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Prometheus (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

With the release of Alien: Covenant on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray, its predecessor Prometheus easily lent itself to piggy backing with it on release date. A pretty simple upgrade for the 2012 Ridley Scott film. A film at odds with its audience, I find Prometheus a film I’m always eager and happy to revisit for another look. I’d like to thank Brian for ponying this one over to me, as he was originally going to cover this one, but things fell the way they did and he offered it to me.  He did cover the original Blu-ray release of the film, so if you like his Alien: Covenant review from last week and would like to go back and check out his full thoughts on Prometheus, you can go back and read them HERE. Prometheus is available now on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray (Street date was August 15th) and you can pre-order from the link below (If its working, if not, be patient, it’ll probably come back soon).

Film 

The discovery of a clue to mankind’s origins on Earth leads a team of explorers to the darkest parts of the universe. Two brilliant young scientists lead the expedition. Shaw hopes that they will meet a race of benevolent, godlike beings who will in some way verify her religious beliefs, while Holloway is out to debunk any spiritual notions. However, neither the scientists nor their shipmates are prepared for the unimaginable terrors that await them.

Back in 2012, Prometheus was apparently going to change the world. Ridley Scott’s return to the well that jump started his career had so much hype for it that it unfortunately was never going to live up to it. Though it was met with good reviews and a really good box office take, it became one of those “after the fact” movies where people decided to turn on it. There are some solid complaints to be had with the film (Tell your damn story in this movie, worry about a sequel/trilogy/spin off later), but for the most part, I think people forget what the original Alien film was to begin with: A haunted house/slasher movie in space. And Prometheus is no different. It hangs a heavy prestige on it, in terms of craft and the other ideas its selling itself as, but overall, it is what it is.

Ridley Scott, when he wants to be, can be quite the visionary as we’ve seen in the original Alien and Blade Runner. Prometheus is of that ilk as just set photos had people foaming at the mouth for this movie. It looks gorgeous. Everything in it feels as if each shot may have been extremely well calculated. Its accompanied by a beautiful, understated and at the same time epic score that reminds you of something like Solaris. Having all this high class stuff does backfire when something from the script doesn’t match up or a bit of dialogue feels kinda wacky, and things just don’t look like they fit together.

Aside from little pinpoint, plot and the cool sci-fi look, whateveyou, Prometheus does deliver quite well in the horror department. There are some incredibly haunting set designs and you almost feel right back home in the first movie, but still unsure because this is different. There are more primitive looking creature designs to go along with some interesting sort of infected body horrors. It features many a moment that might have you wince and some to make you gag. Scott also includes a scene that he fought to keep as it was in the movie (And the R rating) that features Noomi Rapace’s Shaw in a machine trying to remove a being impregnated in her. And folks, say what you will about the movie, there’s no denying this sequence is an all timer.

Prometheus is a terrific hybrid of science fiction and pulpy haunted house/slasher horror. As time passes and I view it more, I grow fonder for the film despite some misgivings I may still have with it. With this review I wanted to highlight more on that stuff, because any problems I may have had are really quite minuscule after my revisits as I know what I’m getting and am beyond expectation. The film crosses between super thoughtful and popcorn scary movie thrills. And it may only feel odd because its never in a balance of both, it jumps from one to another. But, in my opinion that just helps to keep someone unsettled. I think its going to be relooked with a better appreciation down the line. Ridley Scott has put together a really well made and acted film, even if the script has couple areas of issue here and there. Its also a very refreshing, different (Yet similar) welcome entry into the Alien world.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Here is the only part of this release that is any different from the standard Blu-ray that you already own. Prometheus comes to 4K Ultra-HD video, and is it worth the upgrade. In my estimation, yes. Fox has taken an already spectacular looking Blu-ray and filled in the cracks, holes or whatever possible there could have been with the previous one and bumped it up for this release. Its a much more crisp, sharper and detailed image, spouting off more confidence than before. It has better black levels and improves the color in appropriate spots. Details like the debris during the storms on the planet, the side of the outside of the ship, the lovely Giger-like interiors or even just a scratch, dirt or fingerprint on the fishbowl portion of the helmets is groovy. Even hair follicles are pretty clean and distinct throughout. I find this to be a nice jump from an already great looking Blu-ray. I’ll be interested to see what some others may think.

Depth:  With the 4K bump, Prometheus grabs an even more confident image, that runs much smoother and cleaner with camera and character movements. This film was a 3-D movie shot intended for such, and with that comes a really good foreground and background relationship in terms of pushback and distancing. Some camera sweeps have some really cool effect.

Black Levels: Blacks are a thing of beauty here in the image. Well saturated, and quite dark and deep with details still coming through with no issues on being hidden. The interiors of the engineer ship still rein eerie with their xenomorph-esque texture quite apparent and all the little ins and outs very viewable. No crushing witnessed during this viewing for the review.

Color Reproduction: There’s a great appreciation for how the colors look here. Clothing, like the blue spacesuits and the orange coats and such on Scotland in the intro look nice, full a lift enough off the screen. HDR is applied a lot to computer/hologram readouts and displays. Greens, purples, blues and such really pop and give a three dimensional vibe thanks to how glowing they are. The “pups” provide some really cool red blasts as they readout the corridors. The yellow lights in the spacesuits also give a nice as well as flashlights. Whites surprisingly make a strong showing here with the playback “video” of the engineers running down the halls. Of course, the orange fire looks good, that seems to be something that most 4K upgrades seem to get right. Overall, Prometheus doesn’t go overboard on the HDR where it doesn’t need to, it stays true with how the film is intended to look, and stays grim where it should be.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and have a consistent appearance from the start of the journey until its conclusion. Facial details like stubble, sweat beads, dried blood, veins, make-u, lip texture, bumpy skin, wrinkles, dried blood and anything you really can imagine seeing is clear from close-ups and medium shots to even some that are far away. Pete Weylands face shows every bit of his age at all time and the simplicity of the engineer faces are on full glossy display.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English 5.1 Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 DTS, Spanish (Castilian) 5.1 DTS, German 5.1 DTS, Italian 5.1 DTS,

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Spanish (Castilian), Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Chinese, Japanese

Dynamics: Luckily, Prometheus featured a top of the line 7.1 DTS-HD MA audio track when it came to standard Blu-ray/Blu-ray 3D, because there is no Dolby Atmos upgrade here. So, you’ve heard the movie like this already. Its a very good, well thought out and incredibly well engineered mix. From the lovely sounding score to the rampaging dread we find in the terror, everything is well designed, placed and layered. This track received raves back in 2012, and those still hold up.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: You subwoofer roars with ambiance that pushes terror as well as the roaring storm, flames, engines, gunfire, otherworldly growls and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: You’re covered here, as every room, exterior and all environments are thought up to keep you engaged and feeling part of the action. The speakers all get to have distinct noises and nuances as well as help to build the ambiance and take over from a motions. Said motions are accurate as well as marking the distance of a sound.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is crisp, clear, very audible at all times, right down to the breath or exhale of a finished line.

Extras 

Prometheus comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and an UltraViolet digital copy. The bonus features are all featured on the Blu-ray disc (aside from the commentaries), which is the same release available previously.

Audio Commentaries – There are not one, but two audio commentaries to be found here.  The first one features Director/Producer Ridley Scott as he basically describes everything in great detail.  You won’t be lost with this one.  The second audio commentary track features Writer John Spaihts and Writer/Executive Producer Damon Lindelof as they basically talk about all things story.  Very interesting!

Deleted and Alternate Scenes (HD) – Normally I hate watching these deleted scenes.  I always believe there are a reason they got cut so why should I waste my time with them.  But not here.  I dove head over heels into the below scenes trying to gather as much information as I possibly could about anything in the story I may have missed the last four times I watched the feature.  There are approximately 37-minutes worth of goodies here complete with optional commentary too, which I highly recommend listening to.  I broke them all down individually below, complete with runtime lengths.  They are all rendered in glorious High-Definition.  WARNING:  THE FOLLOWING HIGHLIGHTS CONTAINS SPOILERS.

  • Arrival of the Engineers (2:45) – This early cut of the film’s intro scene features the sacrificial Engineer with several of his comrades, including an elder one and dialogue.
  • T’is the Season (1:07) – A little more dialogue between Janek and Vickers around the Christmas tree.
  • Our First Alien (00:51) – An alien species is discovered in the dark, black running waters.
  • Skin (00:51) – Milburn and Fifield make a discovery.
  • We’re Not Alone Anymore (1:32) – Shaws presents a toast to their feats, but her lover, Holloway, does not join in the celebration.
  • Strange Bedfellows (3:11) – This is a different take on the bedroom scene with Shaw and Holloway.
  • Holloway Hungover (1:35) – An extended version of the afterglow between Shaw and Holloway.
  • David’s Objective (00:31) – Tension between David and Vickers!  Just an extra scene here, that’s all.
  • Janek Fills Vickers In (3:43) – Janek tells Vickers a story.  I didn’t really care for this one.  It seemed too forced.
  • A King Has His Reign (3:56) – This is merely an extended version of the scene between Vickers and her father.
  • Fifield Attacks (2:14) – I wished they used this scene instead of the one they did.  This one shows a more mutated alien-like creature we are all fond of rather than the more human approach they ultimately went with.
  • The Engineer Speaks (4:23) – Here’s a longer version of when David awakens the Engineer for Weyland.  If my opinion matters, I’m okay with this one being cut.
  • Final Battle (5:51) – I loved this scene.  Unfortunately, it did not make the cut in favor of a quicker final battle between the lone, pissed-off Engineer and Shaw.
  • Paradise (5:20) – This extended scene reveals new information about the Engineer’s homeworld, where Shaw is going next and more chatter between her and David.

The Peter Weyland Files (HD, 18:57) – These are a collection of internet promo videos courtesy of Mr. Weyland, which talk about the signals they have received from an unknown distant planet (a tip of the hat to the original Alien film) and whatnot.  There are four videos in total here:

  • Quiet Eye: Elizabeth Shaw
  • Happy Birthday, David
  • Prometheus Transmission
  • TED Conference, 2023

Second Screen App – The Blu-ray also provides exclusive access to the Prometheus Weyland Corp Archive – Second Screen App.  Experience the Prometheus Blu-ray in an all-new way by syncing the movie with your tablet or smart phone for the ultimate interactive experience.

Summary 

I’m happy to say, I remain a fan of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus and grow fonder as time goes by and each time I return to it. Thanks to Alien: Covenant, its come to 4K Ultra-HD when it has. Now, there is on 1 difference between this and the standard Blu-ray and that’s the 4K image. And image that is precise, crisp and play very well. One that is indeed a step up from its already superb Blu-ray presentation. The pricepoint right now might be a tad high for quick replacement, but let it drop to the $14.99 range and its worth the jump.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

2 Responses to “Prometheus (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Dave Follin

    Although I like it better the second time, it still let me down and pissed me off. The visuals were great and love your review as always, Brandon!

  2. Brian White

    How does it piss you off and let you down? Not enough of the alien creatures? I am just curious as every time I watch Prometheus I love it more and more.