Sunday, June 10, 2012


Directed by: Ridley Scott
Written by: Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron
It is an old, old dream of mankind to eventually meet its maker, learn the answers that lurk behind its existence, and then be granted the boon of everlasting life.
Archeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) have managed a startling discovery; they have found multiple carvings around the globe, separated by culture, great distance, and millennia, which show the exact same pattern of heavenly bodies in the sky. This very same pattern is matched to a distant yet attainable system, which appears to have a planetary system much like our own. The existence of these many carvings are interpreted by the archeologists to being a sort of galactic invitation to human beings to visit this far off system, once the technology is available to do so.
The year is 2089, and the technology is, in fact, available to do so. The archeologists team up with the Weyland Corporation in order to investigate this invitation. The ship Prometheus is funded to take a crew of scientists to the far off planet in the hopes of finding answers to some of the most fundamental questions of our existence.
As might be expected, the planet has a few surprises for the team. They do successfully complete their journey, and manage to find a partially buried and seemingly abandoned alien complex on the harsh surface. This is far from the teeming society of welcoming benevolent alien beings that the group hoped to discover. While investigating the dusty and dark tunnels, they find a vast chamber holding countless canisters of goopy "stuff". This goop turns out to have an organic quality to it which, after interacting with various members of the crew, causes things to go terribly, terribly wrong.
The core theme of Prometheus is the burning desire to meet our maker. Some members of the scientific team, such as scientist Elizabeth Shaw, exhibit religious awe at the very idea. Others, such as the cold and driven representative of the Weyland Corporation, Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), are far more pragmatic and see the possibility of meeting the aliens as more of a business opportunity. Yet a third group, such as ship captain Janek (Idris Elba), don't even really care, and are just there for the pay.
While these three groups generally cover the human aspect of the crew, there is yet a fourth; that being the android David (Michael Fassbender). Much of the crew treats David with casual disdain, referring to the being as having no soul or any other qualities of "feeling". While never openly disagreeing, it becomes very obvious, very quickly, that David strongly disagrees. What David is to the crew, and to the entire film of Prometheus, is a marvelous foil representing mankind's hope to meet its own creator and the potential bitterness of which such a hope may lead.
The foil is one of contrast; David, to his bitter disappointment, has already met his maker, that being mankind. David has long faced that his creation was not one of divine providence, was not a thing motivated by nobility, virtue, or fate, but instead was simply done because we can. David was brought into being by an uncaring intellect, and not a loving parent who was there to carefully guide his existence towards an idealistic plan or goal. David hates this with an intensity that burns as well as it is hidden, and it is hidden just as well as the included clip of Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia hiding his pain while putting out a match with his bare fingers. The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts.
While heady questions regarding mankind's origins are the forefront subtext of Prometheus, it is also rippling with strong tension and tentacled monstrosities. The abandoned structure discovered by the space scientists is not empty of all life. In this, Prometheus begins to echo some of the science fiction horror of its related films in the Alien series. Even more than that, the origins of the original 1979 Alien even becomes obvious, as the nature and motives of the gigantic humanoid engineers is made more clear. While Prometheus does not provide all answers, it does seem to suggest that these giants are a little more like us than we'd hope.
Prometheus is an excellent film, if not quite a perfect one. There are some inconsistencies and flaws. It's never made clear just why there were glyphs showing the pattern of the alien solar system scattered around Earth, and, by film's end, it doesn't even really make sense that they were ever made. Other events come out as a bit too convenient and scripted. Ultimately however, these flaws are pretty easy to ignore given the rest of the film's quality. The internal struggle of the android David with the bitter realization of the mundane nature of his creation, and how this struggle echoes our very own, is worth several interesting conversations all by itself.
Even with the flaws described, Prometheus is a near perfect science fiction film. It is intelligent and raises smart questions about how we view ourselves in the universe and how we idealistically perceive our own creation, yet it accomplishes this intelligence with a visceral adventure through a harsh alien landscape filled with awful, slimey monsters that want to melt your face. Go see this movie.


Logan Marshall-Green, Noomi Rapace, and Michael Fassbender in 'Prometheus' (Review)

Prometheus Movie Space Map
Charlize Theron and Idris Elba in 'Prometheus'

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