It is fair to say that before Ridley Scott there were no aliens. There were some gooey green creatures, but they seemed rather stupid and more disgusting than threatening.
Scott established the ‘alien movie’ as a defined genre with Alien (1979) and its sequels, as well as the 1982 Harisson Ford vehicle, Blade Runner. So when news broke that he was making an Alien prequel, nerds the world over rejoiced.
Prometheus takes place about ninety years from now, in a distant universe. A group of explorers have been summoned by the Weyland Corporation in order to discover the origins of mankind on Earth. After Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (a thrilling Noomi Rapace) finds some cave drawings that she dates to be over 35,000 years old, her and her boyfriend explorer Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland’s cosmic vessel Prometheus to explore a constellation that the people in the drawings seem to be pointing at. Headed by a stone-cold bitch named Meredith Vickers (ice queen Charlize Theron) and aided by a creepy bleach blond robot named David (an extraordinary Michael Fassbender), team Prometheus unravel an unknown planet that bears traces of a lost civilization.
Scott clearly has the knack for putting together a badass journey into space, and it’s not just about the glorious special effects, but also about the great casting. As David, Fassbender steps up his own game and proves, yet again, to be the most versatile actor currently out there. His performance as an android was inspired by Peter O’Toole’s portrayal in Lawrence of Arabia, a film which his character David also watches in a loop in the movie. “The trick is, William Potter, not minding that it hurts,” he repeats to himself in that eerie melancholic tone that only a battery-powered being has, as he bleaches his perfect do. True movie fans will recognize another line one of David’s lines from Lawrence of Arabia, one that happens to carry the movie’s whole message: “Big things have small beginnings.”
While David is the most interesting character in Prometheus, Noomi Rapace is an excellent young Sigourney Weaver stand-in, and an even better actress than her. The movie’s action comes from the character of Elizabeth Shaw, while everyone else on the ship is either dying or ignorant of the upcoming threat. As Miss Vickers, Theron once again plays a cold-hearted, manipulative woman in command, and she’s damn good at it.
Overall, there is a lot of mastery in Prometheus, but its lack of depth causes it to fail at being a masterpiece. Although the film runs a good two hours long, it feels like the action unravels as fast as it is resolved. The ending is ambiguous too, but that is probably just a sign that there might be a sequel. In any case, Prometheus is a summer blockbuster with great effects, excellent actors, and of course, aliens. It just isn’t a classic.
By Radina Papukchieva
Follow me on twitter @Papukchieva