The original Alien came out in 1979, and instantly became a classic among sci-fi fans around the world. Fast-forward more than 30 years later and sequels along the way, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus takes the universe in a new direction.
The plot takes place in the near future where a team of scientists decipher ancient pictograms from differing civilizations back on earth. They discover that all civilizations have one thing in common: a series of similar symbols that indicate the location of where they may have been originated. The scientists then assemble a team of explorers and set a course to space in an effort to discover the origins of human existence, hoping to finally make contact with the human “Engineers”.
What they discover is an inhabitable planet used as a biological installation by the Engineers. These installations may have been used to manufacture… and deploy a biological species (hint hint) to eradicate the human project–which would be us.
While the mission itself is pretty straightforward, it is plagued with hidden agendas, ulterior motives, dishonesty, and the fact that the biological life form is still alive and well.
The plot as a whole takes a refreshing new look that revives the Alien universe. However the movie is not without its fair share of flaws. The acting from the supporting cast leaves much to be desired. While the acting is not bad per se, many of characters lacked substance, which made their actions seem questionable and random during pivotal points of the film. Aside from the incredibly sad attempt to designate the crew’s “uncaring bad boy”, the rest of the characters possess very little story development, come from unknown backgrounds, and seemed too expendable at times. Think of the infamous “ensign with the red shirt” from the Star Trek universe and you pretty much get the idea.
The direction of the story can seem a bit inconsistent. At times, the film tries to take the Alien universe in a fresh new direction, only to be pulled in the opposite by obvious references as if it was done intentionally to appease the fans of the previous films. Aside from that, the film did a wonderful job of creating suspense, leaving viewers like myself on edge numerous times. The film also did an incredible job in its approach of “showing” the viewer the motives of the Engineers instead of “telling”. This leaves the story open ended and is an invitation for the viewer to create his or her own theories and interpretations.
As mentioned earlier, the acting from the supporting cast may be a bit bland, however Noomi Rapace (Elizabeth Shaw) did a wonderful job as the lead, playing the brave archaeologist, as well as Charlize Theron (Elizabeth Vickers) as the tough, no nonsense overseer of the ship’s crew.
However, Michael Fassbender completely stole the show in his performance as the ship’s android/caregiver, David. His lifeless performance was so complete and thorough that it was ironic that I felt more emotion from David than any of the ship’s human counterparts:
Even with its faults, Prometheus is still a solid sci-fi film that is wonderfully directed. The visuals are stunning, the plot is refreshing, and the brilliant performance from Fassbender completely overtakes the supporting cast. As said earlier, the direction of leaving the plot open ended can leave the viewer guessing as to why. As of right now, any theory is possible, and the truth can hopefully be revealed in another prequel.
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