Bottom Line: Of what I’ve seen thus far, Prometheus is the best film of 2012.
“Big things have small beginnings.” –Michael Fassbender as David
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Rafe Spall, Sean Harris
The cinema has reached an era in which just about every science fiction and horror movie is doing the exactly the same thing. For sci-fi, it’s using brilliant special effects and claiming that’s the film’s plot. For horror, it’s using tactics such as loud music and objects popping out of nowhere, a clichéd leap of faith filmmakers take in hopes of getting a jump out of the audience. PROMETHEUS, though a combination of the two genres, is the polar opposite. Filmmaking giant Ridley Scott prefers to build up on our suspense, minute by minute, and then give us a nice jump so that we, as the audience, don’t feel cheated. To say this doesn’t have mind-blowing special effects would be like saying Whitney Houston didn’t have a voice. It’s defined by its incredible visuals, but it’s also even more deeply defined by its plot.
PROMETHEUS, set initially in 2089, follows Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and her boyfriend Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), two archaeologists who find an artifact that could lead to the discovery of humanity’s origin. Four years later, a man by the name of Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) sets up the USS Prometheus to orbit the moon LV-223, where it is said there resides a race of ancient aliens who could possibly be the original humans. A problem occurs on this mission when the alien race begins infesting on and attacking the nine crew members, and the fate of Earth’s future is in their hands.
“Sometimes to create life, you have to destroy first.” –Michael Fassbender as David
Say what you wish in the debate, but PROMETHEUS is a prequel to 1979’s ALIEN, if not a “quasi-prequel.” The characters do not share the same names between the two films, but they all represent each other. The classic example of a strong female character Sigourney Weaver gave thirty-three years ago is echoed by Noomi Rapace (who deserves an Oscar for her performance), for instance. The facts that the film directly leads up to the original work, the pacing of the two works are exactly the same, and the sci-fi and horror genres are blended in the same fashion, cannot be missed either. PROMETHEUS also acts in the likes of 1968’s influential 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. 2001 raised questions about the future and left the questions unanswered. This much more recent picture raises questions that are slightly more philosophical, related to life itself and humanity’s origins. The plot hints at it, but you wouldn’t expect the film to go so thematically deep and mesmerizing, which is one of the many things that set it apart from a conventional sci-fi/horror film.
“A king has his reign, and then he dies. It’s inevitable.” –Charlize Theron as Meredith Vickers
Just as mind-blowing as Scott’s unthinkable ability to raise such pensive questions is the technical aptitude present in PROMETHEUS. I’m not the biggest fan of 3-D screenings. Usually, it’s just throwing in Abraham Lincoln’s monetary face to what I already have to pay and getting nothing more than objects appearing to bulge off the screen. I must say, the film put 3-D to a wonderful use. The first half an hour entailed larger-than-life landscape displays. During action sequences, especially near the end, the shots are careful and lead for a very thrilling experience. The best scenes to experience in this visual enhancement, however, are the scenes with alien organisms erupting from bodies, which put the steady shots to the most convenient use.
“The trick is, not minding it hurts.” –Michael Fassbender as David
As far as I’ve seen, PROMETHEUS is the best film from the first half of 2012. Science fiction and horror have been separately a disappointment lately, as mentioned before; clearly Sir Ridley Scott knows how to break away from his more recent films (ROBIN HOOD, BODY OF LIES, AMERICAN GANGSTER) and successfully reinvestigate his melded science fiction and horror roots that brought his name to familiarity.