Prometheus is a Wild Sci-Fi Ride
Genre: Science Fiction
Ridley Scott’s return to the science fiction genre delivers a fast-paced and exhilarating science fiction movie experience.
Having watched all of the Alien movies, I think it’s safe to say that I was excited about Prometheus. I’d heard all the rumors that this was an Alien prequel, despite all of Ridley Scott’s denials, and went in not really knowing much about the plot.
The movie starts us off in a gray, bleak landscape with no life apparent. Suddenly a giant ship appears in the sky and leaves behind a single albino humanoid who drinks some black substance that causes him to disintegrate alive and drop into the waterfall he’s been standing next to. DNA strands break apart and recombine and then we’re taken to the year 2089 on the Isle of Skye.
We meet scientists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), who have uncovered a set of glyphs in a cave that date back 35,000 years. The drawings on the wall are familiar to them and we’re then propelled to three years later when they’re aboard the Prometheus, flying into the unknown to track down who they think are the creators of the human race.
The only one on board who is awake is David (Michael Fassbender), an android created by the Weyland Corporation. He watches over his sleeping cargo of human passengers in deep freeze for the voyage, playing basketball, learning languages, and watching movies all by himself on the massive ship. As they near their destination, the team wakes up and we’re treated to surroundings that give off a very subtle air of Alien-esque human ships.
After a quick de-briefing introduced by a full room 3D video by the posthumous Peter Weyland (a very heavily made up Guy Pearce) and Doctors Shaw and Holloway, they fill the team in on the fact that they’ve flown out to the system they think is the home location of what they call the “engineers” of the human race. They’re set to land on the planet to explore shortly.
The ship Prometheus is captained by Janek (Idris Elba) and under the oversight of Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron). Vickers is quick to establish her position aboard the ship with Shaw and Holloway, making sure they understand that despite them leading the research team, she is, in fact, in charge. They land on the planet near what is clearly a made structure and proceed inside to discover their origins, only to find that they don’t like what they’ve uncovered.
The movie builds to the action quite well, weaving the story around the mysterious room filled with odd canisters that begin leaking once they open the door and once that starts the action never really slows down. You’ve probably heard whisperings about a particular scene with Rapace and let me just say that it does not disappoint. It had me gripping the armrests of my theater seat while flinching and cursing under my breath.
While there’s not much to be said for Holloway, the characters David, Shaw, and Janek are all very fascinating with flawless performances delivered by the actors. Vickers is a little too stiff and wooden to be believable as an actual person. In contrast, Fassbender’s David is so spot on that you have a hard time believing he’s a human being outside the film.
A common complaint about the film will probably be the idea of Engineers and how the Prometheus got to that point in the first place because based on what Janek talks about near the climax of the film, it makes one wonder what the point of the glyphs at the start of the movie even meant. The plot, once put under a microscope, begins to falter and some of the important points such as David’s obsession with Shaw are so subtle that many people don’t pick up on it at all.
If you go in wanting a science fiction movie experience, you’ll get one, but picking the film apart afterward can lead to disappointing plot holes that reveal typical Hollywood movie fodder. Despite this, the film’s steady build, actors, and score carry what might, under another director, have been a rather boring film. I ended up seeing it in IMAX, which was a great experience and worth the ticket price.
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