Year Released: 2012
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba
(R, 124 min.)
"Life for each man is a solitary cell whose walls are mirrors." Eugene O’Neill
The technology tail wags the dog in this visually stunning “prequel” to the Alien with Ridley Scott from the original back at the director’s helm. Too bad he gives such short shrift to the old-fashioned art of story telling.
Yes, it all sounds perfectly splendid according to the studio synopsis:
A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a thrilling journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
And Ridley Scott himself, disappointed in the cheesy spiral his original Alien ultimately descended into, couldn’t be more delighted with this newest venture.
The keen fan will recognize strands of Alien’s DNA, so to speak, but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative. I couldn’t be more pleased to have found the singular tale I’d been searching for, and finally return to this genre that’s so close to my heart. Ridley Scott
What is it about all these septuagenarian directors giving it their last hurrah lately? Spielberg still knows how to capture an audience as evidenced by his recent War Horse, but Scott joins the ranks of those tying a little too hard and flailing for philosophical depth.
The Tree of Life’s Director Terrence Malick overreached when he tried to frame his poignant tale with self-conscious cosmic grandeur. Despite its tantalizing story, evocative performances, and breathtaking cinematography, this Cannes Palm d’Or winner was sadly compromised by its New Age spirituality run amok
Clint Eastwood, a recent graduate from the septuagenarian ranks, wondered a bit about the Hereafter, where he considered, but did not really explore in any great depth what happens after we die, toying with the white light and welcoming shades. He, at least, didn’t go bloodless on us.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Ridley Scott, whose film, despite a brief appearance of the classic Great Drooling Creature, is relatively sterile. Charlize Theron, duplicating her ice princess persona from Snow White and the Hunter has ice water running in her veins.
Michael Fassbender’s android David, of course, is supposed to be bloodless, but he plays his part with such gusto that he is possibly the most compelling character of the lot. He does such a good job, marrying 2001: A Space Odyssey’s Hal to Star Trek’s Data, that we can almost forgive Scott for having David repeat an entire android sequence lifted from his original.
Noomi Rapace, who captivated us all in the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, dives into her action role here, but the film does not even begin to call upon her great acting talent.
The same can be said for Idris Elba, an impeccable actor Different Drummer learned to appreciate in the British television miniseries Luther. He does all he can to imbue his Captain Janek with some warmth and Hans Solo swagger, but again, the role does not begin to tap his considerable talents. That and the native Brit goes a little broad on his African American dialect, too, a bit of a distraction.
And count me as none too impressed with Prometheus’s purported philosophical heft. For the mostly agnostic Hollywood crowd and their groupie critics, it doesn’t take much to be labeled deep and profound. Goodness, they were all impressed with The Grey’s “existential angst, ” though it was purely of the Cliff Notes variety.
Scott does ask a few questions about man’s origins; there is a little talk about religious faith versus Darwinism, and then there is that quite visible cross on Noomi Rapace’s scientist Elizabeth Shaw. For current Hollywood, that is probably equivalent to the Council of Trent.
Whatever questions are posed, however, are not fully answered -- in this film at least -- begging for the inevitable sequel. Shouldn’t we begin to feel manipulated here? Instead of the relaunch of a spectacular movie franchise, Prometheus feels more like the 2 hour premiere of yet another science fiction television series, but that is unfair, because televised science fiction has generally been of a higher quality.
Finally, how do we begin to count the loose ends, the tangled knots, and the weft threads? The opening is a classic, beautiful spectacle reminiscent of the opening Malick’s The Tree of Life. Never has a suicide had a more gorgeous setting. The crashing waterfall is a stage curtain for a human like creature in a sort of flowing toga, an oversized pale and rather ugly version of Socrates drinking his hemlock, this time by the seashore. As his decaying body falls into its depths, magically the double helix of his DNA snakes its way down into the cold water. Find out the full import in our sequel is its tacit promise.
Like good literature, a film should be able to stand alone on its own merits, not depend upon a money-generating sequel to answer our questions. 3D eye candy is not enough.
— Kathy Borich
Don’t ever trust an android to be your bar tender. I won’t give away the exact details from the film, but Droid Dave definitely has an agenda.
You are safer drinking this rather repulsively named but actually quite tasty cocktail before or after you take in Prometheus..
Special thanks to Men’s Health resident Bartender/host Doug King for his cocktail recommendation.
Alien Urine Cocktail
- 1/2 oz Midori® melon liqueur
- 1/2 oz peach schnapps
- 1 oz coconut rum
- 1 part sweet and sour mix
- 1 part orange juice
This drink is ideally made in a 16 ounce glass, but can also be made in a Collins glass. The drink is served on the rocks. Add the Midori, Malibo, and Schnaps. Add juices. Shake in a tin. Garnish with either two cherries or with a kiwi wheel.
Recipe Source: Drinksmixer.com