Review: Prometheus

“We made you because we could,” is what David the android is told. Could the same thing be said of us puny humans? The explorers aboard the Prometheus do their best to answer that question.

Before watching Prometheus I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean, I knew it was being done by Ridley Scott, the man that’s given us a bunch great movies over the years–and the man that also started the whole Alien franchise. I also knew that the film was potentially linked to the Alien universe as interviews with Scott had stated this. All this and more had me excited for Prometheus.

I’ll start with the easy stuff. The film is simply gorgeous. It’s definitely futuristic sci-fi sterile, but the way everything is crafted, from the ship, to everyone’s suits, to the equipment and displays, everything has that clean looking aesthetic, but it also has an elegant look about it as well. Also, I love the use of wide shots in the film. You always know where things are and get looks at the surrounding environment in the process, but it also gives you a sense of foreboding; whether its the Prometheus itself or any of its human crew being dwarfed by the environment.

Charlize Theron as cold blooded Weyland executive Meredith Vickers (inset as the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Huntsman).

The film also has great performances by Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, and Noomi Rapace. If I were a 2012 summer movie, I’d want to make sure I had Theron in my movie. In both of the roles she’s had this summer (Snow White and the Huntsman and now Prometheus), Theron really brings a great sense of evil to her characters. True the evil corporate honcho thing has been done before, but Theron definitely adds something more sinister and menacing to make this one her own.

Noomi Rapace as the “faithful” scientist Elizabeth Shaw.

Noomi Rapace on the other hand, I thought gave a pretty solid performance. The girl with the dragon tattoo’s second American feature definitely provided her with more of a canvas to make a name for herself here in the US. Comparisons have been made between her character (Dr. Elizabeth Shaw) and Sigourney Weaver‘s Ellen Ripley, but I don’t think they’re the same type of character. Shaw definitely has more of a softer side than Ripley, and while Shaw holds her own, she definitely wasn’t a reluctant badass that Ripley was.

Michael Fassbender as the enigmatic android David.

Finally there’s Michael Fassbender turning in a great performance as the android David. I really liked what Scott did with the android character in this film, not making him a straight up bad guy like in Alien, but still not making David too much of a helpful kind of guy. Another departure for the andriod character in this film was that from the beginning we know that David is an android, SPOILER ALERT–something that wasn’t the case in Alien. Everything Fassbender does with David though, from his tone, to his mannerisms, to the sound of his voice all add to the beguiling nature of the character. As a result, you’re not quite sure if his malicious nature is his doing, or from the commands he’s been given. As great as an actor as Fassbender is you might have thought he would have some difficulty playing a robot. Definitely not the case.

All of this isn’t to say that Prometheus isn’t without its problems; the most egregious being the number of questions the film leaves unanswered (since this is a spoiler free review, these questions will not be present here). I’m all for leaving things ambiguous so that the audience has something to think about as they leave the theater, but it felt as if the film left too many things unanswered–some of them not even big or philosophical.

Is human folly inherent in our DNA? I’m not sure even the movie’s Engineers (seen here) could answer that one for you.

Something else that bugged me was the human stupidity on display in the film. Taking place nearly 80 years in the future you would think that us humans would have a little more common sense when journeying to a far away planet. Yet time and again in the film events are set into motion by human stupidity. I wasn’t sure if this was lazy storytelling by the filmmakers or if it was a commentary on us as a species.

Finally, mainly in the latter half of the film, one problem I had was that the characters made assumptions about things without really having the evidence to support those assumptions. Isn’t it supposed to be that the audience knows more than the characters do? Yet time and again the characters in the film apparently made lots of educated guesses on what was going on when clearly the evidence at hand (literally what I watched on screen) was ambiguous at best. Again, this kind of circles back to questions not being answered.

All in all though, I enjoyed Prometheus, the story it told, the questions it posed, even with its problems and all. One final note, the film leaves things open for a sequel. A sequel I hope that doesn’t happen. Reason being, I think that the things left unsaid in Prometheus will be better than anything the filmmakers might come up with to explain them in a possible sequel.

I’m sure you have thoughts on some of the stuff that went on in Prometheus. Weigh in in the comments below.

Rating-4 stars // Rated R // Runtime 2hr 3min


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