So, for what it’s worth, I saw Prometheus twice in a 24-hour period. Normally, I’m not good with scary movies (and yes, there are those who wouldn’t call this scary, but it freaked me out, in a good way), but I thoroughly enjoyed Prometheus. While it’s not as phenomenal or groundbreaking as its jumping-off point Alien, the movie is quite well-crafted, highly enjoyable, and with enough hidden meaning and artistic choices that it warrants many viewings. For sci-fi/action/horror, this is pretty much as good as it gets.
Making a prequel is always a tricky thing, because it’s returning to a universe in a way that’s totally different from the approach of a sequel. Ridley Scott makes the excellent decision of telling a story that, while it informs Alien‘s, is not directly related to the conflict of those movies, and Prometheus is better for it. The story revolves around a scientific expedition to a faraway moon that is capable of sustaining life. A pair of young scientists—Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) have discovered what they think is an invitation from the ancient alien race that they believe created humans. Naturally, they fly half a billion miles to discover whether their theories are true. As it turns out, they’re right about everything, except for the “invitation” part. Insanity ensues.
The thing that makes the story of Prometheus so strong is that it doesn’t feel contrived. This is my main problem with horror films, mostly—I just never understand why the idiots think it would be a phenomenal idea to vacation near a murderer’s old house/split up to look for someone who’s gone missing, etc. The motivations behind the events all make sense, but there are enough things left unanswered that your mind is racing after the credits roll. It feels resolved, but still is certainly open-ended enough to allow for several really good sequels.
The thing the movie does really well is give some great actors a chance to showcase their flexibility. Rapace as heroine Shaw is incredibly powerful, creating her own style of strength and never even coming close to copying Sigourney Weaver‘s Ripley, which would have been easy, and annoying. Another favorite of mine was Idris Elba, who plays the ballsy captain Janek; the man has enough personality to carry a movie all by himself and does an excellent job of rounding out the already impressive cast. The true gem, however, is Michael Fassbender, playing the android David. There truly aren’t words to describe the versatility of this man, nor the extent to which he makes you believe he is not human. He is spellbinding, and it is worth seeing the film just for him.
The technical elements are pretty solid across the board, although the score seems a little out of place in parts—I wish Scott had relied more on the simple, visual brilliance
that made Alien
so amazing (I still get chills just imagining those chains with the water trickling down them, as well as the fog/smoke sequences towards the end), rather than using big, over the top, scary music to shock the audience. Overall, it’s top notch, though—the special effects are pretty fantastic, with the possible exception of Guy Pearce
‘s makeup—and it was utterly enjoyable.
I also really enjoy Ridley Scott movies because I love having something I can dissect with my mind, finding new meanings and layers, and Prometheus doesn’t disappoint. There are some truly powerful religious symbols throughout, as well as some Oedipal references, if I’m not mistaken. Also, Scott milks the title for all it’s worth—I recommend reviewing the Prometheus myth before going to see the film. Say what you will, there’s definitely some depth to this film.
So, it’s not the best movie to come along. It’s probably not the best film this year. It works off of a formula, but it’s a very good formula, and it has enough originality to easily make it unlike anything you’ve seen. I just want a sequel.