Now, this is an interesting one for me. I'll be right up front here. I genuinely think Scott's cut of Prometheus is excellent. Sure, it has a few problems, not least of which lies in the varying quality of the script, but visually I have fallen in love with this film more and more since I've seen it on blu ray a couple of times. Plus, the thing which seems to bug most people about the film - too many questions left unanswered and the like, I think add to the mix even more. So we as an audience have to do some work for once? Good, I say!
However, despite this, the prospect of a fanedit is still an enticing one and the fact that this is debut edit for new faneditor Severian makes it all the more intriguing. So, as I settled down into bed to watch this edit with the lights down and my headphones on, I was excited for a tweaked, more in-depth version of one of my favourite movies of last year.
Straight away Severian makes an impression by starting the film with a much younger Peter Weyland and his speech about taking the next step forward in human evolution. Sure, the breathtaking landscape shots which opened Scott's cut are missed, but it was great to see Guy Pearce without a ton of latex over his face and makes for a gripping, albeit wordy opening. Indeed, the extra character scenes scattered throughout this edit do lend the film a more stable base to build the story upon. More impressive than the inclusion of deleted scenes such as these though, is the way in which Severian trims some of the more awkward or ill-fitting dialogue. For example, Charlie does not come over quite so much of a smug arsehole, meaning you certainly care more for his fate here. Best of all, I must thank you for trimming the scene where Millburn meets and then gets attacked by the white alien worm. Expertly edited and no longer is he treating it as if it's a long lost pet. That was always one of the worst scenes in the original, so brilliant work there!
It was also cool to see the alternate CGI version of the Fifield creature. I'm kinda with Scott on that one, in that I slightly prefered the more human version, but the CGI was nowhere near as bad as I feared it might be, and the scene works perfectly well either way for me.
The only scene which I wasn't too sure upon, was the inclusion of a flashback just after Charlie has been torched. I understand the reasons to do it and I certainly felt more for his plight and certainly for Elizabeth's loss, but it felt a little off for me. Plus, during the initial fade into the flashback the audio editing could have been smoother, as it appears to be very quiet.
On the whole however, editing is very good - particularly for a first time faneditor. There are a couple of transitions which are not as clean as they might be - perhaps more audio work of the crossfade variety may have been needed - but there are certainly no hard cuts to speak of. It's just you do notice something is not quite right on a couple of transitions. But, as I say, it's not enough to worry about and I've seen a hell of a lot worse!
The 1080p MP4 version I watched looked gorgeous, and sonically my ears were very pleased for the most part. I too would very much look forward to a blu ray release of this one.
By the time the end comes around I was suitably impressed with Prometheus Giftbearer. It's a fascinating glimpse of a slightly easier to grasp version of the film, even if at the end of the day it still leaves lots of questions to be answered. Is it any better than Scott's theatrical cut? For me, not really. There's something about the ambiguity of the original Prometheus which makes me love it all the more - sorry, I can't help myself! But, this is to take nothing away from Severian's work on his first edit. It's an excellent debut and I for one look forward to see more of his edits in the future.
Oh, and great audio work on adding a bit more of an "Alien" feel to the last shot. Definitely a must see edit in my eyes.
Before I say anything else, I want to clarify the scores I've given: I've assigned Severian's edit a score of 8/10 for both Narrative and Enjoyment. These should be taken in the context of the scores I would assign the theatrical release (5/10 for Narrative and 6/10 for Enjoyment). Severian has done an excellent job in using the available material to make the best presentation possible of a promising but substantially flawed film, and I want to stress that while I think flaws remain in the film, they remain despite his efforts rather than as a result of them.
I'm very impressed at the new opening sequence; while it doesn't have the breathtaking visuals of the theatrical release, it introduces the film's narrative in a much more cohesive fashion and crucially gives us an introduction to Peter Weyland's character. Given that we're talking about a home viewing, the visual impact of the theatrical opening sequence is limited (at least in contrast with the experience of seeing it at eg an IMAX screen in 3D), so I applaud the decision to focus on the narrative.
I haven't watched the theatrical release since it was at the cinema, but I still recall its numerous distressing faults. Severian has done as good a job as I believe is possible, given the material, to address these issues - the somewhat clunky pacing is improved, the number of instances of Idiot Ball Behaviour is substantially reduced (though sadly the phenomenon is not eliminated entirely), and some of the action sequences are improved through the use of additional material.
I would be lying if I didn't say that there are a couple of moments where the editing leads to abrupt transitions, but these are abrupt in narrative terms and cannot be helped given the available footage.
All in all, there's only one thing I'd change about Severian's edit - personally, I would have removed the epilogue scene with the proto-xenomorph. That tiny issue aside, this is now my preferred cut of the film and I highly doubt I'll ever watch the theatrical release again.
I thought I should also note that I watched this with my OH who generally pays no attention to the fanedit scene outside of what I explicitly bring to her attention; her opinion was that the edit was substantially better than the theatrical release.
This edit is a perfect example of why i love fanedits so much. Severian's take on Prometheus is the film I wished we had seen in cinemas. The film is dramatically improved thanks to the inclusion of the excellent deleted/extended material, but there are many other editing choices that also enhance the experience.
The characters are better fleshed out, the pacing is stronger, the most offensive and idiotic moments have been either removed or fixed (only two moments come to mind where the seams were visible, but nothing too major), and the film feels more assured as a result.
A couple of the newly included scenes contain slightly unfinished effects shots, but in comparison to the original scenes, those included in this edit are superior.
The film still retains a good level of mystery, but now feels more satisfying and complete. There are few fewer loose ends, and the encounter with the Engineer is much better handled than in the original.
Highly recommended. This will be a fanedit I show to many people to try and get them interested in our particular craft.
Congrats Severian, and thanks for making this. Looking forward to the Bluray release whenever you get around to it!