“Ridley Scott is still a director with a strong and individual vision. Prometheus proves that he still has a passion for science fiction as a genre and as a way of telling multifaceted stories that are both inhumane and humane.”
Science fiction, horror and action
Starring - Noomi Rapace, Elizabeth Shaw, Michael Fassbender/David, Charlize Theron/Meredith Vickers, Idris Elba/Janek, Guy Pearce/Peter Weyland, Logan Marshall-Green/Charlie Holloway, Sean Harris/Fifield, Rafe Spall/Millburn, Emun Elliott/Chance and Benedict Wong/Ravel
Director - Ridley Scott
Writers - Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof
Rated R - sci-fi violence including some intense images, and brief language
1 hr., 4 min.
Prometheus is Ridley Scott’s long awaited return to science fiction and it was definitely worth the wait! Director Ridley Scott has dabbled in all three of my favorite genres: science fiction – Blade Runner, horror – Alien and fantasy – Legend. Out of these three, only Legend is a failure, while Blade Runner and Alien are not only successes, but are considered by many (myself included) to be modern film classics. For this reason, I was looking forward to seeing Prometheus more for what Scott would do in the science fiction genre, than what he would do with the story as it related to Alien. Is Prometheus a prequel to Alien? Yes, it definitely is in regard to story, but not so much in its stylistic or thematic approaches.
“A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race…” or so says the promotional description for the film. The team of explorers is a crew of scientists and ordinary astronauts. The ship they fly in, the Prometheus is paid for by the Weyland Corporation. The crew are all employees of Weyland Corporation as well; with the exception of David, who is an android that was built by them. The founder of Weyland Corporation, Peter Weyland has funded the expedition to a star system that was found in several ancient illustrations discovered by the archeological couple Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway. It is his and their belief that the “engineers” are a race of superior alien beings, who have seeded the Earth with their own DNA in order to promote intelligent life there and that the planet that they are traveling to will lead them to the engineers home world. Once there, they hope to be able to ask the engineers why they were created and for what purpose. When the crew awakens from hyper-sleep, they are already in orbit around the distant moon LV-223, their destination. They land the ship on LV-223, close to a huge structure that resembles an ancient building, but is much more.
To reveal any more of the story of Prometheus would give away too many of the interesting plot revelations and narrative twists. I will say that the story itself, while thought-provoking on its own - and indeed produces a fair amount of interesting ideas - is not the strongest element of Prometheus. Part of this is due to a lack of a definitive payoff at the end of the film. All the big questions that are asked at the beginning of the film are not satisfactorily answered at the end of the film. I do wonder why these deeper questions were brought up, only to be mostly ignored throughout the film. Still, the character story arcs, for the most part, are wrapped up satisfactorily and that is an important aspect of the film.
The reason that the characters are so important to Prometheus is because each of the characters represents a differing viewpoint to the idea that aliens may be the originators of the human race. The central viewpoint character is Elizabeth Shaw, one of the archeologists who have gathered the ancient Earth artifacts that contain the message from the engineers. Throughout the film she wears a cross on a chain around her neck, signifying that she has faith in a higher power. Because of this, she looks to the aliens not as gods, but merely as the hands of god and not mankind’s true creator. Her drive to get to the truth behind the engineers is what carries Prometheus. In contrast to Shaw is David, the android manufactured by Weyland Corporation, who is programed with the singular purpose of finding an engineer alien alive and gaining information that is vital to his programmer. David, being an emotionless android, never questions the purpose of the mission or appears to care for its success or not. What makes David interesting is his pacifistic outward demeanor that seems to hide a deeper and more ominous purpose. Meredith Vickers is the head of the mission and the lead representative of Weyland Corp. Her cool demeanor and anti-social behavior give her an enigmatic air, as she apparently sees Prometheus and her crew only as investments. Her external motivation seems only to see the safe return of Weyland property and she seems skeptical about even the existence of the engineers. These three characters are the driving force of Prometheus, because as the film progresses and the story becomes more complex, each of these characters demonstrates more depth of character and purpose than was initially apparent. Prometheus is a film that definitely derives as much story from its characters as it does from its philosophical elements or external conflicts.
Prometheus is not all internal character struggles or theological vs. scientific ruminations. It also has many physical conflicts with the various alien creatures that the crew encounters on the alien satellite. While the film takes some time to set up these encounters, once they do occur they continue on almost without ceasing. Fans of Scott’s ability to craft atmospheric dread will not be disappointed by several sequences that take place on both the terrain and on Prometheus. One of the most disturbing and frightening sequences in the film features Shaw in a mêlée with an alien creature in a truly unique manner. Prometheus not only delivers visceral alien thrills on multiple levels, but in manifold ways and methods.
Ridley Scott is still a director with a strong and individual vision. Prometheus proves that he still has a passion for science fiction as a genre and as a way of telling multifaceted stories that are both inhumane and humane. Anyone who has a love of science fiction and its depiction in cinema should see Prometheus.
TECHNICAL: Acting – 9 Directing – 10 Cinematography – 10 Script – 9 Special Effects – 10
VISCERAL: Visual – 10 Auditory – 9 Intellectual – 9 Emotional – 9 Involvement – 10
TOTAL RATING – 95