Prometheus is director Ridley Scott’s long-awaited return to the genre that made him famous. Tying into the beloved Alien franchise, it’s a breath of fresh air to get a film that for the most part is a new and original sci-fi story. It’s nice as well to see Scott make a film that doesn’t have Russell Crowe. I never would of guessed that thirtysomething years into his career Scott would craft his most intense work but here it is.
Without spoiling anything (including the mystifying opening sequence) Prometheus is about a group of scientific researchers on a two year space voyage to a distant moon that may hold the secrets to how life began on earth. While in stasis the group is monitored by an android named David (Michael Fassbender) who spends his days practicing ancient languages and modeling himself after Peter O’Toole from Lawrence of Arabia. Included in the rest of the crew is the cold mission director Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), the wisecracking captain Janek (Idris Elba), and Elizabeth Shaw a strongly spiritual archaeologist (Noomi Rapace) to name a few. The crew eventually reaches the mysterious moon LV-223 and from there on shit gets real.
Early on we see strong conflicting ideals between our protagonist Elizabeth and her archeologist boyfriend Charlie (Tom Hardy lookalike Logan Marshall-Green). Where Elizabeth is a believer Charlie is an atheist, which creates a dividing theme behind everything we see in Prometheus. Additionally, the film is continually open-ended to either create debate for the viewers or just to prepare for a sequel. It’s a film that’s insightful but not by being preachy, rather it operates on a much darker level.
Prometheus has to be one of the most visceral and violent sci-fi films I’ve seen. The kind of body-horror displayed in Prometheus is so flesh-crawlingly grotesque it would get David Cronenberg hard. I should clarify by saying “Yes, there are aliens in Prometheus and yes they do get inside you.” They’re not the ones we’re familiar with from the Aliens franchise but they are definitely tied to those movies. Though it’s the mystery behind these other lifeforms that’s really fascinating. “How are we connected to all this?” “What does it all mean?” Yeah, it’s one of those kind of movies.
Visually the film is stunning and makes magnificent use of traditional effects as much as it can. Iceland in all it’s vast beauty was used for some of the film’s opening shots and Swiss artist/set designer H.R. Giger gives the film the same Gothic look he gave Alien. Performance wise Idris Elba shines as the crew’s charismatic captain (despite an exaggerated American accent) and Michael Fassbender gives a hypnotic yet sorrowful performance as David the android. To make a long story short, this is one not to miss. I already eagerly await another installment in the great Prometheus enigma.