Ridley Scott's triumphant return to the Sci-fi genre that he helped redefine is probably one of the most anticipated films since The Phantom Menace (1999), and similarly the first film in a prequel/sidequel trilogy that will reboot a classic and much loved franchise from the 1970s and 80s. But thankfully Prometheus is not the disappointment that The Phantom Menace was and promises to reveal some fascinating answers to the mysterious origin of the alien creature, which is a far more complex back story than anyone ever imagined. It also reveals the answers to the mystery of the Space Jockey and the purpose of the derelict space ship we saw in the first Alien film. 

(Spoiler alert) When a pair of archeologists deciphers a message found in ancient cave paintings from what looks to be alien Gods who visited Earth far in the past, they follow the message to a planet where it is believed to have originated, hoping to find answers to our origins. They do indeed find what they are looking for but it seems that our makers, whose DNA we share, have been planning to destroy their creations using a biological weapon of mass destruction that will be deployed on every planet where our species was planted, Earth included. The reason for this has not yet been revealed but this will presumably be the subject of the next two sequels to come. 

Visually, Prometheus definitely shares its DNA with the first Alien (1979), adding some elements of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and a splash of Blade Runner (1982) thrown in. Story wise it follows the same structure as Alien; a group of space engineers come out of hibernation when they arrive at a mysterious planet. As the mission is revealed to the crew, it meets with the same indifference and disbelief as it did on board the Nostromo and soon people are freaking out when evidence of an alien is found and brought in for examination, unleashing a hostile contagion.  As in Alien, there is a synthetic person who acts on orders from an unseen corporation to bring back a living sample at the expense of the crew and the few surviving crew members, realizing the potential dangers to Earth, take matters into their own hands, stopping at nothing to eliminate the threat.

H.R. Giger’s iconic design work has been employed once again giving the film its familiar dark cavernous serpent like look. Alien fans will not be disappointed as there is enough creepy squirm-inducing sequences equivalent to the chest bursting scene in the first film to satisfy them. Traces of the original music also seep in, to create a link to the classic film that started it all. It’s a great mix of high tech, high concept science fiction with primordial horror that will make us look at the original films in a whole new context. 

Ridley Scott, who directed the original Alien movie, has assembled another first rate cast of up and coming actors who have already made a name for themselves in high profile, high quality projects starting with the incredible Noomi Rapace as the sole surviving equivalent of the Ripley character, Elizabeth Shaw. She was recently seen in the original Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), where she played a tough but sexy gypsy fortune teller. Joining Noomi is Michael Fassbender as the robot David, who recently made his mark in such films as Fish Tank (2009), X-Men: First Class (2011) and Shame (2011). Charlize Theron who became famous for her roles in The Cider House Rules (1999), Monster (2003) and was recently seen in Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), also shows up as a corporate boss.

Ridley Scott has referred to the “completely underrated film Quest for Fire” (1982) as inspiration for Prometheus and there are some interesting similarities. As humans go out into an unknown universe, we discover many hostile beings that want to enslave or destroy us but ultimately through our curiosity and supreme will to survive, we find the answers that will ensure our survival and the power to create the tools we need to become the dominant force in the universe.



Richard Nelson said...

Great review, I'm seeing it soon.

Claire Cappetta said...

Thanks for a great review as always. I'm going to see it and now looking forward to it even more! :)

Patricia Weber said...

Even though I wasn't a huge fan of Alien, you've made Prometheus sound like just the sci-fi for me to consider. More recently I've come to like movies that reveal some historic truths so your review caught me early on when you said, "reveal some fascinating answers to the mysterious origin of the alien creature." I just might have to see this one. Thanks for an inspiring review.

Patricia Weber, LinkedIn Group, BHB

Stan said...

I really dig Noomi. I saw the Swedish version of the Stig Larsson trilogy in which she starred.

She seems to have enormous talent and may make a splash in Hollywood.

JP said...

Yes you're right about Noomi Rapace. She's an incredibly talented actress who does amazing work in all her films.

Dan O. said...

Just got done watching it and I can’t say I was all that impressed with what I saw. Yeah, it had its moments that were tense and a little freaky but it never fully got off the ground for me. However, it’s a beautiful film the whole way through and one that should definitely be seen in 3D no matter wherever you may be. Good review JP.

Geek Girl said...

I am planning to see this movie as well. Thanks for the review. I am viewing this as a 'heads up' on what to expect. :)

Anonymous said...

Science fiction is always a hit and miss category for me. I felt the movie took on a bit too much in terms of secondary plots. The main focus created some stunning edge-of-the-seat moments. I saw it in 3D, but am not certain it was worth the extra money. Avatar has raised the 3D bar pretty high. The 3D in this movie helped add better definition in certain shots, but like Titanic in 3D much of the movie is dark and thus details get lost anyway due to the lighting.

Jeri said...

The above comment was from me, JeriWB ;)

subhorup dasgupta said...

wanted to wait till i saw the movie to comment. your review was very helpful and accurate. in spite of being a big fan of ridley scott's work, and looking forward to this film, there were a few blind spots that needed to be overlooked to really enjoy the film. the storyline of the real purpose of the mission and the team was a little jumpy and portrayed as if it was being described to first graders. the entire immortality and peter weyland angle was naive, and without knowing what the next part of the story holds, perhaps unnecessary.

that said, the film was an absolute treat. after the first watch of alien blew my mind as a teenager, i made sure i watched the film in 2D first and then in 3D so that i was ready for the shockers.

the entire father-son-daughter angle was beautifully handled, and the character of david - other than the melodramatic end - was a masterpiece.

the new storyline of the engineers willing the destruction of their creation was a nice one, and i cant wait to see where noomi rapace's journey is taking her, metaphorically and figuratively.

enjoyed your review and then enjoyed the film. thanks for the links, too; there is so much here that you have done, and it will take me a long time to go through all of it.