Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Loan Marshall-Green, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall and Charlize Theron
Written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof
Directed by Ridley Scott
Much has been made over Ridley Scott’s return to Science Fiction, and more specifically to the universe he launched with 1979’s seminal sci-fi/horror masterpiece, Alien. Just as much hype has been made by Scott himself, downplaying the whole connection to the Alien franchise, and as it turns out, rightfully so. Prometheus is very heavy on the SCI part of the equation and very light on everything else as Scott goes completely cerebral for a film clearly inspired more by 2001: A Space Odyssey than his own Alien.
Prometheus begins with a sprawling montage of beautiful vistas and landscapes that we soon discover are not earth, but a foreign planet similar to our own. A very humanoid looking, extremely pale white alien appears near a waterfall and we watch as he ingests a liquid that causes his demise. We then flash back to Earth. On the Isle of Sky in the Northern Highlands of Scotland we are introduced to doctors Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Marshall-Green) who have made a discovery dating back generations in the caves of the isle. The film then jumps forward many years to the space vessel “Prometheus” and we are introduced to the only being awake (the rest of the crew is in cryostasis), the android David (Fassbender). David has spent his time alone awaiting the end of the journey, over two years, killing time with many pursuits and developing what may be an unnatural fascination with Shaw. Upon their arrival we meet the crew of the Prometheus: Vickers (Theron), the corporate representative, Janek (Elba), the ship’s Captain, Fifield (Harris), a geologist, and Millburn (Spall), another scientist, along with others. The crew are then told by Shaw and Holloway that their benefactor Peter Weyland (Pearce, nearly unrecognizable) has sent them to this remote planet to meet the being they feel all humans were spawned from. Upon investigating a strange ruin on the planet’s surface the crew discovers the remains of some of these beings, and David discovers something else. As the group is forced back to the ship under unforeseen complications, they manage to leave Fifield and Millburn behind and they must stay the night, exploring the ruins in what may not be the best of ideas. And what exactly is David’s agenda aboard the ship?
Prometheus looks beautiful. It ranks with Hugo and Avatar as the prime examples of what a talented filmmaker can do to master a medium that other directors are merely toying around with. Rapace shines as the film’s central character, the sequence with an unexpected visitor is particularly riveting and brilliant. Fassbender’s David is the perfect mix of naivety with a sinister core that makes his character the most dangerous aboard the ship. Theron’s performance is adequate, though she’s given little to do here. That said, the scenes she does have don’t always work the best. Elba’s basically the cigar chomping police chief from every late 80’s early 90’s cop film you can think off, but it works. And you clearly tell he’s having a blast doing it. Pearce is barley in the film and under so much makeup as to make him unrecognizable, yet he still does a good job. The rest of the supporting cast is strong in their roles, leading to one of the strongest cast performances of the year.
The real question to be answered here is ‘will this fulfill the expectations of the many Alien franchise fans that will cram the multiplexes this weekend?’ And that’s a tough question. I believe Prometheus is the type of film that will play better with a second viewing. With all the baggage that everyone will inevitably bring into the film, the more cerebral approach will undoubtedly be disappointing for most. But those that can see beyond that and delve into the characters and the story that is presented will most certainly get much more out of the film. It’s the lack of previous baggage going into a second screening that I feel will make it a more successful and enveloping experience.
Ultimately, Prometheus is a stunning looking film with many ideas about the evolution of both species and the Alien species. Its visuals and performances alone alone make this a recommend, and I certainly hope I’m right about my hunch when I see it for the second time.
Till Next Time,
Movie Junkie TO
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