Prometheus

Sir Ridley Scott is back in the Alien business. Over thirty years after consum-

mately redefining science fiction movies with a menacing reptilian creature whose blood

content was dangerously acidic, the versatile English director finally brings his classic

saga full circle with the prequel, Prometheus. And this is definitely a prequel despite all

the earlier rhetoric to the contrary. It’s all too apparent that  Scott has returned to his old

stomping grounds- in a big way.

Set thirty years before Sigourney Weaver and her Nostromos crew detour into

unknown celestial territory while returning to earth, exploratory space vessel, Promethe-

us,  forges through our solar system toward a planet orbiting the saturnian moon Io, that

may or may not reveal the answer to the age old question- Where did we come from?

Leading the charge amongst a crew of 17 are two scientists, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw

(Noomie Rapace) and Dr. Charles Holloway(Logan Marshall-Green) who happen to be

quite intimate. This however does not preclude them from asserting their opposing per-

spectives regarding mankind’s origins. She believes in a divine God, an intelligent de-

signer who created everything; he believes Darwin’s theory of evolution is absolute fact.

They have literally traveled billions of miles to see who’s right.

Their generous benefactor Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), c.e.o. of Weyland Indus-

tries must be the richest man in world history. He has spent a whopping trillion dollars (a

mere fraction of our national debt), on this expedition. My Lord, if  I were footing the bill

for this, they had better find what both of us are searching for. Otherwise, I would be de-

manding an immediate refund.

Once they land, our intrepid explorers anxiously rush to get outside, despite a high

carbon dioxide reading. “It’s Christmas and I want to open my presents”, touts Holloway

to the disapproving captain Janek (Idris Elba). Guess you can’t blame them, since they

had to spend over two years in hypersleep stasis to get there.

Vast panoramic views of the planet leave you no choice but to accept this as

the real thing, thanks to the talented efforts of cinematographer Dariusz Wolski and  Sir

Ridley’s steady production designer, Arthur Max. Oh, the planet’s name by the way(ac-

cording to Ridley) is Zeta 2 Reticuli. While there seems to be a “minor” error in this, it

has not prevented Wolski and Max from delivering a  completely otherworldly setting

foreign to anything you’ve seen before.

Alien fans (including yours truly) will notice all the obvious character parallels

stemming from the franchise. Most apparent is Michael Fassbender’s David, the” artifi-

cial person”/precursor to Ian Holmes’ Ash, thus arousing your suspicions immediately as

to what exactly his intentions are. Next up is mission commander Meredith Vickers play-

ed by the increasingly versatile Charlize Theron. She seems to be a combo package of the

straitlaced Lt. Gorman (Aliens) and the conniving Carter Burke who also had an alternate

agenda regarding the aliens. The Borgias’ Sean Harris apes Yaphet Kotto’s Parker in his

desire to make money, and Noomie Rapace’s Shaw is forced from “Snow White” to

hardcore akin to Sigourney’s Ripley.

Scott’s writing duo Joe Spaihts (The Darkest Hour) and Damon Lindelof take us on

an unexpected fun ride, going back 35,000 years to bring Alien veterans as well a novi-

ces up to speed to what’s really going on here. Prometheus is an excellent starting point

for those who’ve never watched the other films. Their dialogue/action sequences sport the

requisite suspense filled build up, although Ridley’s execution surprisingly , seems to

lack that unique melding of sci-fi and gothic horror that made the seminal Alien a major

heart stopper.

Superb visual effects during a harrowing vista involving the Prometheus and the

alien ship, plus the magnitude of an urgent choice concerning the crew, compensates

adequately. No one, including the ship’s personnel, are spared from the increasing dan-

ger that follows our gallant star travelers.

If Prometheus is the beginning of some sort of prequel franchise, Scott is heading in

the right direction. Armed with good story lines and casts, the potential is limitless and

can only get better as it continues. Prayerfully, if it does continue, Sir Ridley will be able

to recreate that same terrifying  experience from over 30 years ago.

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