In 1979 with a limited budget but a strong cast Ridley Scott created one of the most iconic science fiction films of all time. Alien bought the world of the Nostromo and it’s crew to public consciousness and now following three sequels, of varying quality, Scott returns to that world to explain the beginnings of the Alien mythology.
The film begins on an uninhabited planet, a large figure stands above a waterfall and drinks a black liquid, he falls and on hitting the water breaks into the building blocks of life, creating life on the unidentified planet.
We are then identified to the crew of the Prometheus, a group of scientists and experts travelling to the deepest parts of space to explore an ‘invite’ from mysterious beings who have been identified by the lead scientists on the project Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green). As the mission is about to leave it is sent on it’s way by a hologram of Peter Weyland, the man financing the trip and also sending his daughter Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) along for the ride.
Once the crew land on their destination planet LV-223, having been in stasis and looked after by android David (Michael Fassbender), they begin exploring and their search for the answers of who had sent the message and their role in the creation of mankind begins. From here on in we tick off a lot of the expected themes of the Alien world, strange substances, slimy creatures, body horror, space jockeys, engineers and symbolism all come thick and fast and Scott does not hold off with showing us the visceral at any opportunity.
Scott’s style of design over direction works well with the big budget and he is able to remain the feel of the Alien world while bringing the technology up to date and to create stark and commanding images throughout the film. From the opening shots onwards Scott, and cinematographer Dariusz Wolski, create incredible compositions, the light is kept low and the scale is always huge, it is a shame that the script forces the filmmakers to use CGI at certain points because this team are at their best when they work in the real.
The script is the weakest part of Prometheus, while it is dealing with a large amount of information and is clearly setting up a trilogy, it struggles under the weight of exposition, that in previous outings, would have been unnecessary. It is a demonstration of the lunacy of Hollywood that the need to explain every moment is forced through and here it jars in a world where we have previously been happy to put the pieces together ourselves.
If the script is the weakest part, then the main cast are one of the strengths. Noomi Rapace plays a confused religious scientist with a necessity of emotion and during the extreme moments of violence she brings as much melodrama as is needed without over-egging the pudding. She channels Sigourney Weaver at times and doesn’t fall short, a fate that could have befallen a lesser performance.
Charlize Theron plays as close to a villain as is necessary when a cast are being ripped apart by extra-terrestrials and her cold control never falters throughout the movie. The standout performance here though belongs to Michael Fassbender, slowly becoming one of the great actors of this generation, his android David is played with such perfection by Fassbender that it is simple to believe his every move, and the questions about his grasp on emotions and conscious remain hanging in the subtlety he imbues.
The rest of the cast are made up of great actors, Rafe Spall, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce and Sean Harris all have minor roles and are vastly underused. Elba’s captain has a couple of good lines but apart from that remains bumbling around on the bridge of the ship, Spall and Harris play probably the two stupidest scientists in the history of research and come to the necessary sticky end and Pearce as an elderly Peter Weyland drowns in a face full of prosthetics in a piece of casting that seems naive if it was only to create a clever but little seen viral teaser.
Overall Prometheus is a strong return to the world of Alien, the visuals are stunning (and at times even show inventive uses of 3D) and the lead performances strong, the symbolism is strong throughout and with the promise of more on the horizon Scott has relaunched his world, and a lot of the Giger goodness to a new generation of film-goers.
- “Have you met David?”-Prometheus’s Michael Fassbender wants your questions! (blogs.todayonline.com)
- Ridley Scott Talks PROMETHEUS and the BLADE RUNNER Sequel; Says PROMETHEUS Blu-ray Will Have 20 to 30 Min of Deleted Scenes (collider.com)
- Charlize Theron & Cast, Each Owned By The Drama, Heroic Horror; Prometheus (marcwinger.com)
- Charlize Theron sparkles at Prometheus premiere (itv.com)
- Ridley Scott’s Prometheus: Shutting Pandora’s box? (theaveragejoenewsblogg.com)