First off, let me address you all that think PROMETHEUS is an ALIEN prequel….. IT’S NOT AN ALIEN PREQUEL. If you go looking for your favorite space monster giving quadruple-lipped kisses to his victims, then you’ll probably be disappointed, or mad, or both.
But hold on, before you throw away your pre-bought tickets, I’m telling you all this because I want you to go to see the film in the right frame of mind. Because if you do, you might enjoy it as a science fiction thriller all its own.
Scientist on Earth discover a pattern in cave paintings that span many different eras of human history. The patterns point to a system of stars very distant from Earth. The Wayland Corporation decides to send a ship to the planet that the star patterns are pointing to – THE PROMETHEUS.
Captain Janek heads the crew of 17 scientist, engineers, technicians and one Wayland executive Merideth Vickers. She’s the staunch corporate leader of the mission, even though she doubts that aliens really left messages in cave paintings.
Noomi Rapace is Elizabeth Shaw. She discovered the final evidence of aliens back on earth with her partner Charlie, and she is the only member that truly hopes that, if the crew really finds aliens, they can answer her questions of why and where humans came from?
David is the synthetic being along for the ride to help the people of the mission, even though there is an observable prejudice amongst the crew against his artificial origins.
Prometheus’ crew land on the designated planet, where they immediately encounter evidence of intellegence. Large structures and statues with human features. Even though it seems like the beings that built the structures have long since left, or died, it isn’t long before the crew from Earth come face to face with very real and deadly threats.
Now, how did Geek Soul Brother like the movie? I enjoyed it. Prometheus was not just a space horror, but was one of those science fiction stories that tackle questions of life. In that respect, I liked the movie. But there were a couple of things that I felt were unanswered. Not just in an ambiguous Sci-Fi way, but in a ‘Why the heck did they do that?’ way.
SPOILERS PEOPLE, BUT NOT TOO SPOILED
The story and setup were cool. It hits you with the philosophical stuff right from the start. But all of that is neither here or there because it’s not too long before the scary stuff starts. After a couple of scenes we find ourselves on a quiet Prometheus. First there was David, the android. His first scene shows him checking out somebody’s dreams while they are asleep in a life pod. Pretty creepy. Then after the ship landed on the planet, we see a structure with a gigantic head on top. And there are other gigantic heads. Holographic aliens running from something unseen. Cylinders oozing black nasty stuff. Snake like things that can strangle you. Did I mention David starting out the movie acting weird? Well, he gets worst. But we expect that from the Weyland Androids don’t we? As the movie progresses and the thrills and chills start to hit us, we see the crew having to deal with all kinds of alien threats from ‘inside’ and out.
The tech was cool. Prometheus as a ship had an interesting layout, not the greatest but cool (actually what was the greatest ship interior ever?). There were two pieces of technology that kind of wowed me. The floating scanners that mapped the alien caves, and this crazy automated ambulatory surgical unit that could perform operations on people.
The horror was good, though Ridley didn’t capture that eerie feeling that he did in Alien ‘all them years ago’. I think that was because there were several isolated threats, and not one major creature to deal with throughout the film. The horror felt disjointed.
To me, Ridley Scott is an excellent director. He usually gets you to feel a certain way by the sets and environments he creates. And also the performances he gets from his actors. The only thing that throws him off course sometimes is how his films get a little heady at the end. He can be heavy handed with the ‘meaning’ of the story. That happened somewhat here.
One of my new favorite actors, Michael Fassbender was a believable android, Charlize Theron played it very cool as the corporate antagonist. Idris Elba was a likable ‘every man’s man’ as the captain, though I think my friend -codename Shu-pocalypse – was right about the man’s American accent. A little blend of the Queens English and Southern Alabama sounded funny. But hey, he’s also one of my recent favorite actors, he gets a pass. Now the guy, as in Guy Pearce, surprised me as Peter Weyland. He made up for that crazy LOCK-OUT movie he starred in a couple of months ago.
Science fiction wise, this film had all the ingredients. The alien life, the ship, the weird A.I., questions of faith and the search for the unknown. I’m all for a story that leaves you wondering and drawing your own conclusion. That’s what makes great Sci-Fi. But I just felt that there were some things that really needed explaining. Writer Damon Lindelof seems to be getting a reputation for that. There were things that were very disjointed. Maybe it was me. Like the purpose of David’s actions were revealed, but there still was some mystery to his motives that they didn’t quite flesh out. And the bigger question for me was why did the Aliens do what they did? I know the writers meant not to explain that fully, but that aspect left me unsatisfied.
One quick note about the score. The music sounded like it was accompanying the fundamental theme of the movie, the ‘meaning of life’ stuff. But it didn’t help with the horror at all the way the score of ALIEN or ALIENS did.
So there it is, my review of a movie that I was waiting for all year. It didn’t let me down, but I really wanted to see a tighter story. Geek Soul Brother gives PROMETHEUS 3.5 out of 5 COSMIC AFROS.