By: Bryan Montgomery
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Ridley Scott’s Alien was the pioneering film that kick-started the present generation of science fiction, outer space films. Blade Runner only cemented Scott’s legacy as an incredible and talented filmmaker. In 2012 eager fanboys awaited with bated breath his next foray into science fiction. Prometheus hit theaters to a wide array of anticipation, rewarding its viewers with an beautiful and engrossing, albeit somewhat confusing and convoluted story surrounding the origins of creation.
After finding similar cave markings from several eras in caves all over the planet, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) convince the Weyland Corporation to send a team to LV-223, a moon able to sustain life, to investigate the mysterious markings. But as the scientists come closer and closer to discovering the secrets within a massive structure they find on the planet, they encounter forces more terrifying and powerful than they could have imagined.
Prometheus’ story was kept secret for the longest time, as a great number of fans thought that this film was going to be a direct prequel to Alien. Although fans of the series will definitely see small nods to the franchise here and there throughout the film, including some solid payoffs near the climax, Prometheus stands on its own as a high-quality story and should be viewed that way. Comparing Prometheus to Alien is going to happen, however whereas Alien was a film about visceral scares, Prometheus is much more of a thinking man’s science-fiction film, asking the big questions and offering a director’s perspective on the answers.
The cast of the film is outstanding. Scott put together a high-caliber cast for this film, as Rapace becomes a new version of Sigourney Weaver’s famous Ripley, a headstrong, independent woman character who is thrust into an uncompromising position. Charlize Theron plays her second role in as many weeks (Snow White and the Huntsman) as the antagonistic character in the film, playing the role of a company executive who was placed on the ship to make sure that everything went according to plan.
But it is Michael Fassbender who steals this show as David, an android who was put in charge of the safekeeping of the crew during their voyage. But as is customary with Scott’s films, the androids are usually the ones up to the most mischief, which is the case with David as well. As the film goes on and the android’s true intentions are known, Prometheus truly hits its stride and goes into overdrive for the remainder of the film. I’m not going to put Fassbender’s performance in the same vein as Ian Holm’s performance in Alien because we knew from the outset that David was an Android, unlike Ash.
The film is essentially split into three acts. The discovery and exploration of the planet, the inherent danger from the planet and the third act where everything dissolves into complete chaos. Interwoven throughout is an attempt by Scott to deliberately voice the possibility of an extraterrestrial species originating life on Earth. This is where Prometheus walks a precarious and dangerous path. Many will roll their eyes at the over exaggerated and prolonged talks surrounding highly philosophical subjects, but at the same time the film was working towards this point. The plot is not action-packed or white-knuckle and can be confusing at times, but it is engrossing and entertaining.
Fans of Alien that are expecting Prometheus to be a direct prequel to the 1979 classic are going to be disappointed, but the movie does have a great deal of connections in its third act. The danger level rises exponentially and those that have avoided the spoiler-filled trailers and TV spots are going to find a lot to like in the final 20-30 minutes.
That said, I was hoping for a bit more from this movie at the end. There were a few scares here and there, some blood and gore here and there, but at the end there is a feeling that there should be more than what was offered. I won’t go so far as saying that I was immensely disappointed by the film, but in regards to Ridley Scott’s return to sci-fi film making, this movie ends up registering as just a blip on the radar, far from the game-changer we all expected.
Prometheus is a spectacle. Visually you will be hard-pressed to find a better-looking film, but beauty is only skin deep in this film. There are plot holes and most will leave the theater scratching their heads, but in the end that is what makes and breaks Prometheus. The film is worth a watch just so you can pass your own judgment on it, as I found the film to fall short of expectations but still perform admirably, ranking in the upper echelon of Scott-directed films.