- Rated R
- Buy the BD
All photos © 20th Century Fox
Reviewed by David Medsker
t’s tempting to call “Prometheus” thinking man’s sci-fi, but that would be a tad misleading. The movie does ask some larger questions about discovering the origin of our species, and whether or not that is really a good idea, but at its core, “Prometheus” is an outer space monster movie (and the most gorgeous space monster movie you’ve ever seen at that). The only question is determining exactly who the monster is.
Set in 2094, a group of scientists with varying areas of specialty arrive at a remote planet (as in, they spent two years in hypersleep in order to get there) that their employer, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), believes to be the source of mankind’s origin. Their orders, as delivered by Weyland Corporation liaison Meredith Vickers (a stone-cold Charlize Theron), are merely to observe and report. The group finds a manmade structure on the planet’s surface, lands their ship (named the Prometheus), and investigates. It is not long before the crew discovers that long ago, something very bad happened here.
The plot is surprisingly straightforward, which is why we will err on offering less than more in terms of a plot summary. Director Ridley Scott was not wrong when he said “Prometheus” has some “Alien” DNA in it, but Scott’s more interested in the bigger picture this time around, though that’s not to say that he’s opposed to scaring the pants off of people at the same time. He stuffs the first hour of “Prometheus” with the same sense of dread that propelled “Alien.” From there, though, things get strange, and duplicitous, and a little gross.
And that’s all well and good, but ultimately, the movie does not quite deliver everything it seemed to promise. It will make for some interesting post-movie conversations about the pros and cons of meeting your maker, as it were, but an additional layer of story lines involving the crew would have worked wonders. Simple plots are always preferable to convoluted ones, but “Prometheus” is a bit too simple.
Good thing it’s pretty, then. The sets and cinematography are absolutely sumptuous, and Scott has assembled a crack cast as well. Noomi Rapace, who plays lead scientist Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, will no longer be referred to as the original Girl with a Dragon Tattoo after her work here. Think of her as a pacifist Ellen Ripley, though her survival instincts are formidable. Michael Fassbender plays David, who was once Weyland’s personal droid assistant, and he flourishes in the role of a non-human. Idris Elba, who plays the ship’s captain, is the only other character who really gets much of a chance to be human. The rest of the cast have names and personalities, but you will not remember them, and that is all we’ll say about that.
“Prometheus” is a bit of a contradiction. Is the movie too streamlined, or overly ambitious, or is it both? You could make strong arguments for all three points of view. Greatness was definitely within its grasp, but while “Prometheus” aims to explore several different subjects, those subjects ultimately add up to less than they should.
Two-Disc Blu-ray Review:
Fox’s Blu-ray release of “Prometheus” is almost as disappointing as the movie itself. With the exception of two audio commentaries – one by director Ridley Scott, and a far more interesting track by writers Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts – the only other extras on the set are a collection of deleted and alternate scenes, some promotional videos from the marketing campaign, and a DVD and UltraViolet digital copy of the film.