“Prometheus has landed.”
Prometheus sees Ridley Scott returning to the sci-fi genre. The only problem is that Scott is a very hit-or-miss director for me. Blade Runner was a miss, but Alien (the movie which Prometheus is actually connected to) was a big hit. Luckily Prometheus aimed high and managed to hit the target also.
Right from the get-go we get an homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is fitting since this film asks the same large, unanswerable questions that that one did. Prometheus deals with no less than the origins of life on earth. We don’t get an answer, but its the asking that’s important here. And the weight of these overarching questions is certainly felt throughout the movie.
But this is not a purely philosophical venture. It is a sci-fi behemoth rich in visual texture, adventure, and thrills. We follow the journey of a spaceship crew on a mission to discover the origins of life, believed to have started with an older race of alien beings. But of course, they find more than they bargained for.
I think there is a real sense of discovery and wonderment in the first half of this movie. Scientists Shaw and Holloway try to find the answers they seek and their quest feels heartfelt. I liked both Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green in these roles. They are joined by Michael Fassbender as the resident cyborg who also puts in an excellent performance, as does Charlize Theron, though the purpose of her character is less clear.
Unfortunately, the secondary characters aren’t great and are pretty cardboard-like. This is a problem I’ve noticed with a few Scott films lately (i.e. Robin Hood) where the supporting characters really just don’t seem like real people. The character of Fifield is the biggest offender here.
There is some really great stuff in this film. The opening visuals are fantastic, and the search of the caves is also quite thrilling. There’s a truly great scene here where the main character Shaw has to perform emergency surgery on herself. Its a masterful and tense scene to be sure.
Prometheus is a little frustrating as some of the questions don’t really have clear answers, such as the real nature of the x-files like black oil and what its purpose really is. But this is a movie which has a real gravitas to it. It feels big, it feels epic, and it feels authentic in its own way. I found it to be a great film.