Explores man’s greatest question…How did we get here?
Many have the opinion that life on Earth began in one of two ways. We were created by a divine intelligence, or life was planted here by an alien life form. Personally, these are the only two options I can muster as a philosophical probability, however no theory currently has measurable scientific validity.
Critics of the film complain that questions were never answered, but why would a director, producer, writer, etc. pick a side as to alienate a large portion of their target audience? It’s a question that cannot be answered, and in a film the general audience is supposed to enjoy, should not be answered. Prometheus was the most enjoyable movie I’ve seen in the last couple of years, but certainly will not be everyone’s cup of tea i.e. those who do not enjoy gory sci-fi horrors.
A Compelling premise
The film begins with majestic landscape fly-overs, reminiscent of nature IMAX cinematography. Unforgiving terrain eerily graded in a grayish cast, illustrating that this realm is devoid of life. A breathtaking sequence ensues, dramatizing how the first living organisms were spread onto the dead planet by a humanoid life form.
Jump forward millions of years, and we meet a couple of rather young scientists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Halloway (Logan Marshall-Green) who are on an expedition. They discover a cave painting that contains a star constellation dot pattern which is found in several other artworks from ancient civilizations around the globe. The dots perfectly match a star cluster visible in a galaxy far far away. The only thing left to do is take a long voyage.
Once the humans reach the planet to meet their creators, parasitic alien species pick off the crew one by one.
A robot named David (Michael Fassbender) runs the ship during the multi-year journey while the human passengers remain in a suspended sleep. Fassbender’s portrayal of the android is pure genius. On one hand there is a human quality and on the other the coldness of a machine with programmed functions. Truly one of the more memorable performances in recent years.
Some of the characters fell into typical genre template roles. Choices made by Charlie Halloway’s character didn’t make for a very believable scientist. And also some of the first ‘victims’ made head scratching decisions, but their termination was satisfying enough to overlook the idiocy. Bottom line, it’s a summer popcorn flick so I can live with a little bit of cheese. Wasn’t worse than anything present in “The Avengers.”
Noomi Rapace did a fine job as Elizabeth Shaw, and also delivered some memorable scenes. Charlize Theron plays Meredith Vickers, the corporate entity overseeing the voyage. Surprisingly, her character was a bit tertiary, but strong and engaging nonetheless.
Most visually stunning movie I have ever seen
I was just thinking the other day, when are we going to get that wow factor similar to what Avatar provided. Prometheus rivals the visuals of the aforementioned film in R-rated fashion.
The landscapes seem incredibly large in scale and have a sinister and eery quality to them. I believe many were shot practically with supplemental effects added. The main vfx vendors MPC and WETA once again provide us with amazing eye candy integrating the cgi seamlessly and realistically. The creatures, sets, and environments were beautifully conceived. Top notch design all the way around. Ridley Scott’s vision is truly a sight to behold.
The 3D aspect adds to the experience and I don’t remember any gimmicky shots. However the glasses give me a headache from the weight on the arch of my nose. It looked like it was filmed natively.
Not the prequel some were hoping for.
I watched the other Alien films, but not in quite some time. They were great, but I can’t recall much in terms of plot lines, underlying themes, or unanswered questions. Let’s not get the genre of the previous films twisted, they are horror movies. Few things in cinema I find more boring than exposition of obscure references in past films/books that only the the hard-core fans are aware of. That, and pitting every ‘foreign’ character with the Queen’s English, but I digress.
Prometheus doesn’t try to be a prequel that explains everything about the other Alien films. It’s an epic sci-fi horror with a profound premise that can stand on it’s own two feet. The genre’s requirements are satisfied in extraordinary fashion. Prometheus leaves an open door for more films and also gives birth to the other Alien movies.
Would I watch it again?
The premise and subject matter that drove Prometheus hooked me from the beginning. I was on guard to see which direction Ridley Scott would take the life origin thesis and couldn’t help but wonder if there was some sort of agenda attempting to be pushed. Thankfully, the decision was made to leave certain questions unanswered, and when that clarity came to fruition, the overall value of the film was elevated in my opinion.
There are some sketchy character decisions and apparently, answers are not completely spelled out, but I still enjoyed this film from beginning to end. A truly memorable performance by Fassbender as the android David, insanely cool effects, grand landscapes, Oscar worthy Art Direction, maybe I’m easy to please, but this movie surpassed expectations. I’m going to try and catch this in theaters again with a group of friends who enjoy sci-fi horror. My wife on the other hand, was not impressed.