Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green
Runtime: 124 minutes
Ridley Scott’s latest film is one that I had minimal interest in at the beginning of the year. Sir Ridley has been very much hit-or-miss with his work in the last decade, and a return to the deteriorating Alien universe seemed to have all the makings for another disappointment. But then the viral marketing kicked in.
First it was a video of Guy Pearce, as the character Peter Weyland, delivering a speech about his vision for the future. Soon after came a new batch of breathtaking promotional images. Longer trailers were released, as were teaser clips. In April, a video clip introducing the David 8, a robot played by Michael Fassbender, began making its rounds. My level of anticipation began to grow with each new piece of promo material, and by the end of May I was genuinely excited to see what Prometheus had to offer.
While the movie’s marketing campaign ranks as one of the all-time greats, it may have been a little *too* good. Could a film looking this awesome possibly deliver the goods? Well, yes and no.
As far as recent sci-fi films go, Prometheus is one of the better ones I have seen. I am generally not a huge sci-fi guy, but I was hooked right from the beginning. It helps that the film’s concept is an intriguing one — one that asks all sorts of questions.
Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green star as Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway, respectively, an archaelogist couple that has discovered an amazing star map that may shed some light on the origin of mankind. After receiving funding from the Weyland Corporation, the duo join the crew of the scientific vessel Prometheus to follow the map and see if their findings are legit. When they reach their destination, it doesn’t take long for the shit to hit the fan. They quickly realize that they are not alone.
Who/what else is on this moon? Why did the star map point in this direction? Is this really the home of the creators of the human race? What’s up with this black gooey stuff? Why is there a giant statue head inside this large dome? Why is there a decapitated body inside? What does all this mean?
The characters, not to mention all of us viewers, ask so many questions but get so few answers in return (certainly not unexpected given that Lost creator Damon Lindelof co-wrote the script). There are some serious thought-provoking ideas in place here, especially when it comes to religion and evolution. Prometheus is one of those movies where you’ll want to talk about it with your friends immediately afterward. There are just so many big ideas mentioned that it would be impossible to get answers for all of them. Undoubtedly, this will infuriate some, but it will at least lead to some fruitful (albeit often polarizing) discussions.
Prometheus is hampered a bit by its batch of characters. With such a large crew on board, it’s difficult for the majority of them to receive fleshed-out storylines, and therefore we don’t really feel too attached to most of them. They also have a habit of falling into sci-fi/horror stereotypes, occasionally acting irrationally for no reason. In a way, this is expected for the genre, but it does feel a bit out of place when compared to the cerebral nature of the overall film.
Regardless of their actions, not enough can be said of the very impressive cast. Noomi Rapace is tremendous to watch as her character evolves into a spiritual successor for Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, and it’s great to see her continue to succeed in Hollywood. The other absolute highlight of the film is Michael Fassbender’s performance as the android, David, in a role not too far off from 2001‘s HAL 9000. Quite simply, he owns the screen every time he makes an appearance. Charlize Theron fits in well as the supervisor from Weyland Corporation, a strong assertive female with a strict set of rules for her ship. I was also particularly pleased with Idris Elba (Stringer f’n Bell) and his charismatic ways as the vessel’s captain.
Prometheus is a visually stunning film that delivers some impressive eye candy (which everyone can enjoy), and it has a killer concept with a bunch of great ideas. It doesn’t quite live up to its lofty potential and excessive hype, but it’s still a damn good sci-fi film that is engrossing from beginning to end. Fans expecting a direct prequel to Alien will be disappointed, but if you go into the movie with an open mind you should walk out mostly satisfied.