Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Noomi Rapace
Cinematic Release: 1st June 2012
Budget: $130 million
Box Office: $35 million (so far!)
In 1979 Ridley Scott directed the award winning Alien, which would go on to become one of the most iconic science fiction movies of all time. Creating characters that would endure and become the archetypes that have gone on to shape the way we look at sci-fi and many other genres today. The film gave us a truly terrifying creature, it spawned many sequels, books, toys, statues and more importantly intense debate among its fans. Now thirty three years later, Ridley Scott is returning to the universe he created with his latest film, ‘Prometheus’.
First things first, this isn’t a sequel or a prequel. Yes it is set in the same universe, with an expedition to LV 223 which predates the Nostromo by about three decades. It’s explores the nature of the creature dubbed the “Space Jockey” in Alien and doesn’t really focus on the Xenomorphs.
The premise of Prometheus revolves around Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discovered that in many ancient Earth cultures there exists a shocking commonality. Pictographs of a giant among men, pointing to the stars. These stars are in a very specific configuration. Shaw and Holloway theorise that it was visitors from this world, they refer to these beings as the Engineers (Space Jockeys) who came to Earth and left a map to follow them back. They then convince the head of the Weyland Corporation to fund an expedition to those coordinates so they can meet their makers and discover the truth for themselves.
This is another immersive and visually stunning experience from one of the masters of modern cinema, Ridley Scott. This movie feels completely different to his other works, it is bright, containing lots of bright white and daylight shots which any fan of his would recognise as a stark contrast to the original Alien. It really sets the tone that while this is in the Alien universe this is not an Alien movie.
There is no white knuckle tension or haunting silences as the unknown stalks you in the darkness. This is bright and open with characters who want to explore the environment. The technology and creature designs are visually striking, especially the Prometheus ship itself.
The world is full and varied, very little elaborate exposition is forced upon us avoiding the trope of too much techno-babble that sci-fi can often fall into, leaving room for you to come to your own conclusions on what’s happening.
There is a crew of seventeen on the Prometheus, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) an archeologist with deep religious beliefs. Mara performs well in her role, delivering an almost worthy successor to Ellen Ripley. For those of you wondering where you might have seen Rapace before, she is the actress behind the Milennium Series, the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Here is hoping Hollywood takes notice of this young actress after her stellar performance and we’ll see her in more roles in the near future! The Weyland Corporation android David (Michael Fassbender), whose job it was to look after the crew while they were in stasis. Fassbender steals every scene he is in, always maintaining a nuanced balance between his emotionless facade and clearly something more bubbling just underneath the surface. Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) the Weyland Corporation representative aboard the ship, whose only priority is to protect Weyland’s interests and has very little interest in the scientists lofty goals. Idris Elba takes on the role of Janek the captain of the Prometheus, who aside from a medic and two pilots is the only real crew we come to meet with, with the majority of the ship personnel faceless and unseen.
It is worthy piece of film making, but not all die hard fans are able to leave their preconcieved notions at the cinema door and thus far the film is meeting very mixed responses from fans and critics alike. Overall I really enjoyed Prometheus, it’s entertaining, immersive, visually fantastic and will no doubt spark long debates about every minute detail. However, if you are going into this expecting Scott’s 1979 Alien all over again, you will probably be disappointed.
This isn’t Alien or Ridley Scott 1979! It’s Prometheus and Ridley Scott 2012!
So go forth and enjoy!
“The search for our beginning could lead to our end”