By Scott Elliot
June 8, 2012
Itʼs been 30 years since Ridley Scott delved into the realm of science fiction, but the wait was well worth it. Prometheus is a refreshing thriller for adults arriving just in time for summer. It impresses with special effects and action like other summer fare, but also goes beyond and presents the viewer with good cinematography and detailed sets that are pleasing to the eye. The film does not lose itself in meaningless action sequences. It is not light fare, but begins with deep subject matter: the quest for the origins of humanity. Do not let this scare you off. Prometheus is smart and engaging, but it's not so deep a person will get lost.
Noomi Rapace is wonderfully cast as Elizabeth Shaw, a scientist researching ancient cave drawings with similar depictions. She shines, just as Sigourney Weaver did in the original Alien. Shaw is in a relationship with Logan Marshall-Green (Charlie Holloway), who is also a scientist studying the same thing. They team up with the Weyland Corporation to investigate a star map they have found in the caves. Shaw, Marshall-Green, and Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) all believe the planets in the star map will lead to answers concerning the questions of the origin of humanity, but they all have different motives for their questions. Marshall-Green cannot understand why anyone would create humanity. He is a secular scientist who does not believe in any kind of religion. Weyland is about to die and is looking for any way to extend his life. Shaw is a person of faith. She is interested in the answers to the questions, but her faith is bigger than the obstacles she encounters.
Once on the planet, the scientists, along with other crew members, discover signs of intelligent life, even though the planet seems empty. When two crew members are unable to make it back on the ship, they discover the planet is occupied by more than the intelligent life forms they came to seek. This leads to a series of incidents that place the crew members of Prometheus in grave danger. There is also plenty of infighting amongst the crew, who all have different motives for being there.
Prometheus is a prequel to Ridley Scottʼs groundbreaking sci-fi thriller Alien. Fans of Alien will notice some allusions to the original classic. There have been plenty of sequels to Alien (some good, some bad), but none of them were directed by Scott. He brings a sense of respect and credibility back to a film franchise that had gotten out of hand. Scott, who also directed Blade Runner, is right at home with science fiction, even though he has directed and proven himself with other genres as well. He brings levels of suspense, horror, and intelligence that are sometimes missing from other sci-fi films. He is often imitated but never duplicated, and it is nice to see him return to the genre that launched his career.
Prometheus is one of the better films of the year, although it has its problems. The ending and some other scenes were similar to Alien. It also left itself wide open for a sequel, which Iʼm not sure I want to see unless Scott returns to direct it also. These problems are minor and should be overlooked. The film as a whole is amazing. Scott again gives us a strong and courageous female lead in an action film. Although this is more common now than it was when Alien came out, it is still something you donʼt see every day. On top of all that, Shaw is a person of faith, and there is a great message here for Christians. Some of the other characters fall prey to aliens and others because they are seeking the wrong answers, but Shaw, a person of faith, seems to be able to weather whatever storm is thrown her way.