3D Blu-ray Review Prometheus 3D Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Make no mistake about it: Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is a prequel to Alien. There were some denials issued before the film’s theatrical release, but rest assured that H.R. Giger’s beloved monster is alive and well and living somewhere within the bowels of this entertaining but only sporadically exciting sci-fi chiller. The characters are the major bone of contention here, and Scott’s direction of the earlier sections of the film make things more muddled than they need to be. Still, for his return to the sci-fi genre after so long an absence, Prometheus is a welcome sight.





    Prometheus 3D (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
    Directed by Ridley Scott

    Studio: 20th Century Fox
    Year: 2012
    Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1   1080p   AVC codec
    Running Time: 124 minutes
    Rating: R
    Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Spanish, others
    Subtitles:  SDH, Spanish, Danish, others

    Region: A
    MSRP: $ 49.99


    Release Date: October 9, 2012

    Review Date: October 8, 2012




    The Film

    3.5/5


    After scientists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) make a discovery that they think might lead them to discovering the origins of the human race, an expedition financed by Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) brings a team of scientists to the edge of the universe exploring a seemingly barren planet with many secrets to share under its surface. What they find puts matters about the origins of humanity on hold as alien presences on the planet begin to have horrifying effects on several of the crew members.


    The Jon Spaihts-Damon Lindelof screenplay earns points for craftily weaving some familiar elements from the various manifestations of the creature from Alien into their story, but they lose points for creating some of the most disagreeable characters in sci-fi history. There’s little camaraderie here, and most everyone treats one another with contempt, not the best way to generate audience sympathy when various people begin to fall victim to the planet’s many terrors. The scenarists have wisely carried over the notion of an android assistant, this time one called David played by Michael Fassbender who’s in the midst of an obsession with Lawrence of Arabia. Like Ian Holm’s android from the earlier film, David plays a key role in the progression of alien life infiltrating the ship, but Fassbinder’s pleasant demeanor and willing helpfulness to all makes it hard to hold his childlike curiosity in the unusual specimens against him. With the story morphing into a cat and mouse exercise about halfway through and the writers’ and director’s inability to shock us with the same out-of-nowhere surprises that Alien first generated, one is left admiring the magnificent production design and a mesmerizing sequence when David sits in a chair and pulls up a kind of intergalactic planetarium that is just breathtaking. One other excruciatingly effective sequence involves a cesarean section involving a crew member that blends future technology with genuine horror that is the film’s best sequence.


    A terrific cast has been assembled, but apart from the aforementioned Michael Fassbender, only Noomi Rapace as the scientist whose interest in creation isn’t daunted by the horrific events she undergoes and Charlize Theron as a no nonsense corporate overseer (with a surprise revelation late in the movie) give really interesting performances. Logan Marshall-Green, Sean Harris, and Rafe Spall play scientists with despicable chips on their shoulders making it hard to feel sympathy for their inevitable fates, and Idris Elba is likewise one note as the captain of the Prometheus. The excellent Guy Pearce is buried under so much make-up that his acting as the entrepreneur who bankrolled the expedition is almost beside the point.



    Video Quality

    5/5

    3D implementation – 3/5


    The film’s theatrical 2.40:1 aspect ratio has been faithfully rendered in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. The blacks of space and the interiors of the planet are well used and well represented on the transfer with excellent levels of depth. Sharpness is first-rate and consistently maintained as is contrast throughout. Color is somewhat desaturated except in the hologram sequences where bright blues and reds predominate. Flesh tones are consistently represented. The film has been divided into 36 chapters.


    The 3D doesn’t add a great deal of depth to the image that can’t be found in the 2D transfer, certainly not considering the vastness of the planet and the “caverns” where much of the movie takes place. There are no outward projections at all, and the most exhilarating sequences – the intergalactic planetarium which we get two glimpses of and some interaction with some holograms – make the most effective use of 3D on the disc. There is no crosstalk at all in the imagery.



    Audio Quality

    5/5


    The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix is tremendously effective with those back surround channels used very intelligently in giving the entire soundscape a three dimensional flair with many examples of split effects enhancing the viewing/listening experience. Bass is very deep on occasion offering the subwoofer a great workout, and Marc Streitenfeld’s music gets a most effective spread through the entire soundstage. Dialogue is always intelligible and has been placed in the center channel.




    Special Features

    5/5


    The 3D disc contains no extras, not even a trailer. However, a 3D version of the trailer is offered on disc three.


    Disc two contains the following bonuses along with the 2D version of the movie’s theatrical cut. Everything in the bonuses on both discs is presented in 1080p:


    There are two audio commentaries on the 2D disc. Ridley Scott helms the first one solo offering inside information on the film from conception to release. The other combines separate commentary tracks from writers Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof making for a very full commentary. Truth be told, however, the making of documentary on disc three is so comprehensive that it could easily substitute for these commentary tracks.


    There are fourteen deleted/extended scenes including alternate openings and endings and which offer optional commentary tracks from either editor Pietro Scalia or special effects coordinator Richard Stammers. Together they run 36 ¾ minutes.


    “The Peter Weyland Files” includes four featurettes which can be viewed separately or together in a 19-minute bunch. They involve a Shaw communication, an interview with David, a Prometheus transmission, and a TED conference in 2023 allowing actor Guy Pearce to play relatively his real-life age as Peter Weyland.


    The disc is Second Screen ready for those who wish to synch the movie to their i-devices.


    The disc is BD-Live capable, but the only two offerings for Prometheus are already present in this package.


    The third disc in the set houses these additional bonus features:


    “The Furious Gods: Making Prometheus is an interactive 221-minute documentary feature on the making of the film covering every aspect of its production from Jon Spaihts’ original pitch of his script though featurettes on production ideas and concepts, casting and costume design, the use of massive real sets on the Pinewood soundstages, using green screen CGI for the planet, the designs of the monsters, the stunts, the special effects, and the post production work and eventual release. There are also 23 enhancement vignettes running from 1-4 minutes in length that branch off from the main feature selectable by the viewer. These enhancement pods are also available for viewing from a separate menu if you don’t want the documentary interrupted by the branching back and forth.


    The Weyland Corporation Archive houses the pre-production artwork and computer pre-visualizations (which run 23 ¾ minutes), production screen tests of star Noomi Rapace (10 minutes), and costume and hair tests for several of the stars including Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Sean Harris, and Rafe Spall (11 ½ minutes). There is a post production marketing gallery, a teaser trailer, a theatrical trailer which can be shown in 2D or 3D, and 25 TV spots. There are also 9 brief promo featurettes which can be viewed separately (about 2 minutes each) or in one 18 ¾-minute bunch.


    The fourth disc in the set is the DVD copy of the movie.



    In Conclusion

    4/5 (not an average)


    As a sci-fi adventure thriller, Prometheus isn’t in the same class as Alien, but on its own terms, there is fun to be had with the movie and some interesting concepts on the nature of man’s origin that offer plenty of sequel opportunities if Ridley Scott chooses to go there. While the 3D here isn’t the most effective use of the platform, the bonus material offered in this package is a tremendous compensation, and fans of the film are going to enjoy this material and spend many hours with it. Recommended!




    Matt Hough

    Charlotte, NC

     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Another 3D film that plays it "too safe"

    Wasn't looking for outright gimmickry, but at least it
    should have provided something substantially better
    for audiences in theaters and homes paying a premium
    to watch a 3D version.

    Thank you for the review. Had I read this prior to my
    Amazon shipment I would have cancelled the 3D set
    and gone with the 2D.
     
  3. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Scott raves in his commentary how much he enjoyed working in 3D, but I was let down by his work with it.
     
  4. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    Ha, thanks Ron, must have listed just as I was posting.
    I thought the 3D IMAX looked amazing.
    I don't have a 3D TV Yet but will get the 3D blu set. Doesnt that have additional features not on the 2D version plus it's only $20 at BB with the trade in coupon.
     
  5. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    I just noticed and didn't when I saw it at the movies. When David holds up the little sample and says big things have small beginnings,
    You can see his finger tip and in the finger print is a W.
    One major annoyance is when you pause or FF/RW there is a large obtrusive progress bar and image still of the chapter.
     
  6. TheBat

    TheBat Producer

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    I enjoyed the 3d very much on it. I think the stuff with the maps was where it really shined. reminded me a bit of avatar with the 3d map.
    Jacob
     
  7. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    I found the 3D to be superb when I saw it in IMAX back in June. I have this on order from Amazon so I'll have to see if I think it doesn't hold up as well when viewed at home. Thanks for the review, Matt.
     
  8. BleedOrange11

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    The dirtstorm was a pretty intense 3D moment in IMAX. It might be less so without the same amount of screen filling your peripheral vision though. I think this might be one where the strength of the depth and roundness of the characters are best appreciated from a theatrical viewing distance. Looking forward to seeing it at home.
     
  9. AlexF

    AlexF Supporting Actor

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    Remember that the 3D version is the only one that contains the extra bonus disc with “The Furious Gods: Making Prometheus”.
     
  10. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    I too saw this at IMAX 3D and thought it looked amazing although I didn't not care for the movie itself and will be passing, but nice review.
     
  11. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    I thought Scott's implementation of 3D was spectacular in the IMAX version I saw. Incredibly immersive. Can't wait to pick up the 4 disc 3D version tomorrow. Thanks for the review.
     
  12. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    Btw the difference in price between the 2 disc 2D version and 4 disc 3D special edition is only $5. A no brainier IMO.
     
  13. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I can imagine this would have been impressive in IMAX. It didn't make much of an mpression on me at home. Just a lot of dirt flying across the screen and none of it outward.
     
  14. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    I picked up the 4 disc version over the weekend. I haven't checked the 3D version yet.

    The documentary and the commentary by Ridley Scott don't address some significant questions, and the lack of that discussion speaks volumes.

    It seems clear that Ridley Scott was enjoying all the design work they did to make this movie and to retrofit it to ALIEN. And while making this movie at his own pace in his own way, he didn't have all the bean counters looking over his shoulder as they did when he made the movie back in the 70s. He makes a point about how much of a good time he had making the movie and designing freely. It also seems clear that all the design work overrode the basic script ideas, so that the script began servicing the design rather than the other way around. It appears that Jon Spaihts wrote what was intended as a direct ALIEN prequel set at the planet visited by the Nostromo - possibly even as a direct sequel to ALIEN about what the heck that weird ship was doing there. And it appears that Ridley Scott took things on a tangent away from that concept, something then really pushed by Damon Lindelof when he was brought in to rewrite the script and establish a new mythology.

    Neither the documentary nor the commentary address many serious questions ALIEN fans had about this movie from the week it hit theaters. Most of those plot points are left to fester. Further, the special features don't mention how the idea of the pyramid structure and the religious materials within it are direct lifts from the original Dan O'Bannon script for what became ALIEN. The documentary at least shows that H.R. Giger was briefly present on one day to see and experience the work done to create the worlds of this movie.
     
  15. cineMANIAC

    cineMANIAC Cinematographer
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    Aside from the downed ship in Prometheus resembling the alien ship in the '79 film, I would've never thought there was any connection between the films, except maybe the same director being behind them. I don't get the impression Ridley Scott wanted to make an Alien film - someone pitched him an idea, maybe set in the same universe as the '79 film, he liked the idea, ran with it and decided to make a film about the origin of man instead, while throwing in some space monster elements for cheap thrills (probably mandated by the studio). Personally, I never like the idea of someone coming in and making half a movie with the intention of answering questions on the next film, who knows how many years later, knowing how finicky studios can be if films don't perform extraordinarily well at the box office. Prometheus, as a standalone film, works OK as entertainment. It's mostly eye-candy, though, with very few good sequences and characters who are hard to sympathize with.
     
  16. bgart13

    bgart13 Screenwriter

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    Other than the ship? Are you serious? Maybe you're not a long-time ALIEN fan? There's ALIEN material throughout the entire movie. There was even more that was cut out too -- the overwhelming doc illuminates a significant amount of changes that were made which had even more ALIEN DNA. It felt like a love letter to serious ALIEN fans to me.
     
  17. Doctorossi

    Doctorossi Supporting Actor

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    I disagree completely- I thought the 3D was note-perfect, with just the right scale and immersion (without being too distracting). Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the rest of this hugely disappointing movie.
    Anyway, I felt I got my 3D up-charge's worth. I don't necessarily want roller-coaster ride stunts from my 3D ticket; I want story enhancement, with a subtlety appropriate to the subject matter. I thought Prometheus nailed that.
     
  18. bryan4999

    bryan4999 Supporting Actor

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    I have to concur with Mr. Hough's opinion of the characters. No matter how much I am impressed with the effects, I can't really stand to spend another 2 hours with these characters, so this will not be on my blu-ray shelf. The crews in Alien and Aliens rang true to me as real people. Not so with this film. It has to be a combination of poor writing and poor direction.
     
  19. bgart13

    bgart13 Screenwriter

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    The characters in ALIENS were realistic? Really? I thought they were pretty much comic book/action movie characters, even Ripley became that way as the movie progressed. In PROMETHEUS, I liked Shaw, David, Janek, and to some extent Vickers. The others weren't too well developed, but some of what was left out for Shaw's boyfriend would've helped his characterization better (I found him more likeable with the additional material than in the theatrical cut).
     
  20. MattAlbie60

    MattAlbie60 I Work for Mr. E. H. Harriman of the Union Pacific

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    I don't know about you, but I yell "Game over, man! GAME OVER!" whenever something even remotely bad happens to me.
    Characters = realistic ;)
     

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