On a mission to LV-223 to attempt to discover our origins, the crew of the Prometheus discovers more than they expected.
Set is the same universe as director Ridley Scott‘s Alien, Prometheus is an ambitious science fiction film that borders on greatness while providing a fascinating treatise on faith, religion, belief, and evolution. To me, it offered these ideas and seemed to attempt to tie them all together. It is a very entertaining film, but some of the ideas presented are difficult to absorb or comprehend. While I had no problems understanding the film, in the days since I saw it, I find that has become a different sort of monster. It is a return to smart sci-fi. A return to high-brow filmmaking that is the opposite of the current crop of science fiction. This is not Transformers. This is not a film that will awe you with it’s explosions. It asks that you use your brain while watching and doesn’t offer you all the answers to the questions it asks.
When Dr.’s Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover star maps around Earth from unconnected cultures, they take this as an invitation to find our creators, or ‘Engineers’. Flash forward a few years and the Dr.’s are aboard the Prometheus, a space ship sent out by an elderly Peter Weyland (an unrecognizable Guy Pearce). Along with the crew, they get more than they bargained for when they land on LV-223. I will spoil no more of the plot. This is a stunning story that deserves to be left unspoiled.
Ridley Scott has always had a a unique vision for his films. While I am not a fan of some of his work, I can honestly say that every one of his films is beautiful to watch. Prometheus is no exception. From the opening scenes to the very end of the film, this is a stunningly gorgeous film that will win the Oscar for cinematography. Even if you can’t appreciate the story being told, you will find your eyes are loving all the eye candy.
The performances are also amazing, in particular Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) and Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class, Shame). Ms. Rapace brings a hidden strength to her role, much like Sigourney Weaver brought to the original Alien. She begins as a petite academic, and throughout the course of the film discovers the strength hidden inside her, much like Ripley did. Her journey parallels that of Ripley, just in a different setting, and is an empowering role for her in American cinema. Mr. Fassbender plays David, an android that has a tenuous connection to Peter Weyland. His performance is simply stunning and also parallels Alien’s Ash (Ian Holm). Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce also turn in the strong performances that they are well know for. These two never seem to phone in their skills, and they elevate this film.
As I’ve stated before, the story will not be for everyone. It expects you to bring your brain into the theater, and in the summer movie season, this is a lot to ask. This is not an action film. This is a thinking person’s science fiction film. It should also be stated that there is a fair amount of horror. While this is not the straight up, balls-to-the-wall horror film that Alien is, there are scenes of absolute terror. I found myself creeped out by a couple of the scenes, in particular a C-Section scene that is not for the faint of heart (I almost had to look away, it was almost too intense). While the horror may be off putting for some people, I think the themes explored may be too much for a lot people. The questions that the film raises are somewhat controversial and will not be for everyone. Religion, faith, evolution, creationism are all themes explored in the context of this film. While it never really answers the questions it raises, Prometheus expects you to think about and analyze what is presented.
While this story is set in the same universe as the Alien franchise, it is not directly tied to the original film. It does not tie into Alien. It is not a bridge between two stories. It is a prequel of some sort, but mainly because it takes place earlier than Alien. While there are elements that are recognizable in the design, and you do finally find out what the ‘Space Jockey‘ is, you do not find out how it got to LV-426.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I am actually looking forward to seeing it again soon to see what I missed. There is an amazing amount of ideas and visual references in the film and I know that there are some things that I missed. While I can’t go on record as saying it is a masterpiece (at this time; that may change on second viewing), I can go on record and say that I was very, very pleased with this film. It wasn’t what I expected, and that is a great thing. It is a thinking person’s film. If you want to give your brain a workout, take a look at this film.
*Note* I saw this in 3D. While I am not a huge fan of 3D, I found that this in 3D didn’t detract from the viewing experience. It was filmed in 3D, so if you have a choice to see it in 3D, I would recommend it. This is not a post-conversion hack job. Also, when I manage to see this in the theater again, if I have new thoughts or other issues, I will update this review.
***1/2 out of ****