Release Date: June 8, 2012 (3D/2D theaters and IMAX 3D)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Ridley Scott
Screenwriter: Damon Lindelof, Jon Spaihts, Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron
MPAA Rating: R (for sci-fi violence including intense images, and brief language)
Official Website: Prometheusmovie.com
It was only a few days before actually seeing the film when I learned of the connection Prometheus shared with the “Alien” movie franchise. Then it wasn’t until a few moments before the trailers began when I learned that this movie was a prequel to the series. After seeing the film, I made some inquiries to others who had seen the film, and they also had no idea that Prometheus was a part of the “Alien” mythos until afterwards. This leads me to believe that Ridley Scott and company purposefully tried to conceal this fact, keeping a distance between the film and the notion that Prometheus is simply an Alien prequel, making its potential as a great stand alone sci-fi movie to increase and not be dictated by the expectations fans may or may not have.
However, thanks to the world of WWW, leakage always occurs, and Prometheus’s connection to the 1979 film got out before the movie was released. But seeing as how the Alien franchise is in a state of limbo, it was a good attempt on the part of 20th Century Fox (curse you!) to make this enigma, creating the illusion of newness for the casual movie goer, and the die hard ones.
Setting aside the nostalgic sensibilities of the film, the story is about two archaeologists, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Dr. Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) who discover a plethora of ancient cave drawings that lead them to believe the origins of humanity were not of divine origins, but rather due to the scientific experiments of an alien race. After research and study, they’re pointed in the direction of a distant moon, LV-223, where the two protagonists and a team of astronauts and other scientists travel in search for answers. Little did Shaw and Holloway realize that their importance in this trek were overestimated as they had to fight against Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and her bitterly skeptical attitude towards the entire mission. However, what was believed by many to be a waste of funds soon turned into a horrifying discovery where the resolutions to many of the unanswered questions were more than anyone was ready to face.
For the most part, Prometheus does very well as a stand alone Sci-Fi/Horror film, albeit a few confusing moments within the story’s unfolding plotline. To be honest, however, there aren’t many Sci-Fi films that can match this level of artistry, especially with how well the script is written and how carefully planned out its sequences are. There’s also a very different offering for both types of movie goers in this film, presenting an experience that will, more than likely, have you leaving the theater wondering what’s going to happen next, which will compel you to come back for more with the inevitable prequel sequel. However, there’s still enough confusing material and plot developing moments that will leave you wondering why any of this important, and how it relates to the overall scheme of the story.
Much of the Ridley Scott fan club who has been less than impressed with the director’s non Science Fiction cinematic endeavors (Robin Hood, Body of Lies, A Good Year) will be thrilled to see him getting back in the Sci-Fi chair and doing what he does best. If Scott is known for only one thing, it’s his ability to set up the most beautiful, yet horrifying scenes that describe an entire alien world to its utmost importance. In the opening sequence, without a word being spoken, we understand this world’s religious significance as well as the willingness to sacrifice oneself for a cause we know very little about. So much went into the creation of this first four minute scene, and so few actually care about the work and thought that went into making such a weighty and descriptive opener. But this will be the saving grace to any skepticism you may have had before entering the theater.
However, as descriptive and amazing as that opening scene was, it creates a very perplexing situation as it really doesn’t make sense in context of the overall plot. Was this more of a myth of this interesting and mysterious alien culture, or did this actually happen thousands of years ago? And if so, how does it connect to everything else we saw in the film? I won’t give anything away, but more than once you’ll wonder why certain plot developing moments are there . The end scene, despite how excitingly terrifying it is, is just as confusing with no explanation for being.
The film does follow a very typical and cliche plot progression, as well as containing characters that feel a little too form fitting for the type of story Prometheus is. We have the two protagonists, one being the enthusiastic forward thinker who wants to discover the truth, and the other being the realistic counter part who’s constantly telling his girlfriend to look past her own ambitions for the sake of living. The bad guy is more of a distrustful player in the story who’s simply bitter due to unknown circumstances, kicking the bucket in the end. Likewise, the ensemble supporting cast follows a very familiar cinematic line up, complete with a captain who falls victim to Shaw’s sense of discovery and eagerness to know the truth, a dirty yet brilliant archaeologist who’s too scared to risk his life for the greater good, and the token British actor. This, in no way, takes away from the overall enjoyment of the film, but for those of us who are all too familiar with it, it comes off more cumbersome and underwhelming.
I can’t speak much to the three dimensional aspect of the film as I’m one of those movie goers that prefers the classic 2D viewing. However, knowing that the film was shot using 3D cameras, and in the hands of a more than capable director, I suspect that seeing this film in 3D is worth the over priced ticket. Then again, I’m not sure I remember seeing anything that would lend itself to in-your-face moments.
Horror films have never intrigued me however. At least not enough to get excited about them. I guess my weak tummy just can’t hack it. But there’s also the lack of an intelligent story that most horror films are plagued with that just doesn’t sit well with me. (Although I hear Cabin in the Woods surpasses anything the typical horror movie has tried to do.) Along with the mindless violence and idiotic ventures into obviously dark and treacherous rooms, I’ve simply never been able to get into those types of movies. Granted, Prometheus provides much more intellectual horror and good writing, but there’s still enough grotesque and bloody scenes that the potential this film had at being MORE than a typical horror film was only slightly above average. (Although the abortion scene was the most intense scene in the entire film!)
To be honest, while the connection to the Alien franchise may confuse those unfamiliar with the series, the film stands on its own quite well. This is an enjoyable cinematic excursion that I think most people who enjoy the genre will get a kick out of regardless of its faults and unnecessary violence. I’m definitely going to be pleading for more Ridley Scott Sci-Fi/horror based movies in the future.