Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron
When a film comes around that is this highly anticipated and/or heavily hyped, it is difficult or perhaps impossible to see it with an open mind. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Prometheus is the Ridley Scott-directed prequel to Aliens, the 1979 film that started the entire franchise. I had managed to avoid seeing any of the trailers and had avoided most of the other hype before seeing the film, but even so, just hearing friends talking about how much they were looking forward to seeing it gave Prometheus quite a bit of pre-release baggage to get through.
I usually react badly to hype and so entered the theatre with some trepidation. Also Hollywood blockbusters are not my first cinematic love, neither are sci-fi thrillers. So, having said all that, I was pleasantly surprised by Prometheus. Visually it’s stunning, the story reaches for something more than a reason for CGI-created monsters to attack each other and the actors and it moved along at a good, spritely pace.
Now in his 70s, Scott is obviously interested in exploring life’s big questions. Prometheus attempts to explain the very origins of human existence. After a short prologue that possibly depicts the answer, we are transported to the year 2089 and a cave located in the Isle Of Skye. There, two archaeologists, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) make a discovery that could reveal the answer.
Fast-forward a few more years and the cave-digging couple find themselves on a scientific spaceship, named Prometheus, bound for a distant moon. The craft is owned by Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) of The Wayland Corporation. The old codger was/is hoping to find a way to cheat death, but by the looks of him, he already lost.
So, Shaw and Holloway are part of a crew that includes Mission Director Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), Captain Janek (Idris Elba) and android manservant David (Michael Fassbender), among others. While David is a non-human, he is initially, the most interesting. As the rest of the crew travels in a state of suspended animation, David goes about his business watching old movies (Lawrence Of Arabia) and shooting hoops. He also seems to display more human-like emotions that would be expected of a robot.
Charlize Theron’s Vickers is a platinum blonde ice queen…sexy and steely. Although she’s working for Weyland, she seems to have plans of her own.
So, that sets the stage. As sci-fi plots go, this one is fairly meaty.
But don’t worry, there are also plenty of, literally, gut-wrenching scenes when aliens and humans interact in a typically gruesome fashion. Probably the one that make me look away from the screen the longest involved a self-applied C-section, assisted by an automated surgery table.
Probably the most impressive aspect of the film is the way it looks. Production designer Arthur Max and original Alien creative designer H.R. Giger have created an alien world that is truly impressive. With its incredible attention to detail, I was immediately drawn into this world. Also, the 3-D effect is just right for the film. It’s not used as a gimmick, but as another way to make this world more realistic.
Theron and Fassbender give stand-out performance, although I wasn’t completely sold on Noomi Rapace ability to carry her weight as the lead.
The film leaves as many question unanswered as answered, which means….sequels! I believe the plan is for two more instalments in this series. Hopefully the quality of the writing and directing will hold up throughout the next two films.