Prometheus is a lot of things, a thriller, a mystery a tragedy about a few heroic humans faced with an impossible choice on a faraway alien planet, and a well-crafted film about a descent into a horrific nightmare with a flawed narrative. Revisiting the movie last night I was reminded of how visually captivating and mesmerizing it starts out transporting the viewer to another world without effort. This preface shifts into a more disturbing theme with the appearance of a single Engineer who ingests a substance that causes him to disintegrate, not just physically but on a genetic level until he is no more. Overhead a large shape seems to be a massive ship departing the planet. It’s a sort of perfection the film achieves right away but loses as it continues.
Prometheus became one of the most controversial science fiction films of the 21st century. Initially billed as the long-awaited prequel to the Alien series of films it fell victim to the hype that preceded it and was inevitably found wanting by fans who as always seek perfection in every new production and grow mean when they feel they have somehow been betrayed.
Directed by Ridley Scott, written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof and featuring an excellent cast starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marchall-Green, and Charlize Theron. It is set in the late 21st century and centers on the crew of the spaceship Prometheus as it follows a star-map discovered among the artifacts of several ancient Earth cultures. Seeking the origins of humanity, the crew arrives on a distant world and discovers a threat that could cause the extinction of the human species.
For me, problems with the film begin shortly after they arrive and land on their planet of choice. The scientists seem far too casual considering the situation which seems out of character, and the entire expedition doesn’t seem very organized in its approach to exploring the place. These people do not seem to be cooperating as a unit. Fassbender who is notably creepy and memorable as David the android alone seems focused on his task and pushes ahead of everyone else seemingly with a singular sense of purpose.
The behavior of the scientists and the lack of organization hardly seemed worth dwelling on as the film moves along at a steady pace and never gets boring or dull. I’m not a big fan of science fiction horror movies but I now count Prometheus as one of my favorites in the genre and my memory tells me its one of the best I have ever seen. There’s some excellent horror stuff here that’s well portrayed.
Also memorable is Noomi Rapace as Shaw. What a woman! She endures some of the film’s most creatively nightmarish situations and handles them like a champ. Shaw is made of sturdy stuff; I was reminded of the energizer bunny. The remaining crew that survives the encounter with the engineers and their hellish creations chooses to sacrifice themselves to save humanity by intentionally setting a collision course with an engineer ship full of evil goo as it tries to leave the planet.
Overall I enjoyed the movie this time despite its flaws and it seems to deserve more appreciation than it has gotten in the past.