REVIEW: “Prometheus” Is More Than Just An “Alien” Movie
For sci-fi fans wondering if Ridley Scott’s latest really is a prequel to “Alien,” the answer is yes and no. Yes, there are many aspects that connect the two films in terms of content and stylistically, but the narrative of “Prometheus” takes a different path that many “Alien” fans will not expect. Instead of focusing on survival against aliens, the film is ultimately about finding the meaning of life. While maintaining the elements of its classic sci-fi roots, “Prometheus” is still able to call itself an original.
There is no doubt that this is another one of Scott’s visual masterpieces with its combination of style and spectacle. “Prometheus” captures the gripping suspense of its predecessor with the eerie soundtrack and long foreboding shots, keeping the audience in anticipation.
The film is perfectly paced, opening cautiously with curious exploration and eventually building to deliver thrills with action-packed scenes that are almost overwhelmingly horrific.
The striking opening scene overlooks the beautiful and vast lands of moon LV-223 where a humanoid eats something that causes its body to decay, evoking a slew of questions that the audience will continue to ask throughout the film. From there the title sequence fades to show archaeologist couple Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway discovering a cave painting that gives them the green light to go to space in search of their makers, whom they call the “Engineers.” They take the spaceship Prometheus en route to moon LV-223 with hope of getting their answers to their existential questions.
While some of the characters are expendable, as they were meant to be, others like Noomi Rapace deliver convincing performances. Rapace has already proved herself a bad ass in the original “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” trilogy and she continues to thrive in “Prometheus” as a determined archaeologist with unwavering faith and curiosity. Despite her innocent pixie cut and petite frame, her intensity reflects, if not surpasses, that of Sigourney Weaver’s character in “Alien.”
Charlize Theron also takes on a strong role as mission director Meredith Vickers. Her frigidity could almost classify her as an android, if it weren’t for her condescending superiority towards the rest of the crew.
In contrast, the android David, played by Michael Fassbender, can almost be mistaken for a human. Created to imitate human emotion, David seems to create an ego of his own, and it is full of vindictiveness and jealousy. This dangerous persona is lurking underneath his cool exterior and Fassbender plays it off perfectly throughout the film as his intelligence starts to prove fatal from some of the human characters.
Though Guy Pearce is scarcely in the film, he plays dying executive Peter Weyland, David’s creator. He funds Shaw’s expedition also in hopes of finding the Engineers, but with his own motives. He is driven by his desire to defeat death, and is convinced that the Engineers have the power not only to create, but to save. Unfortunately, Weyland does not realize that they also have the power to destroy.
It is the last surviving Engineer’s desire to destroy the humans that changes Shaw’s question from “Why did you create us?” to “Why do you want to destroy us?” Perhaps it is because of people like Weyland. By creating life in David and seeking immortality, Weyland is determined to become nothing short of a god. Questions of David’s existence begin to echo the questions of human existence. In one scene David asks why humans created him, to which he gets the response, “Because we could.” David then asks, “And how would you feel if your makers said the same thing to you?”
The intelligent and original concept of “Prometheus” may turn on some viewers but its complexity and turn away from “Alien” may be too far-fetched for others. But after all the chaos and build-up, the film provides no answers to the questions it raised, and this can be either intriguing or frustrating for audiences.. In one scene Shaw asks the ship’s captain Janek if he is curious about what answers the Engineers may hold, in which he replies “I don’t care.” By the end of the film, viewers who are just looking for a straight forward sci-fi flick may agree with Janek’s apathy. But others, like Shaw, will be left wanting to know more. That being said, there is enough intrigue left in the end to produce another highly-anticipated money-making sequel.
Reach Staff Reporter Megan Singson here.