Hollywood could learn a thing or two from Prometheus. Presently, the amount of access we have to movie news, spoilers and video is exorbitant. That’s why from a marketing perspective Prometheus’ minimalist approach was such a breath of fresh air; you didn’t know exactly what it was going to be about, but you knew it was going to be damn good. Though that kind of word of mouth success takes a long time to accumulate and a name like Ridley Scott certainly helps, but I digress.
The film opens with a serene setting of waterfalls and fog on our mystery planet (or maybe Earth?) with a curious incident involving one of our humanoid aliens. We then see a brief scene involving Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and lover Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) who uncover a primitive cave painting that sets us off on the Weyland Corporation-funded quest to uncover what Shaw believes will be mankind’s origins. After awaking from two years of hibernation on board the Prometheus, we get to know some of the crew, including the very likable Captain Janek (Idris Elba) the cold, mysterious Weyland figure Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and the show-stealer android David (played masterfully by Michael Fassbender.) The ship lands on the planet and the Prometheus crew begins to uncover some of the mystery of what Shaw calls the “Engineers” (of Creation); as well as some other colorful chaos-causing creatures. Once exploration of the mysterious dome on the planet’s surface begins, the pace quickly picks up and everything goes to hell for our heroes; and it’s a lot of fun to watch. I’ll save you spoilers and end the recap there, saying that while the end of the film throws a few curve balls they aren’t so absurd that they feel forced or undeserved.
Part of the hype-machine that was the mystery marketing of Prometheus was of course its connection to Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic Alien. While Prometheus certainly can be categorized as a prequel to Alien, it’s more of a thematic twin with the essential elements of mystery, action and horror that made the prior film such a success. Much like the curious trailers and viral marketing campaigns of Prometheus, I never quite felt like a hand a hold on what was going to happen next while I watched; which made for a compelling experience. Similar to the plot were the mysterious motivations of Michael Fassbender’s David; is he good? Is he bad? Or is he awesome? (Spoiler alert: he’s awesome.) Noomi Rapace retains the thematic role of heroine protagonist that Sigourney Weaver initiated in Alien. While she is no Ellen Ripley, Elizabeth Shaw certainly holds her own against some pretty messed up circumstances. Is Prometheus a good movie? Absolutely. Does it provide answers to life’s mystery? Not exactly, but do you really want to know? I mean have you seen Mission to Mars?
Prometheus Final Grade: A