D: Ridley Scott. DP: Dariusz Wolski. W: Damon Lindelof & Jon Spaihts. Starring: Noomi Raplace/Michael Fassbender/Charlize Theron/Idris Elba/ Guy Pearce/Logan Marshall-Green/Sean Harris/Rafe Spall/Benedict Wong/Kate Dickie.
With a film like this it is hard to know where to begin unpacking. Highly anticiapted and theorized about, Prometheus marks Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien stories. Originally conceptualized as a prequel to his illustrious Alien (1979), with Sigourney Weaver, Prometheus was then reworked as more of an exploratory origin story. If you even can call it that. Rather, I would say, the film attempts to put into perspective questions the previous films brought up. It creates a new story that enlarges the original scope, while closing in on specific themes. Ultimately, the film will remind audiences that oftentimes there are not direct answers to the questions we seek to answer…or are there?
Firstly, the film must be applauded for its visual achievements. It was worth wearing the 3D glasses for the opening sequence alone, which not only was pure beauty, but set the tone of how massive a story would be tacked. The beauty is not limited to just the sets, but to the costume and make-up work. Without spoiling anything, it is safe to say audiences will stay impressed throughout the whole film with the level of artistic work put into everything. Prometheus is truly a cinematic experience.
Similar to the previous Alien films, life and society on board the ship is just as integral to the story as what is found off of it. Thankfully this film is well balanced between the two worlds. Not your typical leading Hollywood lady, Noomi Raplace’s Elizabeth Shaw is believable and memorable. Hailing from the original Swedish versions of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, Raplace is every bit Weaver/Ripley’s opposite. This works in her advantage as she appears in direct contrast to statuesque ice queen, Charlize Theron, whose company is paying for the expedition. But also, her physicality aids in her character’s determination to explore and discover her own origin as it reflects that of mankind. Michael Fassbender’s robot David nearly steals the show. Which at times truly helps the film as Theron and even Logan Marshall-Green’s Charlie can get a little heavy handed.
What remains heavy handed, in a good way, is Scott’s clear sense of suspense and mood. Prometheus, much like his original Alien, is like one big gear. It needs a certain amount time to heat up and gain momentum, but once its warmed up there’s no stopping it. For someone unfamiliar with these films it might seem slow, but for anyone “in that world” so to speak, it takes off at just the right time. Yet, very similarly to Scott’s Blade Runner (1982), I felt at times I was plopped into the middle of a story that had so many tangents to it, it was hard to stay focused.
Lastly, on a personal note, I did not enter the cinema thinking I’d have all the answers laid out in front of me. But that does not mean there weren’t still moments of frustration. However, overall I feel Prometheus is a platform. The film expects its audience to take a huge leap off into the unknown. So rather then get frustrated, I enjoyed the fall. And quickly went off to chat about all the details I could not write about here, as you should do as well.