Fans Conflicted Over Gorgeous Alien Prequel
PROMETHEUS (2012/IN THEATERS) The build up for director Ridley Scott’s Alien “prequel” was terrific—I loved all the trailers (so creepy) and especially loved the viral video of Guy Pearce and his character Peter Waylund’s “change the world” speech which appeared this past spring (if you missed it, click here to see it). So, even though I am not an Alien geek, I was looking forward to seeing Prometheus in the theater. The movie is certainly gorgeous to look at, with stunning visual effects and at least a couple “gotcha” moments. The premise of the film is big, with a mysterious opening sequence, ala 2001: A Space Odyssey, focused on the questions of the origin of the human race. Our protagonists here are two archeologists, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), scientist lovers who have discovered clues in numerous caves to what they refer to as the “engineers” who created us. The movie cuts from their latest discovery on the Isle of Skye in Scotland to the space vessel Prometheus, a few years later, which is heading to an unknown moon following those clues. On board, the crew are cryonically frozen but they have a marvelous caretaker in the form of David (Michael Fassbender), who is as charming an android as you’ll ever meet. David is like a walking version of 2001’s HAL (marvelous as he watches Lawrence of Arabia and styles himself after Peter O’Toole) and is busy learning ancient languages so that he can fulfill his mission when the ship arrives at its destination. As the crew awakens, we meet Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) as the representative of Waylund Enterprises which we are told has funded the full cost of this mission—why? We will learn later. With all crewmembers now awake, a hologram of Peter Waylund welcomes the group to its destination. Once landed, a small group, at the behest of Ms. Shaw, impulsively hastens toward an obvious “hillock” which is hollow and possibly is the center for the “engineers.” Sending out clever probes, the group soon discovers a central chamber, complete with a large humanoid carving surrounded by murals and mysterious vessels oozing black goo—interesting. Thanks to David, who can read and manipulate the symbols on the wall, the crew also discovers bodies and holographs of dead men. Wow. From here, the plot takes some individuals back to the ship, but leaves two behind. They’re doomed, right?? Right! Several sub-plots take off, in a somewhat scattered fashion, and there’s at least one horrific scene involving a creature growing inside of a human, recalling John Hurt’s awful death in Alien. I won’t dwell on the plot but will say that many big-time Alien fans are very disappointed with the film and fault co-screenwriter Damon Lindelof for its unanswered questions and plot holes. Lindelof famously wrote more episodes of Lost than anyone else and is credited with the finale of that series, which people either loved or hated (count me in the hated crowd). Nevertheless, the movie is captivating and definitely worth seeing for sci-fi fans and others. The special effects alone are worth the price of admission. As for the performances, they are good on the whole. And I absolutely loved Fassbender’s David—a tour de force IMHO. Did the movie live up to its trailers and viral videos? Not really, but let’s face it–they set the bar very high.