DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Prometheus, Blu-ray 3D 4-disc Collector’s Edition (2012)

Less good than Avatar, but still a great 3D sci-fi experience, if overpriced.

Published on July 13, 2013

Prometheus, Blu-ray 3D 4-disc Collector’s Edition (2012)

Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce
Studio: 20th-Century Fox [10/9/12]
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 3D, 1080p
Audio: DTS-HD MA 7.1, Dolby Digital, PCM stereo
Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: (Over 7 hours of extras!) – Incl. “The Furious Gods” – 3½ hr. documentary on the making of Prometheus, “Wayland Corp. Archive” (4 videos), Audio commentary track by Ridley Scott, Audio commentary track by the writers, Deleted and alternate scenes, Second screen movie app, UltraViolet, Digital copy, D-BOX, all the elements of the Prometheus canon
Length: 124 minutes (feature only)
Rating: ****½ 

The second big sci-fi epic from Ridley Scott following Avatar isn’t quite as good as Avatar but is certainly worth viewing. It has garnered some highly conflicting opinions from viewers, but it was designed to get discussion about the Big Questions going, and that it does—certainly with more to bite into here than Avatar had. The 3D effects, though especially effective in the scenes with the holographic maps of the inside of the alien structure and the medpod, are not quite as stunning as in Avatar, at least they resisted having things come out and poke you in the eye. The storm is very effective in 3D, as was the snow in Hugo.

Speaking of 3D, the only way to get the 3D version of Prometheus is with this 4-disc Collector’s Edition, which is $75 on Amazon; all the other cheaper versions are just 2D. There are three other one- and two-disc DVD editions, including a Walmart Release. Now that’s not the way to popularize 3D with consumers. Some experts are saying consumer interest in 3D is fading, so the industry has begun switching to promotion of 4D/UHD instead.  Well, no wonder, the way 3D has been screwed up from the beginning—different technologies and many lousy 3D films! (Plus the original best 3D film, Avatar, only being available with purchase of a Panasonic 3D display, and when that ended not being available at all for well over a year.)

An interesting thing about the plot of Prometheus is that when you may think it has ended, there is one more scene which makes it a sort of sideways prequel to Scott’s Alien series, which began in 1979. It seems to lay the groundwork for that scary series. In fact Alien took place on a different moon around a planet in the same solar system (LV-426).  Prometheus is not a horror film, though it does have some hard-to-take scenes. Such as the self-removal from the womb of the scientist played by Dr. Shaw (Noomi Rapace), of an alien fetus.

A team of 15 scientists journeys to a far-distant part of the universe on the spaceship Prometheus to investigate alien life forms. Various ancient artwork in caves and places around the world have all included the same grouping of five planet bodies and especially the moon LV-223, found only one place in the universe. That is the ship’s destination.  Aboard is the “suit” character played by Charlize Theron, who represents the Wayland Corp., who paid for the ship and expedition. She doesn’t want the scientists to make any contact with any aliens they might find.  Later it is revealed that secretly aboard the ship is the very old head of the Wayland Corp., billionaire Peter Wayland, who wants to make contact with the aliens who might have founded the human race on earth, and he is at loggerheads with Theron’s character (who is his daughter).  There is also a fascinating normal-looking android who he designed, named David, who during the over two years of the journey (during which the rest of the crew is in hypersleep) amuses himself by watching Lawrence of Arabia (in 3D!) and making himself look and talk like Peter O’Toole. He feels superior to the humans because of his huge knowledge and expertise. He has learned the alien language, but rather than having him translate everything inside the alien structure, the crew generally ignores him. It soon becomes apparent that Drs. Shaw and Holloway don’t understand the implications of their expedition.

There are a number of plot holes in the film but many of the visual effects are really breath-taking, even in 2D. The film was entirely shot with 3D cameras, just as Avatar and Hugo, which is why the 3D is worthwhile. It makes for a great viewing experience, and made me want to view the whole Alien series all over again.

—John Sunier




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