, but if you read them? Trust me, the sentiment is negative (or mostly concerned with the negative, anyway). I guess that is why Politiken ran this feature today about the disappointing reception of the movie. And this is coming from a big fan of Ridley Scott (who had very high hopes for this one and still has every intention of seeing it as fast as possible)

    It is interesting, though, that the reviewers hand out four stars despite the harsh criticisms, it must have to do with the visuals and the fact that critics still seem to be in awe every time a movie is visually astounding, which in the movie reality of today really shouldn’t be that big a deal. It is, after all, a lot easier to make grand visual designs with a low cost with the use of current technology than, say, 10-15 years ago.

  • brian

    battleship made 80% of it gross box office outside of the U.S.

  • brian

    yes, I’m an American
    you must be a narrow-minded fool … notice how I’m not making an ignorant blanket statement about everyone in your country …rather, I’ve taken care to single you out as an idiot all by yourself

  • Tero Heikkinen

    And you are right about it, too.

  • Jerry

    It looks like the Danes didn’t get the memo that they were supposed to hate Prometheus. It opened #1 in Denmark and other European countries.

  • sartre

    The metacritic score is derived from a small sample (only six reviews) and is likely to rise given how well the film is doing based on 42 reviews at Rotten Tomatoes. Peter Bradshaw only gave it a metacritic score of 60 but the other Guardian reviewer (Philip French) raved about it.

  • What’s strange about Peter Bradshaw’s review is how everything he says about Prometheus makes me even more eager to see it. Could be he tamped it down and refrained from 5-stars because he doesn’t want to give anyone a 2-week erection? Imagine the lawsuits. Prometheus Priapism.

  • Wrymartini

    Well, I just saw it. I wanted to love it, but couldn’t. I couldn’t even like it.

    It’s the script, I’m afraid. It’s just laughably poor. Just such a disappointment.

    Am just angry now.

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