Prometheus Blu-Ray Review
Ridley Scott’s most-talked about film in years finally reaches Blu-Ray in a jam-packed, four disc 3D/2D/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack that should have the audiences agreeing that Fox has pulled out all of the stops for this high-def release. Say what you want about Prometheus, but there’s simply no denying that this Blu-Ray bundle is well worth the money and an easy contender for best Blu-Ray release of the year.
Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and a crew of explorers set out to discover the possible origins of our own kind. The crew contains a wide array of experts, such as the captain (Idris Elba), an actual robot named David (Michael Fassbender), Peter Weyland’s (Guy Pearce) personal onlooker Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and various scientists and geologists.
As they land on this remote location they soon learn the true nature of these “beings” known only as Engineers. The rest of the film follows Shaw as she attempts to learn the true nature of life and what its exact purpose is, if any.
Ridley Scott paints some bold strokes with Prometheus. Those expecting a recreation of the sci-fi masterpiece Alien will be sorely disappointed, because Prometheus has an entirely different agenda. It may share the same DNA as Scott’s face-hugging gem, but it’s setting out to cover much different ground, thanks to writer Damon Lindelof. The weakest part about the film undoubtedly is Lindelof’s ask and don’t tell script that makes us look into the vast darkness of space for such intimate answers. Lindelof and most likely Scott try building up the film to be a deep and philosophical journey, but it’s ultimately just a well-made sci-fi flick that has scattered performances that range from spectacular to kind of dull, plus enough winks and nudges towards Scott’s Alien to remind you that you’re watching something with similar characters/locations/mythology.
How one approaches Prometheus is the most important thing when trying to calculate how much you’ll likely enjoy the film. If you’re simply expecting an Alien prequel then you’ll most likely hate it, but if you’re open to new adventures and new stories, that may or may not be as good as Alien, then you should definitely check out Prometheus, because it’s unlike most studio-funded $150 million dollar R-rated sci-fi projects.
For one, Michael Fassbender‘s performance as the android bot David is out-of-this-world. His ability to inject emotions into an emotionless character is a spectacle in its own right and makes David the most interesting thing about the entire film.
Charlize Theron and Idris Elba anchor down with minor roles that prove to be a lot more important than one might initially think. Theron’s misunderstood Vickers is constantly put out as the bad guy, yet she’s the only one operating within reason and logic. It’s always enjoyable watching Theron pickup such a small role like this and really mold it into her own, even when the material is lacking in the development area.
Elba too impresses, playing an even smaller role than Theron. He’s mostly there for comedic relief and to break up some of the heavier chatter, but he always feels necessary for the film to progress without taking itself too seriously.
Noomi Rapace fails to land as the leading lady, despite her clear interest in the role. Her accent goes in and out and her character’s motives become fuzzy and hard to latch onto by the end of the film, which mostly makes this a problem for Lindelof and Scott, but still; Rapace does a poor job of elevating an already troubled character.
I could spend all day talking about Prometheus and why it’s not a complete waste of time, despite its several shortcomings, but I think we’ve reached the point where people have made up their mind about the film already. It’s hard to deny its technical achievements, because the film really does push the 3D technology to the next level, with so many shots that cater to the format without feeling like a direct gimmick. CGI is mixed with practical effects to make some marvelous set pieces and rather large ships that help fill up the gigantic world that Scott has created.
Story might take a backseat while Scott paints some stunning pictures, but that still doesn’t make Prometheus a completely brainless effort. It has its problems, but it also has its strengths and I believe that those strengths outweigh the weaknesses. I’m not sure if Prometheus will become a sci-fi classic, but it deserves points for going all out and trying something completely different.
Will Chadwick’s review and connection piece between Prometheus and Alien really helps put things into perspective for those that have already seen the film and are looking to explore the world just a little bit more.
Prometheus‘ debut on the high-def format is simply put one of the best. The 1080p video transfer is razor-sharp and almost completely free of any banding or tampering. Textures on characters, items and landscapes are of the highest clarity and even the darkest scenes contain a sense of detail, with smooth and deep blacks and organically formed grays. I’ve gone through the disc three times and I’ve yet to find a single issue with the entire transfer, making this one of the best of the year.
The 3D transfer is also one of the best live-action 3D films I’ve ever seen. Prometheus is less focused on eye-popping action and more focused on depth and range, which means you’ll find yourself drifting into the picture instead of things flying out at you. The holographic tracking devices, the dust storm and David viewing the massive maps are some particularly remarkable scenes that use the extra dimension, but in actuality the entire film benefits from the use of real 3D cameras.
Fox has given the film an exploding 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track that thumps and rattles as the crafts take off and pushes you back into your seat as the terror unfolds. This is another well-balanced track that keeps the goods coming and rarely stops. Dialogue and general effects are pristine. Almost every action-based scene puts you dead center, with aural goodness coming at you from every single channel at once.
The 4-disc collector’s set of Prometheus comes with an extensive amount of bonus supplements. Here’s a detailed list:
- Audio Commentary with Director/Producer Ridley Scott: Scott extensively discusses almost every single aspect of the film, from shooting in 3D, to set design, production, Alien and on-screen scenes as they happen.
- Audio Commentary with Writer John Spaihts and Writer/Executive Producer Damon Lindelof: A choppy commentary that features the two writers separately recorded and paced together. It would have been much more entertaining had the two shared a room, but that just wasn’t going to happen given the nature of the film.
- Deleted and Alternate Scenes (HD): Almost 37 minutes of deleted/extended/alternate scenes that mostly leave the film feeling the same, with a few brief moments that might have slightly enhanced the final cut.
- The Peter Weyland Files (HD): A showy collection of internet promo features, neatly packaged with notes and connections to Alien and even Scott’s Blade Runner.
- The Furious Gods: Making Prometheus (HD): This three-and-a-half-hour documentary is worth the price of the combo disc alone. Documentarian Charles de Lauzirika directs this massive making-of feature that is as detailed as anyone could ever ask for.
- Weyland Corp Archive (HD): The rest of the promo stuff, including pre-vis testing, making-of art, trailers, TV spots and several promotional featurettes.
- Prometheus Mobile App: An app that can be downloaded via iTunes Store or Google Play.
- DVD Copy
- Digital Copy
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
Fox has put a lot of time and effort into this collector’s edition 3D set of Prometheus. It’s the best-looking 3D live-action film on Blu-Ray yet and one of the finest 2D transfers I’ve ever seen. The 7.1 audio track is reference quality and the bonus features are extensively spread out across two discs. The nearly four hour documentary is worth the purchase alone.
I’m almost certain that those somewhat disappointed with Prometheus during its theatrical run will still want to buy this one to check out the deleted scenes and tons of making-of featurettes. Director Ridley Scott spares no expenses loading this set with hours upon hours of information that answers a lot of the questions asked in the film, while also explaining the technical side of filmmaking.
Prometheus earns my highest recommendation and is an absolute must-own for all Blu-Ray collectors.
*Folks without 3D televisions will still want to grab the 3D version, because 90% of the extras are included on a separate bonus disc that is only available in the 3D combo pack. It’s also worth noting that the difference between the two sets right now is only $5, which makes it a no-brainer decision to future-proof the collection.*
Ridley Scott’s Prometheus isn’t a perfect science fiction masterpiece, but it’s visually astonishing and very entertaining. Michael Fassbender works on a level higher than the rest, but that still doesn’t rob the film from containing some exceptional performances from mostly everyone involved.