Details: (M), 127 mins, In Cinemas 7 June 2012, United States, English
Synopsis: A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
Sci-fi mish-mash suffers by comparison to its cult origins.
If Ridley Scott is trying to fool anyone about the connection between Alien and Prometheus then he’s obviously not trying very hard
Let’s get the Alien stuff out of the way first. In Prometheus, Walter Hill, Ronald Shusett and the long-dead Dan O’Bannon are all given credits, part of Jerry Goldsmith’s score is used and the organic/mechanic shapes of H.R Giger’s sculptures and paintings are as instantly recognisable now as they were when, in 1979, Ridley Scott frightened the bejeezus out of moviegoers and had many a young man (I confess) letching after Sigourney Weaver for the first (though not the last) time.
If Ridley Scott is trying to fool anyone about the connection between Alien and Prometheus then he’s obviously not trying very hard. In fact, that’s not what he is up to at all.
The film opens at an unspecified time with a perfect male colossus diving into, and absorbed by, the cascading torrents of a raging waterfall. Then the film jumps to later this century, when a group of scientists begin an intergalactic expedition inspired by the discovery of recurring motifs found in various archaeological digs across the Earth’s unconnected continents which has revived the old Erich von Daniken idea that God might have been an astronaut.
The expedition, taken on the good ship ‘Prometheus’, was bankrolled by a wily, Methuselah-like corporate CEO (Guy Pearce under a million layers of make-up) and he had instilled as the spacecraft’s caretaker, the smarmy, robot with a chip on his shoulder, David (Michael Fassbender). The chief scientists on the Prometheus expedition are an involved couple Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green). Things get messy when, after a reconnaissance landing, exploring caves and extra-terrestrial corpses and artefacts, David introduces an unscreened organic substance on to Prometheus. As a consequence, the substance infects several crew members. Meanwhile, other crew, still underground, on the planet are attacked by a serpent-like creature which is part-cobra, part-boa constrictor and part-malevolent phallus.
There are some obvious, but competently realised, resemblances to Alien with much more advanced CGI, eye-poking 3D effects though slightly inferior performances in comparison. But the Prometheus plot also samples liberally from 2001: A Space Odyssey. (Guy Pearce’s make-up recalls a dying Keir Dullea, not to mention David’s ramped up version of HAL 9000’s condescension and rebellion.)
Interestingly, Prometheus bypasses most of the anti-woman implications of the Alien series (the eggs, vaginal like portals of the spaceship, the Bitch etc). The film plays as a companion piece, not to atone for the misogynist sins of the earlier film, but to move on from critiquing motherhood to examining humanity’s childish approach to religion and the projections of fatherhood – as in the Holy Father (or unholy in this case).
It is like a sinister rebuke to the classic Stanley Kubrick film. From the film’s ‘The Dawn of Man’ beginning to its nasty – and tacky – coda which is a sinister echo of the famous ‘star-child’, Prometheus challenges the concept of a benevolent, well-planned universe. Religious neurotics will find plenty of blasphemous ideas to complain about, and yet the question of spiritual belief – the elevation of faith beyond reason – finds substantial support in Prometheus too. Take your pick.
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