Prometheus - 3D (4-Disc Collector's Edition)
- Street Date:
- October 9th, 2012
- Reviewed by:
- Luke Hickman
- Review Date: 1
- October 12th, 2012
- Movie Release Year:
- 20th Century Fox
- 124 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Rated R
- Release Country
- United States
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of 'Prometheus.'
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
While I enjoy the first two 'Alien' movies, I'm no fanatic of the series. My opinion of 'Prometheus' is based solely on 'Prometheus.' If you still have not yet seen 'Prometheus,' rest assured knowing that my review is mostly spoiler-free. I will not explain the reveals.
Having seen the movie or not, if you know about 'Prometheus,' you know that it is a prequel – of sorts – to the 'Alien' franchise that Ridley Scott kicked off in 1979. The more you know about the 'Alien' movies, the more that you will see it as a prequel – but if you know nothing about the franchise, if you haven't seen a single of the 'Alien' or 'Alien vs. Predator' movies, you can still watch 'Prometheus' and follow it with ease. It carries the ability to function as a 100 percent stand-alone film. Not a single element of 'Prometheus' hinges on you knowing the 'Alien' movies – but the more you know about them, the more you'll enjoy revisiting the franchise from an angle you've never considered.
The first time I watched 'Prometheus,' I saw it functioning just as much as a remake as a prequel. The manner in which the story unfolds originally seemed similar to that of the first 'Alien,' but after four viewings (once theatrically on a standard 3D screen, another time on an IMAX 3D screen, on a standard 2D Blu-ray and also on Blu-ray 3D), I no longer view it that way. I have put a lot of thought into this film (especially after watching it four times and seeing all seven-plus-hours of special features that accompany this 3D Blu-ray release) and realized that it's a completely original formula with ties and imagery connecting it to 'Alien.' With each viewing, I learn something new about it, something that makes me appreciate it even more – so much more that I have been tempted to boost my original rating up to five stars. Perhaps I'll be inclined to do so on my fifth viewing.
Like all good science fiction, 'Prometheus' is a story about the morals of science. When science fiction films exploded in the early days of film, many of them were cautionary tales disguised at entertainment. Think about it. I'll use 'Godzilla' as an example. Think of what was going on at the time that Godzilla was made. Man invents the atomic bomb – this horrible weapon whose fallout is atrocious, immoral and inhumane. The radiation – something that scientists barely knew anything about at the time – resulted in mutations. This was taken to the far end of the spectrum in 'Godzilla,' the result being a monster of enormous size. Who created it? Man. What does it do? It destroys man. Science was scary in those days. It held unknown consequences. Many people thought that perhaps we were playing with something that we should not have been playing with.
While 'Prometheus' is an ensemble film led by Noomi Rapace's character Elizabeth Shaw, when you look at it in terms of themes, there are two groups of characters: Shaw and her boyfriend, and everyone else. The story of Shaw focuses on religion, creation, the beginnings of human life. In some ways, her story is like that of The Tower of Babel in the Old Testament. She's seeking God and just-so-happens to find a way to get to him – but we all know how well that turned out for the Babylonians.
The story that belongs to the remainder of the characters is brilliant. Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), the old tycoon who is funding Shaw's deep space mission, has sent a few of his own employees along with Shaw and her boyfriend. The most important and interesting of them all is David (Michael Fassbender), a humanoid robot. (If you know the 'Alien' movies, then you know already know this type of character.) The story that David commands is not unlike that of 'Godzilla' – man, or a robot in this case, is toying with science, unsure of what the consequences will be. When these two stories collide, 'Prometheus' fires on all levels.
Four months after it's release, 'Prometheus' is still sitting pretty with a 74 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating – but it seems to be pretty polarizing between those who like it and those who do not. While it's apparent that more people like it than dislike it, those who dislike it really dislike it. A few of my family members and friends who I thought would love 'Prometheus' ended up hating it. A few who I thought would dislike it, wound up loving it. Knowing this, no matter how you perceive it prior to seeing, this is one of those films that you need to see for yourself because not a single person can judge how you're going to take it based on your taste and preferences. Considering how damn amazing this Blu-ray release is, you definitely deserve to give it a shot.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
I may be wrong, but I believe that this is the first 3D Blu-ray release to feature a massive bonus disc that isn't included with the 2D release. Seeing a title get same-day basic and "special edition" Blu-ray releases isn't anything new, but so far as I know, this is the first time that a 3D Blu-ray release has been given an extra disc that's unavailable in the standard 2D Blu-ray packaging. In this instance, you pay for what you get and the $5 difference between the two releases is well worth it – but we'll get into that below.
The four-disc Blu-ray 3D release consists of three Region A BD-50s – a Blu-ray 3D containing the main feature, a 2D Blu-ray disc with the main feature and some special features (see below for specifics) and a bonus 2D Blu-ray with exclusive extras - and a dual DVD/Digital Copy disc. The slightly-fatter-than-normal blue Elite keepcase contains two hinged arms that hold all four discs. The artwork for the 3D release is different from that of the 2D release (see below - the 3D release is on the left, 2D on the right). The same artwork is featured on the glossy, metallic and reflective cardboard slipcover.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
If you've followed my theatrical reviews, you know that I'm not a fan of theatrical 3D – which is why it really meant something when I not only highly recommended seeing 'Prometheus' in 3D on the big screen, but went back to see it embiggened on the IMAX screen. Between theatrical and Blu-ray review screenings, I rarely have time for recreational theatrical outings, but I made time to see 'Prometheus' on IMAX. Just as I recommended seeing it on 3D screens, I highly recommend the 3D Blu-ray. The 1080p/MPEG-4 MVC transfer is absolutely perfect.
The 3D look of 'Prometheus' is astounding. My first experience with the latest and greatest polarized 3D was 'Monster House.' I remember sitting there with my jaw agape because, unlike the old red/blue 3D of my childhood, polarized 3D created a depth that made me feel like I was looking into a stage, not having objects unnaturally protrude from the screen toward me. (Too bad the 3D live-action films that followed it couldn't carry the 3D effect of the animated ones. From there stemmed my dislike of theatrical 3D.) Watching this 3D Blu-ray of 'Prometheus' reminded me of my 'Monster House' experience. The third dimension reaches deep into 'Prometheus,' never looking like a layered pop-up book but naturally and gradually transitioning to those great depths. It's so realistic that a few shots of the Prometheus space craft in flight are dizzying.
Having watched both the 2D and 3D discs, I can attest to the 3D carrying a brighter image to compensate for the darkening glasses. When I first watched 'Prometheus' on the big screen, I was worried about the 3D image because of how dark the underground settings were going to be. Luckily, Ridley Scott and his crew constantly monitored the brightness through real-time 3D monitors and split-image 2D monitors as they shot the film. Even in the darkest scenes, they managed the lighting so well that there is never a loss of third dimension. The brightness of these dark scenes permits the sharpest and finest details to be seen. There isn't an ounce of detail or depth loss.
My only complaint with the Blu-ray release is a personal gripe. On IMAX, the frame was opened up from the standard theatrical 2.40:1 ratio to 2:1. Because 'Prometheus' is such an epic film on a grand scope, more is better. My wish is that the 3D disc would have featured the IMAX 2:1 ratio.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
If I could give 'Prometheus'' 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track a rating higher than 5 stars, I would. Hearing it cranked up on a 7.1 system, I heard sounds that I never recognized during my theatrical viewings. The first time I screened 'Prometheus,' I was immediately reeled into the film by the beautiful score overlaying breathtaking landscapes during the opening credits. Hearing the score via this mix is just as wowing. It establishes a grand tone equal to that of the movie that you're about to see.
Once the film takes us into the flight deck of the Prometheus ship, the mixing of the effects makes itself apparent. The effects emitting from every channel are clearly audible. As quiet as some might be, you can easily hear them all - sensors beeping behind you, controls being toggled to the side of you, thrusters outside the ship causing a low bassy rumble. When we're taken to exterior shots of the ship cutting its way through the atmosphere, those same thrusters combined with the atmospheric friction create a deep and resonant LFE that will shake your theater room. One of my favorite sounds in the film is that of the LV-223 storm rolling in. The gusts blast small pieces of metallic rock through the air. As they collide with one another mid-flight, the high-pitch clanking sounds amazing. One thing that I never noticed until listening to this 7.1 mix was that when Prometheus lands on the surface of LV-223, the downward thrusters kick up that same metallic gravel and those same sounds can be heard.
The imaging effects of this mix are seamless and astounding. Take, for example, this same storm sequence. It's obvious that it was shot with the audio in mind because every shot of the storm shows the rocks blowing from left to right. Not a single frame shows it any other way. This causes the wind to relentlessly throw debris in that same direction. It's furious and never lets up. The non-stop left-to-right sound is unnerving. I found myself wanting the shot to switch angles just so that the left-to-right motion would let up. The level of detail put into these imaging sounds is phenomenal. It sounds as if you can literally track these individual blowing rocks from one side of the theater to the other – and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of them.
The vocal detail of this mix is also worth noting. The character that warrants the most attention vocally is David. Fassbender's voice resonates with a rich, deep bass. There's one effect applied to a certain character's voice that I'd like to explain to you, but I cannot because it would reveal a major plot point. (If you want to know, ask me in the forums.) Just like I did with the effects mixing, I heard vocals in the Blu-ray mix that I didn't know existed during my theatrical viewings. They say that no one can hear you scream in space; well, we can surely hear them scream on the surface of LV-223. I didn't hear the many screams Rapace and Charlize Theron let out throughout the film until now.
If you can't watch 'Prometheus' with the audio cranked up because the kids are in bed, don't watch it. This lossless 7.1 mix deserves to be heard as loudly as possible.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
Disc 4 - DVD
- Main Feature (SD)
- Digital Copy
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
Disc 1 – Blu-ray 3D
- Continue Your 3D Experience (HD) – Watch a full 3D sequence from each of the following three Fox titles: 'Avatar,' 'Titanic' and 'I, Robot,' which has yet to be released in 3D.
Disc 2 – Blu-ray with 2D Main Feature
- Commentary by Director/Producer Ridley Scott - One thing that I especially love about this release is that while most films steer clear of referencing and explaining the early versions of the screenplay, these features use them to explain how they ultimately lead to the evolution of the final product. Scott openly offers that information in this commentary, but it's also found throughout the rest of the special features. His commentary is strong, talking about every aspect of production, the challenges he and his crew faced, and even tosses in a few hints at connections to the other 'Alien' films. The only odd bit is where Scott goes off on a tangent about how we'd have terraforming in present day if Kennedy wasn't assassinated.
- Commentary by Writer Jon Spaihts and Writer/Executive Producer Damon Lindelof - Considering Spaihts wrote the first few drafts of 'Prometheus' only to be replaced Lindelof, you'd think that a commentary containing the two would be strange – but both understand how necessary it was in the long run, so it never feels like there's a proverbial elephant in the room.
- Deleted and Alternate Scenes (HD, 37 min.) - Having seen the drastic differences between Ridley Scott's Director's Cut and the studio-forced theatrical cut of 'Kingdom of Heaven,' I have learned that he only stamps something as having his cut of a film if it really enhances it. While rumors of a 'Prometheus' director's cut have spread since it opened theatrically, after seeing the 37 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes, I'm perfectly content with the theatrical cut. There are a total of 14 scenes in this feature. The option is presented to watch them individually or collectively and with or without the commentary from the film's editor and VFX supervisor. From the menu, if you scroll over the titles of these deleted scenes, a box will pop up explaining a brief synopsis of each scene. The scenes that I wish could have remained in the final cut include an extended opening scene with the sacrificial Engineer, David communicating with the awakened Engineer and a longer final battle with Shaw and the Engineer. The other 11 scenes are not all purely deleted or extended takes, but completely different versions of scenes that appear in the theatrical cut. The takes shown in the film were wisely chosen over their alternate versions that appear here. Most of those contained in this special feature change the tone of the film, the relationships between the characters or have the character react in ways that go against the character.
- The Peter Weyland Files (HD, 19 min.) - If you watched the four viral videos that Fox released prior to the theatrical release of 'Prometheus,' you'll be glad to see that they made it onto the Blu-ray. "Play all" or watch individually, you can see 'Quiet Eye,' Shaw's plead for Weyland to fund their expedition; 'Happy Birthday, David,' the Weyland Corporation's infomercial for their human-like robot; 'Prometheus Transmission,' a long random bit of footage from the pre-mission crew; and 'Ted Conference, 2023,' where we see young Weyland's witty acceptance speech.
- 'Prometheus' Mobile App - Although you can download the free Weyland Corporation app and view all of the additional content that it offers without having the Blu-ray, it's not nearly as cool without the Blu-ray interaction and functionability. This is the first of the "second screen" apps that I've ever played with. Most Blu-rays that possess this feature aren't ones that I'd care to dig deeper into (like 'Real Steel'). Being a 'Prometheus'-lover, I had to give it a shot. Using this app while watching the movie made me feel like Tom Cruise in 'Minority Report.' If your phone/tablet is connected to the same wireless network as your Blu-ray player, then the two auto-sync to create a fluid enhanced viewing experience. As the movie plays, the app shows you set photos, artwork, diagrams and clips that coordinate with what's on-screen. Each time you select to play a featured clip or deleted scene, the Blu-ray will automatically pause while you place you attention on your device. Like dragging the content from your tablet through the air to your television a la 'Minority Report,' some videos will play off the Blu-ray disc on your television instead of your phone. (Hint: if you were hoping for an extended cut of 'Prometheus,' this is the way that you can watch most the film with most of the deleted scenes added back into it.) I only had time to re-watch 35 minutes of 'Prometheus' with this app running, but what I experienced was pretty unique and I will see it through to the end. I suggest giving it shot while watching the film with a commentary track running. I wouldn't recommend using this for your first viewing of 'Prometheus.'
Disc 3 – Blu-ray 2D
Please note than much of what is included on this disc – with the exception of the documentary – can be viewed via the mobile app.
- The Furious Gods: Making 'Prometheus' (HD, 221 min.) - No. That's not a typo. This making-of is actually 221 minutes long – three hours and forty-one minutes – and it's not like most special features that claim to be makings-of. This one has a pulse, taking you through every step of production from the film's conception, evolution and storyboarding to casting, building sets, shooting, costumes, stunts, effects and scoring. 'The Furious Gods' isn't a special feature; it's a documentary. Shot mostly by long-time Ridley Scott collaborator Charles de Lauzirika, this documentary digs deep into the history of this project and documents a major amount of its fruition. If you don't have 221 minutes to spare in one sitting, know that it is broken down into 10 sections that can be viewed individually or as "play all." There's also an "Enhancement Mode" that can be toggled "on." When turned on, the Weyland logo will appear on the screen at certain points. If you click enter when the logo appears, you can watch "enhancement pod" videos, galleries, screen tests and more. If you toggle to the right of this menu, you'll find that the "enhancement pods" can be viewed outside the "Enhancement Mode," which takes us to ...
- Enhancement Pods (HD, 71 min.) - The "enhancement pods" can also be viewed separately, of which there are 23 that can be viewed individually or as "play all." These videos can also be viewed via watching 'Prometheus' congruently with the mobile app, only the app doesn't allow you to watch them on your television because they cannot be "flicked" to your television screen. These videos are cool little geeky shorts where elements of the film are explained – how to make the Engineer's suicidal death caviar, how sex-based was the original script, how Scott was tempted to give 'Prometheus' a few huge and obvious connections to the 'Blade Runner' world, how a fan-written fake script was "leaked," and so on.
- Weyland Corp Archive: Pre-Production: The Art of Prometheus - Get ready for an extensive set of galleries containing sketches, storyboards and a million forms of conceptualized artwork for the film.
- Weyland Corp Archive: Pre-Production: Pre-Vis (HD, 26 min.) - Huge chunk of 'Prometheus' were first established by pre-vis. Watch these six pre-vis segments individually or as "play all." Included are the opening sequence, Prometheus flying to the surface of LV-223, both the PG-13 and R-rated med-pod sequences, the awakening of the Engineer and the Shaw/Vickers run from the Juggernaut.
- Weyland Corp Archive: Production: Screen Tests: Noomi Rapace as "Shaw" (HD, 10 min.) - In the documentary, Scott talks about how unsure the studio was with casting Rapace as Shaw. To prove that she had it in her, they filmed an improvised sequence to prove that she could pull it off. Watch this set of sequences here.
- Weyland Corp Archive: Production: Screen Tests: Costume/Make-Up/Hair Test (HD, 11 min.) - Making this feature worthwhile is the optional commentary with the cast. See Rapace, Fassbender, Theron, Rafe Spall, Sean Harris and Emun Elliot try different wardrobe, make-up and hair designs.
- Weyland Corp Archive: Production: Time-Lapse Sequence: Juggernaut (HD, 2 min.) - Commentary from production designer Arthur Max is optional on this time-lapse video showing the construction of the Juggernaut's flight deck. Mind you, this video shows more than a month's worth of construction.
- Weyland Corp Archive: Production: Unit Photography - Get ready for another immaculate gallery with a zillion photos covering set shots from on-board Prometheus, inside the pyramid, inside the Juggernaut, in the creature design shop and on location in Iceland.
- Weyland Corp Archive: Release: Marketing Gallery - And yet another collection of artwork, this time of potential key art and posters. Some of the posters are so brilliant that I'd use a flamethrower to kill a man in order to get my hands on one.
- Weyland Corp Archive: Release: Trailers and TV Spots (HD) – Get ready for four teasers/trailers and 28 TV spots.
- Weyland Corp Archive: Release: Promotional Featurettes (HD, 19 min.) - Viewable individually or as "play all," watch nine EPK videos promoting different aspects of 'Prometheus' like Scott's return to science fiction, the characters, the actors and the story.
- Weyland Corp Archive: Release: HBO First Look: 'Prometheus' (HD, 12 min.) - I remember loving HBO's First Look featurettes as a teenager, but as I've tried watching them again now, I realize that they explain way too much about the movies they promote. Considering the secrecy that 'Prometheus' was shrouded in, you'd expect this one to be spoiler-free – but no. Had I watched this prior to seeing the film, I would have been up in arms.
Here it is, folks – my new favorite demo disc. The four-disc 3D Blu-ray release of 'Prometheus' never stops wowing. Watching the film itself is a journey that I wish I could take again for the first time. Upon reflection and analysis (with the help of these hearty special features), it only gets better. Sure, there are those who loath 'Prometheus' – and I've carried on extensive debate-like conversations defending the arguments – but I stand by my opinion that this is one of the very best contemporary science fiction films, a more-than-worthy chapter in the 'Alien'-verse. Although it's not adored by everyone and didn't warrant the greatest box office response, Fox has given it a huge release that's comparable to that of the extended edition of 'Avatar,' the only difference being that 'Avatar' recycled clips and interviews between it's several discs of special features and 'Prometheus' doesn't. The 3D video and audio qualities are perfect, not a single flaw to be found. Both offer environmental enhancements that take you deeper into the world of the film than you can imagine. Do not settle for anything less than this four-disc set. Even if you have a Blu-ray player but not a 3D television, shell out the extra $5 for the four-disc set. You pay for what you get and this is definitely worth it.
- Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy
- 3 BD-50 Blu-ray Discs, 1 DVD
- 1080p/MPEG-4 MVC
- 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
- French Dolby Digital 5.1
- Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
- Russian Dolby Digital 5.1
- Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1
- Ukrainian Dolby Digital 5.1
- Tamil Dolby Digital 5.1
- Telugu Dolby Digital 5.1
- English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Norwegian, Estonian, Swedish
- DVD copy
- Digital Copy
Exclusive HD Content
- Commentary by Director/Producer Ridley Scott
- Commentary by Writer Jon Spaihts and Writer/Executive Producer Damon Lindelof
- The Peter Weyland Files
- Deleted and Alternate Scenes that include an Alternate Opening / Ending
- Prometheus - Weyland Corp Archive Second Screen App
- The Furious Gods: Making Prometheus
- Enhancement Pods
- Weyland Corp Archive
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