Thursday, April 18, 2013

Prometheus (2012)

1 Nomination, 0 Wins

Nomination: Best Visual Effects - Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, and Martin Hill

I'm a bit young to have been truly hit by the Alien franchise.  The first film came out five years before I was born, and the sequel was released when I was just two.  Even though I've long been familiar with the films, I've never felt the attachment to them that I have for other series of films released during my years as a filmgoer.  Yet I was still curious about Prometheus, the prequel to Alien and the latest installment of the franchise, both due to the stellar cast and the return of Ridley Scott to the director's chair.  Those I know who love the Alien films seem to love Prometheus, while those like me with less of an attachment to the films seem to feel underwhelmed.

I give Ridley Scott and his team a great deal of credit for putting a great deal of care into this film.  Prometheus is a far above average effort, with an arresting visual aesthetic, fantastic cast, and the seeds of some interesting themes.  What bothered me is that the film felt schizophrenic in how it dealt with its themes, quickly vacillating between moments that felt downright Malick-ian at times and others that were straightahead popcorn-flick fare.  It feels like a film that is being forced to fit into the Alien model, but it clearly wants to be something different, resulting in a disjointed whole.

The film is led by a nice performance from Noomi Rapace, and Charlize Theron is fine but, as was too common in 2012, was underused.  Michael Fassbender has become one of my very favorite current film actors, and his performance as David the android was the primary reason I was interested in the film.  He does a very nice job in a difficult role in which he must turn in a compelling performance inhabiting a character who is described as literally having no sole.  And it should come as no surprise to his many admirers that Idris Elba steals every scene he is in.

The film received its nomination for visual effects, a no-brainer nomination.  Some of the digital manifestations of the aliens looked goofy, but overall the effects work is well deserving of a nomination.  The Academy gave the award to the visual effects team behind Life of Pi, who clearly deserved the award.  Still, the quartet behind Prometheus did a great job, and it was clearly one of the five best examples of visual effects in 2012.

Remaining: 3150 films, 872 Oscars, 5410 nominations

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