Movie Review – Prometheus

Prometheus

Director:
Ridley Scott

Writers:
Jon Spaihts
Damon Lindelof

Cast:
Noomi Rapace – Elizabeth Shaw
Michael Fassbender – David
Charlize Theron – Meredith Vickers
Idris Elba – Janek
Guy Pearce – Peter Weyland
Logan Marshall-Green – Charlie Holloway
Sean Harris – Fifield

Country:
USA

Language:
English

Release Dates:
France: 30 May 2012
Switzerland: 30 May 2012
Denmark: 31 May 2012
Netherlands: 31 May 2012
UK: 31 May 2012
Finland: 1 June 2012
Ireland: 1 June 2012
Norway: 1 June 2012
Sweden: 1 June 2012
Iceland: 6 June 2012
Australia: 7 June 2012
Brazil: 7 June 2012
New Zealand: 7 June 2012
Canada: 8 June 2012
India: 8 June 2012
USA: 8 June 2012
Mexico: 15 June 2012

Ratings:
USA: R
Australia: M
Brazil: 14
Canada: 14A (Ontario)
France: -12
Ireland: 15A
Netherlands: 16
New Zealand: R16
Norway: 15
Sweden: 15
Switzerland:14 (Geneva & Vaud)
UK: 15
IMDb: 7.7/10
Metacritic: 65/100
Netflix: 3.8/5
Rotten Tomatoes: 73% (Fresh)
Common Sense Rating: Iffy for 16+

I treated myself to this movie for my birthday last week (yeah, I had one of those) and as I did, I tried to steel myself for the inevitable disappointment. The original Alien is one of the greatest sci-fi/horror flicks ever made and one of my favorite movie experiences. It’s pretty much the template of the kind of scary movie that I like: Lots of thrills and chills with a scary, but not Satanic, monster.

And skinny ass Sigourney Weaver in her underwear. What’s not to love?

So some 33 years later, here comes Ridley Scott returning to the same material. Sort of. Sir Ridley has often talked about wanting to go back to space and explore the mystery of the creature that has become known as “The Space Jockey,” the fossilized victim that Kane, Dallas, and Lambert discover when they first explore the Derelict Ship. Where did the Space Jockey come from? How and why did the Aliens attack him? In Prometheus, Scott and his writers Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof get to answer those questions.

Sort of.

In the months leading up to the release of Prometheus, Scott et al have been trying to pull back from the idea that it was a prequel to the Alien series (forget about the Alien Vs. Predator movies, they have a different timeline and don’t seem to exist in Scott’s vision). First of all, the title is Prometheus, not Alien: The Beginning or some crap like that. Finally the company line from Scott came to be that Prometheus and Alien share some DNA and take place in the same universe etc but that Prometheus is a xenomorph of a different color.

The movie takes its title from the ship that carries our heroes into space, but also from the Greek Titan who created Man out of clay. The mission is a search for the beings/gods/engineers who put us here. That mission, of course, goes terribly wrong and gets real icky, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

After an opening credit sequence that echoes that of Alien, with the word “Prometheus” being spelled out in pieces like the word “Alien” was, the movie starts with a quick scene of an “Engineer,” a being who looks somewhat humanoid but very strange. I won’t say too much about it though. We then cut to hundreds of thousands of years later, to the year 2089 (33 years before the events that take place in Alien). Archaeologist Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) finds an intriguing cave painting and shows it to her colleague and lover Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green). It seems to be a message from an ancient race of space travelers pointing the way to where they come from.

Cut again to four years later. Shaw, Holloway and the rest of the crew are aboard a ship funded by Weyland Industries, they are waking up from hypersleep and about to land on the planet that the ancient map led them to.

Shaw is played by Noomi Rapace, who played Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. Unlike Holloway and some of her other colleagues, she is a believer that God or somebody set the Earth in motion. She even wears a cross around her neck. It’s always great to see an honest depiction of faith in a mainstream film. Even faced with the idea that “The Engineers” may have created humans, Shaw still wants to know who created the Engineers. This chicken or egg discussion is one of many big questions that the movie brings up. Like I said in my Random Review of Blade Runner, sci-fi is a genre that tends to raise big ideas.

Comparisons to Alien are inevitable. Shaw is the Ellen Ripley of the piece: She’s smart, tough, and she does have a couple of scenes in her underwear. There were a couple of moments when I expected her to start singing, “You are my lucky star.”

There’s an android named David played by Michael Fassbender. This isn’t a spoiler, we know from the start that he’s a robot because he’s studying language and watching old Peter O’Toole movies when everybody else is still in hypersleep. He’s one tricky bot though. He’s not all bad like Ash, or a good guy like Bishop. For most of the movie you’re never really sure what he’s up to.

The Prometheus is captained by Janek, who’s the late 21st Century version of a salty sea dog, but it’s the company woman Meredith Vickers who really runs the show. She’s played to icy perfection by Charlize Theron. She will remind you of every boss you’ve ever had who scared the poop out of you and turned you on at the same time. You know…a BILF.

The set design and special effects take advantage of the techological improvements of the past 30 years. The presence of the talented but very strange H. R. Giger is definitely felt. It wouldn’t be Alienish without him.

And yes, there are aliens. And they’re mean. But I won’t go any further than that.

There’s so much to say, but I’m afraid to say it. When the DVD comes out and everybody’s had a chance to see it, maybe I’ll revisit this post and add a spoiler alert section where we can talk about some of the questions and theories that have already come up, like are they actually on the right planet and is David the only android on board. Fun.

The Misplaced Boy MST3K Scale:

Like I said, you can’t help but compare Prometheus with Alien, but not only was it not the soul crushing disappointment I was trying to prepare myself for, I thought it was great. I’m OK with the fact that it leaves some questions unanswered. That seems to be Scott’s MO, plus there is totally a setup for a sequel that can go off in a different direction.

I would have liked for some plot points and some of the characters to have been developed a little better. It was so good that I basically wanted more. Others will probably disagree, but I’m giving it a…

Gypsy

Random Quote Whore Quote:

Prometheus is a mere, developed, stagecoach of a movie! Noomi Rapace is tricolor!!!

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