“Prometheus” is Not an “Alien” Prequel (wink).
Reviewed by Jason Gregg
Let’s address the elephant in the room. If you have been following the marketing campaign for “Prometheus,” the famed Director, Ridley Scott (“Alien,” “Blade Runner,” “Gladiator”) has been keeping the connection to his 1979 film “Alien” under wraps. Is it or isn’t it a prequel to the “Alien” franchise? The Internet is all a flutter with speculations. The only way to know if you go see “Prometheus” and see for yourself.
With that being said, let’s discuss the actual movie on its own merits. Starting at an unknown point in time, we begin with a muscular albino alien man, on a beautiful gray and white planet which may or may not be earth in the early years. He drinks a dark fluid which destroys him from the inside out and he falls to his death. We never hear or see from him again.
Now in 2089, a team of archaeologists, led by our tough but lovely heroine, Elizabeth Shaw (played by Noomi Rapace) finds a cave painting depicting a man and a several stars. Next it is 2093 and the spaceship “Prometheus” is flying through space (Prometheus is from Greek Mythology, he steals fire from the gods and gives it to man, then is sentenced to an unpleasant eternal punishment). The crew of 17 is in deep space sleep while the onboard android, David (played keenly and perfectly by Michael Fassbender), has been monitoring the ship for the last two years. David spends some of his time picking up the mannerisms of Peter O’Toole by watching “Lawrence of Arabia.”
The team of scientists and space crew are thawed out and are introduced to one another in a debriefing by the hologram of the elderly head of Weyland Industries, Peter Weyland (played by Guy Pearce), who has been dead for a few years. This crew is introduced to one another two years away from home on a trillion dollar expedition. One would think that there would have been a briefing before they left home, but if you have seen the first two “Alien” movies; that’s how these things work.
The crew finds out they are on a mission to find the origin of man, simple enough. The archaeologists discovered several cave drawings that gave them enough collateral to go to outer space to find what they call “Engineers.” Not God, but other beings that might or might not have created humans.
They land on a planet where Scott adds close quarter tension between “Prometheus” and a series of caves about half a mile away. Once they are in the caves, the exploration for the Engineers comes down to the line “I wouldn’t touch that if I were you.” As with many thrillers, our characters do what we wouldn’t do in the same situation (if they used logic we wouldn’t have much of a movie).
The crew not only has to find the Engineers but most everyone on the ship has their own motives which adds to the thriller aspect of the story. The coldhearted, Meredith Vickers (played by Charlize Theron) is there to make sure Weyland Industries’ interest and ship is protected and is willing to call it quits at any time. While David is secretly working for someone else, and Shaw really wants to find God. All this tries to lead up to answer the question “Who made us?”
Should you see this movie? If you want to see if this film is a true prequel to “Alien,” then yes see it. If you want a solid sci-fi movie that will have you on edge (warning: there is an intense self-surgery scene), then yes see it. If you want a movie like “Aliens” with Space Marines filled with clever one-liners, this is not for you.
Scott does a great job of building the tensions among the crew and scientists. What he doesn’t do is answer questions of our creation; he poses the question then moves on to set up a sequel. That sequel may or may not be “Alien.”