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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Movie Review: Prometheus

In 1979, director Ridley Scott gave us a unique and terrifying science-fiction/horror film that would spark a franchise spanning over 30 years: Alien. While the original film left fans and film-goers alike with many unanswered questions, after several sequels and spin-offs, it was time to start from scratch. 33 years later, Ridley Scott has finally returned to the world of Alien to answer those questions and bring us PROMETHEUS!
In the year 2093, a team of scientists travel to a mysterious alien planet to search for the origins of the human race. "They went looking for our beginning. What they found could be our end."
Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) are archaeologists who search all over the world for evidence that suggests humanity may have extra-terrestrial origins, searching for the so-called "Engineers", they join a scientific expedition on the science vessel Prometheus. Funded by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation run by the elderly Peter Weyland (Guy Pierce), the ship's crew has a unique member, David (Michael Fassbender), an artificial-lifeform created by the corporation. Under the command of Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and Captain Janek (Idris Elba) the 'Prometheus' arrive on an unexplored planet to discover a strange structure. Inside they will discover wonder and horror beyond imagination as the secret of the "Engineers" is revealed!
It all started with Alien (1979) when the crew of the 'Nostromo' first spotted a strange alien ship and found inside what would forever be known as the "Space Jockey" and we all asked: "WTF is that?" From that very scene and set designed by artist H.R. Giger, the foundation of the Aliens mythos began. That one provocative, yet confusing scene is the one element that bridges the gap of over 30 years from Alien to Prometheus and seeks to answer (or tries to) the questions fans have been asking for years. Prometheus the movie is essentially a prequel but also a reboot/re-imagining of the Aliens franchise from the director that started it all. While it's sequel Aliens (1986), directed by James Cameron set the franchise off in a whole new direction Prometheus turns back the pages to the origins of the story as we see just how exactly the alien ship came to be there and what are the origins of the aliens and there horrifying cargo. If you are a fan of the original Alien film, don't go expecting all of your questions to be answered, but although it does provide some revelation, it will still leave you scratching your head.
Space Jockey Comparison (Top:1979, Bottom: 2012)
While Prometheus is a an amazing movie both in concept, story and visuals, it however does not deviate very far from the archetypal Alien plot line thus making it somewhat predictable. It has always been a trademark in the Aliens franchise to have strong female characters (i.e. Ripley/Sigourney Weaver), that is usually the sole-survivor of the alien massacre. With Prometheus and the main character Elizabeth Shaw, played by Swedish actress Noomi Rapace (from the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) trilogy) it has a similar outcome. With the inclusion of Michael Fassbender's David character as an android, who plays it much colder than his robotic predecessor Ash (Ian Holm) in Alien (1979), almost like a blond Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. In Prometheus, we are introduced to David very early and it is revealed rather plainly that he is in fact a "robot", however in Alien, the discovery of Ash as a robot is one of the terrifying plot-twists of the story. David's actions in the movie are another predictable element in the movie as he is the one who withholds information from the crew and is of course the instigator of the crew's troubles. The crew of the Prometheus is the typical motley crew of various scientists and experts, often with their own eccentricities or "does not play well with others" attitude who usually don't live very long. This dysfunctional teamwork aspect of the movie is even more apparent in the relationship with the Prometheus' command crew: Vickers, a very cold, by-the-book woman, who works for the company, and Capt. Janek, who merely "fly's the ship", a fact he makes very clear quite often in the movie. Prometheus is not without it's intense and gory moments, which is not uncommon with the Aliens franchise. Ever since the first chest-burster exploded out of Kane's (John Hurt) torso in Alien (1979), there has been an element of gore to these movies and Prometheus is no different but with an added twist, without spoilers let's just say it involves "extreme surgery"! The "Engineers" in Prometheus are the very same beings the crew encounters in the original movie, but their story is examined much more closely and in depth as we get to see them for what they really are. The other creatures, which are really the true threat in the franchise are very different from the familiar slime-drooling, acid-blood-filled, Xenomorphs we remember. Prometheus is an awesome film, full of sci-fi/horror intrigue and action! It is both visually stunning and mind-numbingly intense. If you are a fan of Alien or the Aliens franchise you are in for a treat. If you have never seen them, see Prometheus and then see Alien. It may not hold the same wonder and fascination as it did over 30 years ago when we first encountered the alien terror but the famous tagline still holds true: "In space, no one can hear you scream."
Be sure to visit the highly in-depth Official Website: Project Prometheus.com

Personal Note: I was really looking forward to Prometheus, as a fan of the original Alien film and the Aliens franchise I couldn't wait to finally learn the origin of the aliens, and what the "Space Jockey" was all about. While the movie does not answer all the questions, if anything it poses more. I can't wait to see what else is in store for us if there will be a sequel. Also, I have always had an interest in the proposed theories of the alien origins of the human race, (I recommend reading Chariots of the Gods (1968) by Erich von Däniken or watch Ancient Aliens on The History Channel) while many may ridicule this idea it is a widely held belief. While this movie presents some interesting ideas related to this subject it is fictitious. But that is what science-fiction is all about, exploring new ideas and wondrous and exciting possibilities!
LINKS: Prometheus on Facebook