|'Prometheus' looks deep into our search for answers|
|Friday, June 8, 2012|
By PATRICK HALL
“Big things have small beginnings,” declared David in “Prometheus,” a science fiction adventure with inspiring vision and sinister overtones that faces the very beliefs and ideas we hold most dear, but delivers a tense ride.
"Prometheus” tells the tale of the 17 crewmembers of the titular science exploration spaceship as they travel to a distant moon after archaeologists discovered ancient drawings all depicting the same alien civilization.
The crew is seeking the answers and origins of human life, but finds far more than they bargained for in the end. Directed by Ridley Scott and superbly written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof, “Prometheus” is a prequel to Scott’s 1979 film “Alien” but tells it’s own mostly-unique story.
The crew is led by Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Dr. Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) who made the archaeological discoveries on Earth. Coming with them is android David, played brilliantly by Michael Fassbender.Upon arriving on the moon, the crew enters an ancient stone structure that houses eerie silence, strange life forms and hidden dangers. The crew certainly finds what they’re looking for, but that knowledge comes with a heavy price.
David is the ultimate star of the show, much as HAL in “2001: A Space Odyssey” who you can never completely trust. David is emotionless and the human crewmembers are quick to point that out, and although he never shows emotion, David expresses his contempt in the astounding lines of dialogue.
Shaw and Holloway are “true believers” in the sense that science, or their pursuit of the aliens depicted on the cave walls, will finally answer why human beings exist, or at least how we came to exist.
Much of the film scratches away at these questions, and why it matters that humanity knows their origins completely. David is constantly prying at his human counterparts, wondering why they care so much about answering these questions. He also plays a large part in events that transpire, some of them not so great for the crew.
Along with the answer-seeking archaeologists is Weyland Industries employee Vickers, played by Charlize Theron. Weyland is the corporation funding the expedition and the way she commands the crew and carries herself, may be a vision of things to come for privatized spaceflight, which just took it’s first small step in the past few months.
Vickers is hiding something, or at least, acts as if she is, but cares little for the answers the expedition seeks. She’s cold and is only interested in how the $1 trillion is spent that the company used to send Prometheus into space.
While the movie looks at the basic mysteries of life, its inception on Earth and elsewhere, there’s always a sense of adventure that can be credited to the film’s score, composed by Marc Streitenfeld.
Whereas “Alien” was dark, dangerous and scary, “Prometheus” plays out like explorers finding “The New World.” The tone is nevertheless foreboding and as the film moves forward, you know how things are going to end.
The world of “Prometheus” is desolate and a very stark contrast to James Cameron’s “Avatar” where the planet Pandora is beautiful and colorful. While less visually spectacular, “Prometheus” is grounded and adds to the tone.
Many of the other supporting cast members are bland or just there to fill out the needs of the spaceship’s operation. The ship’s captain, Janek, played by Idris Elba is a hot-shot who doesn’t care about the origin of life, but merely on protecting it.
In the end, Scott delivers a prequel that has many ties to his “Alien” film, that are only obvious if you’re well versed in that film’s mythology. Any other moviegoer can enjoy “Prometheus” as its own tale.
The vast differences within the human race are present in the main cast, but I never really believed Shaw was a religious person as it felt the film was attempting to establish. Ultimately, Shaw's father's quote of, “it’s what I choose to believe” hits the heart of all humanity’s ideals that we cannot prove.
To address more of the film's exploration of life and death would be to give away too much of the plot.
“Prometheus” tells the origins of life, in a fictional tale of the future and our past. It’s purely spectacular and leaves you with many questions that don’t frustrate, but leave you wanting more. I couldn’t have been more pleased.
The film is not without it’s monsters and scary moments, and spares no expense on a brutal futuristic surgical scene. The sexual overtones of “Alien” are present but less prominent.
Those uninterested in space dramas, aliens or stories that require a lot of suspension of belief, may be turned off. But “Prometheus” gives a very fascinating take on our quest for answers.
‘Prometheus’ is rated R and is now playing in all local theaters with a runtime of 2 hours 4 minutes.