Faith and Exploration
RATED: ★ ★ ★ ★ out of 5 buckets | Matinee and BluRay
Rated: R Brief language, sci-fi violence and some intense images
Release Date: June 8, 2012
Runtime: 2 hrs 3 mins
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: Jon Spaihts, Damo Lindelof
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idriz Elba, Guy Pearce, Rafe Spall
SYNOPSIS: A team of scientists, thinking they have discovered a common link across several non-overlapping civilizations, travel to the farthest reaches of the universe to find its source, only to discover that what they find might be the end of mankind instead of its beginnings.
REVIEW: Visionary director Ridley Scott, who brought us Harrison Ford's Blade Runner, Russell Crowe's Gladiator, and Josh Hartnett's Black Hawk Down, returns to his sci-fi roots with a new entry in the Alien universe. The Darkest Hour scribe Jon Spaihts co-writes the film with Lost and Cowboys & Aliens writer Damon Lindelof. Both are familiar with aliens to some extent, but can their work compare to the mythos that Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett, and Ridley Scott created in the 1979 sci-fi masterpiece?In 2078 Scotland, scientists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green, Devil) discover indisputable proof that separate non-overlapping civilizations throughout history share similar glyphs that point to a M-class planet in a star system too far away to have been known. Years later, Shaw and Holloway are funded by the limitless wealth of Peter Weyland to travel for two years in cryo-sleep to reach the planet they consider to be where alien architects created humanity. Aboard the scientific vessel Prometheus, Weyland Industries created android David (Michael Fassbender, Haywire) watches over the statis-induced scientists and crew until their arrival to the planet. Company representative Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron, Snow White and the Huntsman) runs the operation for the scientific team with Captain Janek (Idris Elba, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) helming the ship. Once awake and briefed, they discover man-made structures that warrant investigation. A scout team including Shaw, Holloway, the android David, medical officer Ford (Kate Dickie, Game of Thrones), geologist Fifield (Sean Harris, A Lonely Place to Die), and biologist Millburn (Rafe Spall, Anonymous) venture inside the mound. Finding a labyrinth of tunnels, strange chambers with stranger pedestals, and 2,000 year dead giant aliens. Soon, scientific fervor, blind faith and hidden corporate agendas look to change their fortunate discovery of the possible genesis of mankind into a countdown to the end of humanity as they know it.
True to the franchise he created and that spawned three sequels, Ridley Scott directs a sci-fi film that slowly builds in story and intense suspense. Striking the line between unwavering faith and scientific curiosity, the obvious question must be asked. If these aliens visited earth several times during several ancient civilizations, did they span humanity as a species? If they indeed engineer mankind, why hadn't modern society witnessed first-hand evidence of their existence? Shaw searches for the truth using both her faith and her science. Holloway, who loves Shaw, lacks the religious faith but compensates with the obsession of asking the 'gods' of the reasons why they created humanity, and why they eventually abandoned humanity. Bank-rolling the expedition, Weyland Industries led by the late Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce, Lockout) and the on-site Vickers are really just looking to find something to profit from.
There is much speculation crashing through the surfs of the internet whether this Ridley Scott film is truly a prequel to the Alien anthology or just another film in the same universe. And based on other electronic reports, even Joss Whedon's Firefly-class Serenity and her crew led by Captain Malcolm 'Mal' Reynolds seem to exist in the same universe as the Company eventually revealed as Weyland. Based on Whedon's pilot, Firefly exists in the year 2517 where Weyland Industries has become Weyland-Yutani Corporation. So much speculation breeds so much doubt. In the Prometheus trailers, it seems too similar to the original Alien film that the alien trying to launch the crescent-shaped spacecraft inPrometheus is one and the same as the one found by the scout crew of the Nostromo. Other than that, I cannot say without spoiling the film in the affirmative or the negative.
What is similar to the Alien anthology is the presence of a strong female character. InPrometheus, we are graced by two woman with the strength of their convictions. Noomi Rapace of the original version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo shows that she has both gentle faith and raw determination as Shaw. Countering Rapace is Charlize Theron and her secretive and iron-fisted Vickers who proves she is as determined as Shaw, but for different reasons. With respect to the resident android Ash played by Ion Holms in the original film, Michael Fassbender echoes a beautiful stoic performance as the robotic son the late Peter Weyland always wanted. He embodies both the best parts of Ash and Lance Henriksen's Bishop. The rest of the cast follows the concise formula of characterization that Ridley Scott is known for, although I am still partial to the performances of Tom Skerritt, Harry Dean Stanton, and Yaphet Kotto, but the always enjoyable Idris Elba comes close.
Prometheus is a perfect addition to an already richly storied film series. Ridley Scott, inspired by H.R. Giger's intense designs, created an alien mythos in his 1979 science fiction classic. James Cameron came along in 1986 and flipped the script by reinventing the series with an expanded Ripley character, more aliens, and a cargo hold full of firepower. Fight Club's David Fincher turned the tables yet again by stripping away most of the baggage of the previous film, adding a prison and introducing more understanding of the symbiotic alterations that the geno-morphing alien undergoes. Jean-Pierre Jeunet tried to recapture some of the Cameron and Fincher magic with a resurrected Ripley, a claustrophobic space station, and freaky sideshow of genetic manipulation, but ended up with a weaker version of any of what came before. Now, with Prometheus, Scott ensures that what he created will continue to have a life of its own. Coming in at two hours and three minutes, Ridley takes his time building to a hell of a climatic conclusion.
Prometheus is a sci-fi film filled with story, intensity and suspense. Scott creates a new world in his same Alien universe, embarking on a new adventure of science, faith, religion and questions of the genesis of our existence and origins. If we were created by an alien race, what does that say about us and our beliefs? And if aliens created us, who created them?
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