Prometheus: 4-Disc Collector’s Edition

  • Reviewed by: Bill Hunt
  • Review Date: Nov 12, 2012
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Director

Ridley Scott

Release Date(s)

2012 (October 9, 2012)

Studio(s)

Scott Free/Brandywine (20th Century Fox)

Technical Specifications

Note: This edition includes Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD/Digital Copy discs, plus an exclusive Blu-ray Bonus Disc

Review

 

Disc One – Prometheus on Blu-ray 3D

This disc includes the film in 3D.

 

Disc Two – Prometheus on Blu-ray

The 2D version includes a pair of feature-length audio commentaries, one with director Ridley Scott and another with the film’s two writers – original scribe Jon Spaihts and final script doctor Damon Lindelof. You also get some 37 minutes worth of deleted and alternate scenes with optional commentary by editor Pietro Scalia and VFX supervisor Richard Stammers. Without giving away too much, the director’s commentary is good but frustrating, because Ridley constantly reveals his intentions not to copy himself and to do things in new and different ways from the original film – somewhat irritating if what you were hoping for was a more direct prequel. The deleted scenes are great, but are also somewhat frustrating because little things were cut from the film that would have filled in some of the puzzling plot details – not so much the big idea stuff but rather moments that would have explained some of the dumb or puzzling decisions made by the characters. There’s also an alternate version of the mutated Fifield’s attack on the ship that is frankly much more creepy and unsettling that the version in the film itself. For my money however, the best extra on this disc by far is the writer’s commentary. Spaihts and Lindelof were recorded separately for the track, which makes it all the more revealing. Simply put, if you wish to understand just how this film went wrong and where, it’s made abundantly clear in the differences in tone and thoughtfulness of the comments they make. One writer was clearly going for a much more unsettling, darkly horrific vibe for the film in the vein of Lovecraft and the original Alien and had carefully thought through all the little details of the story, while the other was essentially trying to craft a Alien/Blade Runner mash-up and was making all too many choices because they were cool. I’ll let you decide which. Not all the "doctored" changes are bad – there are definitely some genuinely good additions to the story mix in the final shooting script from earlier drafts. Notably David's character is far more interesting in the final version. But much that made sense in terms of character decisions, actions and motivations in earlier drafts became utterly confused in the revision process, and the film suffers for it. [Editor's Note: Spaiths' final draft of the script before Lindelof was brought in to rework it has now leaked out and can be found online. Google 'Alien: Engineers' and you should be able to track down a copy of it yourself in PDF format. You can decide for yourself what impact the changes had on the story that ultimately appeared on screen.]

Disc Two also includes a Prometheus Weyland Corp mobile app sync function (the app is available for both Android and Apple devices via Google Play and iTunes) that gives you “enhanced viewing” functionality on your device as you watch the film. It includes video clips, images, artwork, etc – all of which are also found on Disc Three. You can either sync the experience with the film manually or via Wi-Fi if your BD player and mobile device are connected to the same wireless network. The synched experience doesn’t provide a great deal of value, but the ability to browse all the content via tablet with quick finger taps is quite pleasant and in many ways more natural than using your remote.

Finally the disc offers The Peter Weyland Files, composed of 4 short video promotional featurettes for the film. They include Quiet Eye: Elizabeth Shaw – a Yutani Corp. biometric analysis of Shaw’s pitch to Weyland; Happy Birthday, David – essentially a promotional spot for Weyland’s David 8 series of androids; Prometheus Transmission – the broadcast message sent by the Prometheus to the Engineers on LV-223 ahead of their arrival; and Ted Conference, 2023 – the infamous video of young Weyland expounding with much hubris about the future he’s creating for humanity at TED. Each of these is accompanied by text essays written by Weyland himself, as if from his own personal journal. They’re interesting in that, among other things, they hint at the transmission on LV-426 (from the original Alien), that the Blade Runner and Alien universes may be one and the same and other fascinating (and clearly retconned after the film was finished) details.

 

Disc Three – Special Features (Blu-ray)

Disc Three contains the lion’s share of this set’s bonus features… which is both good and bad. It’s good because the disc’s actual content is fantastic. It’s bad because you can only get this disc by purchasing the 4-Disc Collector’s Edition of the film – if all you care about is 2D you’re forced to buy the larger package to get everything.

The disc itself is broken into two parts: The feature-length documentary The Furious Gods: Making Prometheus and a Weyland Corp Archive of additional content. The Furious Gods runs a whopping 220 minutes and is broken into 9 segments. Simply put, it covers the production of the film from its early inception right up until its ultimate release and it does so in absolutely exhaustive detail, granting you unparalleled access to virtually every moment of the process you might wish to see, all presented in full HD. Interested in the film’s larger ideas, its conceptual design, the stunt work, the 3D filmmaking process, the sound and editing, the creature design evolution? It’s all here. You see everything and hear from virtually everyone of any importance that worked on the project. All of it is wonderful material and thoroughly enjoyable if you loved the film. The only criticism one could really level here is that, if you didn’t love the film, this is probably way more detail than some of you need.

The documentary is itself supported by more than 20 of its own Enhancement Pod video featurettes (over an hour of additional footage), which cover more obscure aspects of the production that didn’t quite it in the main program. Ironically, this is among the most interesting material on the disc, as it addresses such questions as: Why call the film Prometheus? Why isn’t the planet in the film the same one from Alien even though it would seem to be? Just how connected are the Alien and Blade Runner universes? When you view the documentary in “enhanced” mode, you not only get to see these additional Pods but also lots of additional production artwork and other gallery material.

Naturally, that gallery material comes straight from the disc’s Weyland Corp Archive, which is broken into a trio of sections. Pre-Production features an exhaustive library of conceptual artwork and imagery, as well as 6 Pre-Vis videos. Production adds screen test footage, a time-lapse video of the set construction and further galleries of extensive unit photography. Finally, Release offers galleries of poster explorations and related artwork, all of the film’s theatrical trailers and TV spots, and 9 additional EPK-style featurettes created specifically to promote the film.

All told, the combined special features content in this set represents well over 7 hours of viewing/listening and/or browsing – enough to satisfy even the most obsessive fan.

 

Disc Four – Prometheus on DVD (and Digital Copy)

The set’s final disc includes the film on a DVD disc in 480p anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, plus a Digital Copy version for mobile devices. There’s also a paper insert in the case with a redemption code for an UltraViolet copy.

 

Like the Star Wars prequels before it, Ridley Scott’s big return to science fiction filmmaking clearly engenders very strong feelings among fans and at such moments it can be hard to remain entirely objective. Love it or hate it, Prometheus certainly left people talking. That’s something I suppose. But whatever of your feelings about the film, Fox’s Blu-ray release is terrific on virtually every count. To that extent at least, this set is recommended.

- Bill Hunt

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