Has Ridley Scott crafted a prequel to his Alien with Prometheus? After seeing the film, it appears to be a moot point -- it clearly is. As that film has been called the greatest sci-fi film of all-time, audiences should be prepared. Although Scott’s latest is a visual and thrilling marvel, it never quite reaches the stratosphere of Alien excellence.
In the film’s opening moments, Scott gives us a 2001: A Space Odyssey-type beginning to his story that, if nothing else, sets the stage for the questions that are presented throughout the film: Where do we come from? Are we alone in the galaxy? Are the drawings found on cave walls, as seen in the Prometheus trailer, connected?
Noomi Rapace stars as Elizabeth Shaw, the scientist who discovered the drawings. She sees them as an invitation with a map to find the place in the galaxy that she believes is the source of our existence. Shaw is so convincing, the head of Weyland Industries (Guy Pearce’s Peter Weyland) spends two trillion dollars building her the spaceship Prometheus to get there. Fans of the Alien mythology are keenly aware of the “company” that owns the ship we soon see rocketing through space.
Movie Fanatic is not a publication that will offer any spoilers, so our plot description stops here, but what we can tell you is that screenwriters Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts are keenly aware of writing a project that plays to Scott’s strengths as a filmmaker. There are countless scenes that will have you marveling in disbelief. There is one in particular that is one of the most jaw-dropping cinematic moments we have seen in some time. Yes, the plot has many holes and some of it unfortunately does not add up. Yet, as a whole, it is saying something that Prometheus clocks in at 124 minutes and never feels long. In fact, the film moves along at a light-speed pace.
Scott has not ventured into the sci-fi world since Blade Runner, a couple of years after his masterwork of Alien. With the added filmmaking technology at his fingertips, his return to the genre feels like a conquering hero returning home. Some purists may not appreciate how the science seen onscreen appears leagues beyond what was shown in Alien, given that this supposedly takes place decades prior. But, what’s a filmmaker to do? Make a film that looks archaic?
The cast is stellar, but the standout has to be Michael Fassbender as the droid David. The actor continues his impressive run that has us thinking he is the greatest thespian of his generation. His steely veneer is haunting and further reminds us of Alien by recalling the work of Ian Holm as the droid Ash.
Also, we would call Prometheus more of a science fiction film than a horror flick. Whereas Alien was equally both, there is significantly less of a scare factor in Scott’s latest. But, let’s be clear: It is thrilling and the moments of shock and awe are always around every corner. Is Prometheus worth the wait after all the pre-release buzz that essentially began when Scott announced the film as his next project? Unequivocally, that is an absolute yes.