What do you get when you partner Ridley Scott (one of Hollywood’s most successful and iconic directors) with Damon Lindelof (creator of one of television’s most beloved shows, “Lost”)?
An epic, out-of-this-world (literally) quest for the answers to humankind’s age-old questions: “Where did we come from?” and “Who created us?”
Prometheus, in Greek mythology, was a Titan who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to the mortals. In Ridley Scott’s new sci-fi quasi-prequel to his 1979 “Alien,” Prometheus is the name of the spaceship that transports a team to a distant planet, in hopes of finding the “engineers” that created humankind.
The team encounters a spherical tomb, in which they find several bodies of giant aliens (also known as “space jockeys” from the previous “Alien” films) and a massive statue of a humanoid head, surrounded by what appears to be hundreds of metallic cylinders containing a black sticky substance.
Things really start to get interesting when the team tests a sample of alien DNA and learns that it is a perfect match for human DNA. Did the aliens create humans, and if so, what were they planning to do with the mysterious cylinders that appear to contain a deadly biological weapon?
Noomi Rapace (from the Swedish “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy) proves she can hold her own in an American blockbuster, brilliantly and convincingly portraying the leading character, archaeologist Dr. Shaw.
Not unlike Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley from “Alien,” Shaw transforms from a timid if not nerdy knowledge-thirsty archaeologist into a gutsy, fearless survivor. She continues the tradition of strong female heroines in the “Alien” franchise.
Michael Fassbender is eerily effective as David, an android that serves as the ship’s butler and has the ability to understand the alien language. Guy Pearce makes a memorable impression in his brief screen time as elderly Peter Weyland, the mission’s patriarch. Charlize Theron plays icy Weyland employee Meredith Vickers. Idris Elba rounds out the cast as the altruistic and sensible ship captain, Janek.
While the team superficially appears to work as a unit, there are underlying tensions. Everyone is tested in various ways as they come to realizations about their new surroundings and its inhabitants.
On the one hand, you have Dr. Shaw, who is deeply religious and has an ardent desire to “meet her maker.” On the other hand, you have Vickers, who appears to have an ulterior agenda for the mission. And then there’s David, appearing to harbor jealousy as well as a superiority complex over his human teammates.
How the characters ultimately deal with the truths they encounter in their mission is just one of the many elements making “Prometheus” such an entertaining movie.
“Prometheus” has just about every single element required of a good movie—interesting storyline, solid character development, and interesting chemistry among the teammates. The visuals and set designs are gorgeous.While it’ll undoubtedly attract fans of the “Alien” franchise, “Prometheus” stands on its own and differentiates from the other films with its deeper theme of exploring the origins of humankind.
In deciding to return to the sci-fi genre 30 years after he directed “Alien,” Ridley Scott proves that he is still one of the greatest storytellers in the movie business. Fingers crossed that he’ll put out many more hits, including “Prometheus 2”!
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Guy Pearce, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba, Charlize Theron
Running Time: 124 minutes
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