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Prometheus (3D Blu-ray Review)

24 Oct, 2012 By: John Latchem

Box Office $126.48 million
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $49.99 3D BD
Rated ‘R’ for sci-fi violence including some intense images, and brief language.
Stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Logan Marshall-Green, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce.

Ridley Scott’s return to science-fiction for the first time since 1982’s Blade Runner was conceived as a conventional prequel to the original Alien. The focus was going to be on the crashed derelict ship and its strange pilot, which to Scott’s astonishment hadn’t been more closely examined in any of the sequels in the 30 years since Alien debuted in 1979.

It was known at one point as Alien: Genesis, among other potential titles, before screenwriter Damon Lindelof (of “Lost” fame) suggested making it more of a spin-off franchise that didn’t directly connect back to the Alien storyline aside from implications.

The plot concerns a message hidden in cave paintings and ancient ruins that points to an alien civilization having engineered life on Earth, inspiring a group of scientists to seek out this ancient race aboard the vessel Prometheus in 2093. They discover a research facility where the inhabitants, who look like the pilot from Alien, were killed off by a mysterious force 2,000 years ago, apparently in the process of preparing a biological weapon to wipe out Earth.

So, as is typical, the newcomers re-awaken the danger and find themselves locked in a fight to survive. Most of this follows the same basic story track as Alien, with a few twists that play to audience expectations. However, much is kept purposefully vague so as to give a potential sequel room to fill in the blanks. The result is a well-made film with tremendous visual appeal that should excite “Alien” fans, though the first half offers a few new ideas for casual viewers to consider before the story veers into the creature-feature milieu of its predecessors.

The film has a very clean look to it, even as characters find themselves covered in dirt and grime and blood, owing to the slickness of the production design and professional skill emblematic of Scott’s work. Scott shot the film in 3D but doesn’t seem to do too much to push the format beyond some relatively conventional depth perception, so the 3D effect doesn’t do much to enhance the enjoyment of the viewing experience.

The Blu-ray promises that many questions will be answered in the bonus material, and there are some eye-opening revelations, though a lot of the explanations will just confirm conclusions that many attentive viewers will already have reached.

Then there are questions about the production itself, such as why 45-year-old Guy Pearce was cast to play a 100-year-old man if he’s never going to appear without his old-age makeup. There actually is a reason for it, beyond having Pearce play a younger version of his character in viral marketing materials.

The primary extra is a nearly four-hour documentary about the history of the production, which is often candid and always thorough, being twice as long as the film it’s covering. Delving even deeper, the doc has a branching mode that lets viewers watch even more video about a given topic.

This documentary is available only with the bonus disc on the 3D combo pack. The regular Blu-ray still comes loaded with deleted scenes, background files and two commentaries, one by Scott and the other by the writers. The commentaries are very informative in the degree to which those involved analyze the film in relation to the franchise at large.

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