Blu-ray Review: Prometheus, Round Two

“Questions will be answered” is the tagline for the Blu-ray release of Prometheus, featuring never-before-seen extras including an alternate beginning and ending. That’s a lofty promise, considering one of the biggest complaints about Ridley Scott’s anticipated return to the sci-fi genre – and the Alien franchise – was that the movie raised many more questions than it answered.

I was a big fan of Prometheus when it debuted in theaters, in spite of its flaws. On a six-story IMAX screen, Prometheus looked amazing, and to see Ridley Scott once again dabbling with xenomorph aliens – or some variation of them – was a delight. Yes, many of the character decisions make little sense (why would the biologist who was scared to death of a dead alien try to pet a clearly dangerous – and alive – one?), variety of plot holes exist (why were the Engineers running toward the room with the black liquid?) and the filmmakers fail to answer a broad range of questions (what happened in the first place?), but Ridley Scott sci-fi still stands above most modern sci-fi movies.

Prometheus on Blu-ray still looks great, though the visual effects aren’t as overwhelmingly powerful on the small screen. Having already seen the film, my expectations were no longer unworldly; Prometheus is entertaining and fun to watch.

Epic, not so much.

The plot holes are still obvious, some character decisions still annoyingly unexplained, but with expectations in line with reality, they aren’t as glaring. The film’s biggest flaw remains the same, however: as mentioned in my original Prometheus movie review, the movie is in many ways an Alien movie without the best part – the xenomorph aliens. After a while I just wanted shit to hit the fan and the acid-spewing creatures to unleash hell.

The Blu-ray, which also comes with a DVD and digital version, does not answer many, if any, of the questions left unanswered in the movie. It offers two audio commentaries but no behind-the-scenes featurettes or other documentaries that could have provided more insight into the motives of the Engineers. What it does offer, however, is over half an hour of deleted scenes, with optional commentary, which are definitely worth watching.

The deleted scenes were edited out primarily due to pacing, but I question the removal of a few of them. They don’t answer many questions, but they do flesh out some of the characters, making their motivations later on more understandable. There’s a scene where Millburn (Rafe Spall) captures a small snake or worm and is excited that he has found the first signs of a living alien, which would have made his willingness to approach the deadly mutated snake a few minutes later more believable. A longer exchange between Meredith (Charlize Theron) and Peter Wayland (Guy Pearce) works much better than what is in the film. And the climax, where Shaw (Noomi Rapace) battles the Engineer, is more exciting and drawn out than the rather abrupt scene used in the final version.

Ridley Scott has said he won’t make a director’s cut for Prometheus, but it appears he has footage that could make the movie better than what was shown theatrically.

Prometheus is far from perfect, and not as compelling as it was the first time around, but with lowered expectations, the movie is still very good and very entertaining. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for the sequel to get the answers audiences have been clamoring for.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Action Movies, DVD Releases, Movie Reviews, Science Fiction Movies
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