Prometheus (2012) Director: Ridley Scott
What initially began as a prequel effort to Alien by Ridley Scott and James Cameron was eventually thrown off course and delayed by the silly Alien vs Predator movies. Screenwriter Jon Spaihts approached Ridley Scott with the concept for an Alien prequel, but Damon Lindelof, the more experienced writer for shows like Lost, was brought onboard for apparent script re-writes and to complete an acceptable plot. The resulting film Prometheus is beautifully shot with a few interesting themes, but its plot is found sorely lacking. It stars big ticket names like: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, and Logan Marshall-Green. Anticipation was high for Prometheus as Ridley Scott, director of the original Alien movie, returned in an effort to resurrect this franchise from the pits of the Alien vs Predator series.
The movie opens with a prologue. A giant, human-esque alien drinks a mysterious liquid as he dies and his space ship flies away. His DNA evolves in a nearby river. Why? Reasons or explanations are never given. In 2089, religious Archeologist Elizabeth and her atheist partner Charlie discover an ancient map deep in a cave in Scotland, and this map matches several others found in ancient civilizations. Once again, we are forced to swallow the tripe of the ancient aliens theories. Elizabeth and Charlie believe the maps are an “invitation” to essentially meet the creators of mankind. Why? No real explanations are given. An expedition is then privately funded by the Weyland Corporation aboard a ship called Prometheus (allusions to classical Greek mythology abound). Michael Fassbender gives a terrific performance as David, an android figure much like Ash from the original movie. David is far and away the most interesting character in the film; we are ceaselessly interested in, yet untrusting of his motives. At any rate, the expedition lands on a distant planetary moon called LV-223. They discover a mysteriously vacant ship once populated by the large humanoid “Engineers” -the creatures from the outset. We are led to believe that the Engineers were infected by a strange black goo that quickly evolved into a super weapon: a violently destructive life form. Many of the crew members of the Prometheus are infected, and Elizabeth, a religious woman who is incapable of becoming pregnant, suddenly becomes impregnated with a rapidly growing alien creature that she forcibly removes from herself in a brutal and bloody self-inflicted Cesarean section. However, moments later she is capable of jumping and running without problem. Also she moronically abandons the squid creature which was pulled out of her, and so it grows into a massive creature. In the end, we learn that Mr. Weyland has been aboard the ship this whole time. He is led by David to the still-surviving berth of an “Engineer.” However, when David awakens this Engineer, the creature suddenly becomes violent and kills them all. As Mr. Weyland die he utters, “there is nothing.” As it turns out the Engineers were planning to return to Earth to destroy the human race. In an effort to prevent the ship from escaping, the remaining crew of the Prometheus run a suicide mission, crashing into the alien craft with only Elizabeth surviving along with David’s severed head. They decide to travel onward to the Engineer’s home planet in an effort to discover their origins. As the film closes the first alien Xenomorph bursts forth from an Engineer’s chest. There are a number of complex and interesting characters that are unceremoniously killed off in this film –in particular, Charlize Theron’s character lends itself to all manner of mysteriously intrigue. Is she truly Mr. Weyland’s daughter? Or is she an android? No matter, she is simply killed off when the alien space ship crushes her, even though she easily could have escaped by running to the side of it. This is just one small example of ridiculous choices that were shoved into this plot.
Prometheus continues a theme throughout the Alien series –that certain types of knowledge are not always good. For example, that knowledge of human origins will not necessarily answer any satisfying questions. As such there is an interesting debate between theology and atheism running under the surface in the film. Perhaps efforts to answer questions, in an effort to improve and extend human life, yield tragic ends. Why were human created? Simply because it was possible, and as such it is also possible to destroy humanity. I am really growing tired of these ancient alien theories that are being piled into movies.
This was not as poor a movie as I was expecting considering it is yet another prequel reboot from a classic original film released many decades prior. I still much prefer the original Alien film, or its sequel Aliens, but there is something clean and sharp about this new prequel. It gives an intriguing and entertaining glimpse into the origins of the Xenomorph creature as well as the alien ship initially found by the Nostromo in the original Alien film. Prometheus is a prequel we never asked for, but one which marginally delivers above expectations (my expectations could not have been lower with this one). However, I would not soon return to this film, nor would I recommend it. There are so many unanswered questions, and almost none are addressed in the next movie, and additionally every single lead character is moronically incompetent. Turn your gaze away from this befuddling prequel and instead focus your attention Ridley Scott’s original masterpiece: Alien (1978).