“Prometheus” is this year’s “Inception.” It’s grandly ambitious, visually stunning … and doesn’t make much sense.
Director Ridley Scott returns to the creatures and concepts he launched in the 1979 science fiction horror classic “Alien.” It serves as a prequel of sorts for the “Alien” franchise, but with “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof on board as co-writer, expect more questions than answers. “Lost” might actually make more sense than “Prometheus.” Might.
The film opens with gorgeous, sweeping cinematography of a pristine, ancient Earth. A large albino alien arrives, drinks a black liquid, falls into a waterfall and so begins life on Earth. I think.
Fast forward to the year 2089 where archeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) have made a shocking discovery among some prehistoric cave paintings: a map that they believe will lead them across the stars to the alien “engineers” who created life on Earth.
They bring their theory to Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), wealthy founder of the Weyland Corporation. Determined to meet his makers, Weyland funds a scientific expedition on board the starship Prometheus.
The trip will take more than two years, so most of the crew spends the time in cryo-sleep, with the exception of David (Michael Fassbender), an android. One of the film’s more interesting bits occurs early on as David wanders the giant ship alone.
Prometheus arrives at its destination and instead of being greeted by loving, giant albino engineers, the crew discovers a large, abandoned underground facility. If you’ve ever seen an “Alien” movie, you can guess what happens next.
“Prometheus,” the good bits: If you love the visual spectacle of sci-fi — giant spaceships; strange, alien worlds; nifty special effects — this movie has it all. If you like moments of gripping horror, it has that. Michael Fassbender’s performance is compelling. The 3D is pretty decent.
“Prometheus,” the bad bits: How did the ship’s captain (Idris Elba) figure out the true purpose of the structure they found? Why did the aliens leave us a map thousands of years ago to that planet instead of their home planet? Why did Michael do what he did to Charlie? Why does Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), the head of the expedition, have a super-rare, super-sophisticated medical pod in her private quarters that doesn’t treat women? Why would you even manufacture a super-rare, super-sophisticated medical pod that only treats one sex?
I’m also curious as to why the aliens were going to do what the Prometheus crew assume they were going to do. But I’m guessing that question will be raised in the sequel, as the film very clearly sets itself up for one.
Overall, I’m glad I saw “Prometheus,” but then I’m the kinda guy who loves sci-fi spectacle. I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it due to all the issues I have with the plot. I seem to be running into that problem a lot this summer.