*****This is a completely spoiler free review!!*****
I’ve been waiting over a year to see PROMETHEUS, Ridley Scott’s new film that began as a prequel to his 1979 masterpiece, ALIEN, but has since evolved into more (way more). When you’ve been eagerly anticipating something for so long you never know how you’re going to react after experiencing it. Over the last year we’ve read the interviews and set reports where Scott and one of the writers, Damon Lindelof, discuss how this film evolved into so much more than just an ALIEN prequel. There are a lot of recognizable ALIEN elements in PROMETHEUS, but this is most definitely a standalone film with some very high ideals. Is this a straight up horror movie? Absolutely not. There are, though, a lot of horror elements running throughout this film. Hell; there’s a lot of different genres and ideas in PROMETHEUS, but what it comes down to is whether or not all these elements blend together to make a great movie.
PROMETHEUS begins in the near future (around 2089, I believe) in Scotland. A team of archeologists headed by Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Dr. Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) unearth evidence, in the form of cave drawings, that seem to be scattered all over the earth in many different cultures throughout history. The picture details human beings seemingly worshipping a giant humanoid who is pointing to the stars. Our plucky scientists believe this is an invitation to come find our “makers.”
Flash forward a few more years in the future where we join David (Michael Fassbender), a human-looking robot who’s taking care of the hibernating crew aboard the ship Prometheus. The crew is on a mission to seek out the planet where all evidence points to life on earth actually beginning. We get the typical scenes of seeing the crew waking up out of stasis and meeting the individual crew members and learning their specialties. There’s Fifield (Sean Harris), a geologist; Millburn (Rafe Spall), a biologist; and Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), a representative of everyone’s favorite futuristic conglomerate, the Weyland Corporation; and others who are part of the ship’s crew, security, and medical staff. As Shaw and Holloway fill them in on why they’re all there and what the nature of their mission is, they’re met with various reactions. Some think it’s a huge waste of time, others are interested in learning more, and still others are scared at what they might find.
Once they land on the planet they enter a structure that definitely wasn’t a natural formation but had some kind of intelligent design behind it. It’s here that they find their answers. Wait a minute; let me correct that. It’s here they begin to piece together the answers to their questions and get more answers than they wanted. Yes people, PROMETHEUS is a movie full of high ideals and even flirts with philosophical questions. This film explores the same questions that were posed in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 epic, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY: The creation of life, who (or what) created us, what meaning is there in our creation, and why did our creators abandon us? I really appreciate that Scott didn’t feel the need to have the standard religious character and turn the story into one of religious faith vs. scientific faith. We’ve been there and seen that!! There are people on board who believe in god (Shaw for example) but their beliefs seem to be balanced and not so black and white. As Shaw says, “It’s what I choose to believe in.” I really loved the script and story here. We get, as I mentioned, the same themes as 2001, but we get them presented in a very different way. I really like where Scott and writers Lindelof and Jon Spaihts took the story and how they didn’t feel the need to create an over-the-top action sci-fi movie that tries to rival THE AVENGERS (which is an awesome flick). PROMETHEUS is a cerebral sci-fi flick that’s a throwback to films like Scott’s BLADE RUNNER. There’s a lot of action here, but there’s also a lot of ideas and brain activity going on as well.
So what’s the connection with the ALIEN franchise, you may be wondering? Well this is a spoiler free review so I don’t wanna say much. I will tell you that Scott and the writers include a decent amount of the ideas seen in ALIEN, but they do so in very clever ways that fans of the original ALIEN will recognize immediately. If you’ve never seen any of the ALIEN films then those scenes will be lost on you but you won’t miss out on any of the fun. PROMETHEUS is a standalone film that fans of ALIEN will get a real kick out of. There’s also a lot of room for a sequel or two (as writer Lindelof hinted at a few weeks ago). We get answers here, but the answers raise even more questions that need to be explored. There’s also the opportunity to take the next film straight up into horror territory.
Yes I’m being vague … very vague because PROMETHEUS is a film you need to experience for yourself. Don’t go into it expecting an action film like ALIENS, or it being a direct prequel to ALIEN because you’ll be disappointed. PROMETHEUS is a thinking man’s scifi-action-horror-thriller film that I found really satisfying. I can’t help it; I’ll always be a philosophy student at heart, and us philosophy students always wanna know the answers to the big “Why’s.” PROMETHEUS answers those big questions and then some.
I’ve been consumed with PROMETHEUS for over a year (just do a search on anythinghorror.com), and was afraid that my expectations wouldn’t live up to the delivery. Luckily I was wrong in this case. The ending feels a little rushed especially since there was so much going on, but the ending is wholly satisfying. With a great cast, great writing, amazing sets, high ideas, and excellent execution, PROMETHEUS is one great film. Ridley Scott creates a beautiful film that reaches far and succeeds. Don’t go in expecting a direct prequel to ALIEN; that’s not what this film is about. This is it’s own film that contains some elements of ALIEN (mainly the origin of the creatures). If you go into PROMETHEUS expecting to see a great Ridley Scott film, you won’t be diappointed. Don’t miss this one in the theaters.
Director: Ridley Scott
Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Gore: 3 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer