Famed director Ridley Scott’s return to the science-fiction realm has been a hotly anticipated viral freak out for the better part of the last six months.
It’s been thirty years since Scott took on the world of science fiction film making (Blade Runner) and he hasn’t been involved in the Alien franchise since he opened the floodgates with the innovative original thirty-three years ago.
Scott has enthusiastically taken the genre head on again with his latest film Prometheus, a stand-alone prequel to the story of Alien and Aliens.
Prometheus tells the tale of a research team fronted by two scientists who have dedicated their lives to piecing together the puzzle that is mankind’s creation. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) have discovered a series of cave drawings that all include the same ‘map’, which Shaw and Holloway hope will help answer the questions we all ask at one time or another- where did we come from? To no one’s surprise (with the exception of most of the crew of the ship), things do not go well. The age old adage ‘we aren’t meant to know everything’ applies all too well for our stars of the film.
Prometheus excels on several levels, most notably visually. Shot in 3D and fully intended to be seen in the oft-used format, the film does an exceptional job of evoking the ‘alien territory’ feeling with desolate landscapes and ominous storms brewing at seemingly every turn. Thanks in no small part to an incredible effects team fronted by one of the best technical directors in the business Shaun Friedberg, the look of the film is truly jaw-dropping. There aren’t many films that have impressed me with its 3D presentation, but this one does.
The crew of the Prometheus is an engaging group, albeit a few notches below our beloved crew of the Nostromo from the original Alien.
Rapace, Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron (who seemed to be a square peg in a round hole for her role as Meredith Vickers, the overbearing overseer of the Prometheus expedition) and Idris Elba as Janek, the captain of the ship, are a formidable group who have their individual moments. But it’s Michael Fassbender as the droid David who truly shines. Fassbender does a great job channeling his inner Hal 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey) to steal the show. David clearly knows far more than anyone else on the ship and supplies the perfect mix of thought-provoking commentary that at times can also be taken for unsettling foreshadowing.
Scott asks a lot of questions in this film and it’s been said many more times than once since the midnight premieres started rolling on Thursday night- not every question is answered, not every loose end is tied up and not every theme is neatly or even fully thought out. But in a science fiction film, I prefer the ambiguity. Allow the viewers to come up with their own interpretations and decisions. We as an audience have just as much knowledge about what’s going on and what we’re looking for as the crew of the Prometheus. I for one am glad Scott didn’t take the time to tell us everything about the film- I had far more fun chatting about it at work the day after and putting together my own conclusions.
For those of you expecting a horror film, you’re going to want to wait until the film hits Blu-Ray. The lack of alien terror and gore has been a disappointment to some. For those of you who are lusting for a riveting, exceptional science fiction project by one of the most enthusiastic sci-fi minds in the business, I hope you enjoy the film as much as I did.
My Grade: 9/10
* Check back on the blog in two weeks for my spoiler-laden review of this film. I’ll give people enough time to see the movie before I start blabbing about some of the specifics of the film.