Friday, June 8, 2012
In "Prometheus," colossus of cinema Ridley Scott's intense and ambitious quasi-prequal to his 1979 "Alien," questions of science, theology, and the all around riddle of human existence are placed under close examination as the crew of the space ship Prometheus, like the Greek god whose namesake it shares, are punished for trying to bring a symbolic "fire" to the human race in the form of the true origins for life on earth.
The movie takes place in the distant future close to the next turn of the century were what are now only theoretical scientific concepts such as cryogenic hibernation, interactive holograms, and artifical intellegence are an everyday reality. A pair of young explorers who study the markings on ancient ruins from lost civilizaitons think they have discovered a common theme of the deification of celestial, god-like beings that they are somehow able to trace to a faraway planet that orbits the rings of Saturn. A planet, that like our own, has its own sun and is capable of sustaining life. The couple theorize that this advanced race race engineered life on earth before returning to their own world. When their research captures the attention of a corporate titan with very deep pockets and a hidden agenda to boot, the two along with a team of other proffessionals are sent on a scientific expidition to this mysterious planet to uncover find this race of "engineers" who at their apex, gave birth to the human species itself. Though what awaits them when they arrive is something far more sinister...
This is a movie that tries to be a lot of things and succeeds more or less. In parts, it is a dazzling sci-fi space epic. In others, it is a sqeam inducing thrill ride complete with creepy crawlers and the trademark gothic horror of Scott's classic "Alien." In others, it is a serious study of the age old question, "why are we here?" "What is our purpose?" "Where did we come from?" In this way, the movie's ambition seems to be its greatest enemy as some of these themes tend to undermine one another especially as the action picks up and the stuff starts hitting the fan. Simply put, it is hard for a movie to be too philisophical without coming off as silly when the only thing the audience cares about is whose going to buy it next and how gross is it going to be?
Pretty good performances all around. The standouts probably being Michael Fassbender as David, an Android who turns out to be far less artificial than he lets on and Noomi Rapace as Explorer/Scientist Elizabeth Shaw, who probably undergoes one of the most truly terrifying birth sequences ever in a film.
In some ways, I feel like Prometheus, is trying to sell itself as more of an "experience" than an actual story. This is not an entirely bad thing. Especially in stunning 3D the the sheer scope and aura of film is both wondrous and terrifying to behold. Despite its flimly philisophical conjectures and somewhat shcizophrenic sense of identity, Prometheus is definately a horror/space spectacle that delivers the metaphorical "fire" and manages to return a great deal of dignity to Scott's floundering Alien franchise