The most highly anticipated Ridley-Scott-comeback sci-fi summer blockbuster movie of the 21st century, Prometheus feels like The X-Files: Fight the Future meets Alien meets The Tree of Life meets Ebola meets The Abyss.
In the distant future, in the Isle of Skye in Scotland, after unearthing another cave painting illustrating the same star map discovered in other ancient civilizations, archaeologist sweethearts Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) feel that they are now just a step closer to the answers to their existential questions. Who created mankind? Are we engineered by a more superior life form? Why was mankind created? So then the couple hops on the spaceship Prometheus, along with a crew that includes a very soulful robot David (Michael Fassbender) and a robot-like woman (Charlize Theron) on a Weyland-funded mission to find answers in space. But, of course, they will encounter monsters first. And some hidden agendas from other crew members.
Prometheus, in all its various teaser featurettes, gives the impression that it's a heart-stopping, edge-of-seat alien horror-suspense-- but it turns out to be essentially a sci-fi drama pondering on Creationism vs Darwinism vs Sumerian Text vs whatever, which might actually disappoint those who are expecting to be rained upon with sheer alien-killer horror. Only expect one or two high-tension scenes that would make you squirm in your cinema seat.
The narrative is engaging albeit a bit thin and loose, with weak character intentions; however, it will still fairly engage and intrigue you in its mystery and mythology. And whatever belief system you subscribe to, and whether or not you are still searching for the truth, the movie provides an ongoing sense of danger and anticipation of discovering what is out there. Rapace gives a riveting performance as the lead; an impressive warrior, her combination of strength, faith, and incredible thirst for answers will make you root for her. Fassbender is, as always, impressive as the sensitive and questionable android. Theron is relegated in the background, her character useless, like an irritating extra baggage on board that you want to eject into space.
|"Who is our Maker?" the movie asks.|
But, oh my, Promethous is one devastatingly beautiful piece of cinematography. The elegant and sophisticated visual imagery evokes a very strong and deep sense of wonder, science, and ancient mystery. The lonely, desolate landscapes, the combination of smooth flatlands and craggy mountains, the gigantic natural and artificial structures concealing mysteries and unknown dangers...the impeccable special effects (except for Guy Pearce's crude make-up), it is one glorious artwork, and so far the best IMAX-3D experience I have ever had.
All in all, Prometheus is one existential, philosophical, visually mesmerizing film, probably inspired by both Terrence Malick and Chris Carter. Thinkers will be mentally tickled, but Alien and action-suspense fans will be shortchanged. I left the cinema still awestruck by the visuals, with a new-found respect for Rapace, and with one gnawing question bothering me that immediately demands an answer-- No, not the beginnings of mankind, but why in Ridley Scott's name did they choose a young Guy Pearce to play the uber old Peter Weyland?!
3 out of 5 stars.
In Philippine cinemas June 6, 2012. Totally created for IMAX-3D.