By Dirk Sonniksen | June 7, 2012
Writer(s): Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Guy Pearce
2089: Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are archeologists searching for consistencies between a number of archeological finds in completely different cultures. After discovering a cave drawing deep in the hills of Scotland, both believe they have found the key to civilization. This key would be useless in the hands of a pair of do-gooder archeologists, so why not give it to a man like Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), a corporate giant with a maniacal slant who is guaranteed to exploit it and use it for his own sick, twisted vision! Yeah, that’s a much better plan.
Fast-forward to the year 2093, and Elizabeth and Charlie are onboard the Prometheus with a handful of other adventurers, including David (Michael Fassbender), a guy that’s, well, not really a guy. The crew is headed to a moon orbiting a planet that looks a bit like Saturn, which is funny (funny strange) because Saturn actually has a moon named…Prometheus. Curiouser and curiouser cried Alice…
Elizabeth and Charlie are giddy with excitement over the prospect of discovering something really neat, but the rest of our motley gang are less-enthused; it’s just money to these space jockeys, damn it, or perhaps they all instinctively know that something will go terribly wrong. Guess what? Everything goes terribly wrong! The adventure ensues, with the bunch onboard Prometheus fighting for their lives against the very thing they thought would bring them glory and a spaceship full of cash.
The first hour or so of Prometheus is quite riveting, with cinematography to make your jaw drop, and yes, even the 3D looks pretty good. Director Ridley Scott fills the screen with his familiar style of big, swooping shots, brimming with craggy mountain ranges and lush vistas, all filmed on location in the primal, volcanic soil of Iceland. Iceland was also chosen for the exteriors of the alien world/planet, but here the scenery takes a backseat to space vehicles, ancient ruins, and dialogue. I was captivated by the initial set up for Prometheus, steeped in the origins of mankind, the creepy vibe of David moving about the ship’s cabin, and the general crew banter that was reminiscent of Alien. But sometimes getting there is the best part.
Once the ship lands on our alien world, Prometheus gets a bit sketchy, and that becomes problematic when there are a growing number of explosions, and tense encounters with various…things; it gets a little confusing…I’ll leave it at that. The story (that whole beginning part) seems to meander around all the action, and not really progress; indeed, our story becomes secondary to the eye candy laid before the audience. The action is certainly eye candy done well, but I was settling into this kind of Sunshine-esque thing in the beginning (very comfortable, mind you), only to be tossed around through the next hour and a half.
The highlight was certainly David, a guy (sort of) that kept the audience engaged with his quirky efficiency, somewhat unsettling manner, and his fascination with all things T.E. Lawrence. Fassbender’s character is in a lot of Prometheus, and that’s a good thing. From the beginning, I was captivated by David’s character, and yes, I began to like him, but then…I just wanted to rip his head off! But then, maybe I like him again? Who knows? You be the judge.
Noomi Rapace comes in a close second, looking and acting quite admirably in a spacesuit or half-naked and sweaty. Charlize Theron is reliable; Idris Elba is quirky. The one character I could have probably done without entirely was Guy Pearce’s Weyland. I’m not sure how one rewrites those scenes, but Weyland’s character seemed to bog down the pace of things, was uninteresting, and seemed to be someone’s makeup fiasco more than a well thought out character.
Prometheus is the first summer blockbuster in recent memory that comes remotely close to living up to the hype surrounding the film’s release. Director Ridley Scott has returned to give fans of the Alien franchise that raison d’etre, and for the most part, he succeeded. I’m certain sci-fi aficionados will shower Prometheus with both acclaim and criticism, and that is as it should be. For this reviewer, the necessity to fill Prometheus with action, graphics, and some gore was understandable, but the overall story got messy, and so I had to settle for things blowing up. So be it; perhaps Scott & Co. will do more to explain things in the sequel to this prequel.
Rating: 6.5 of 10